Does Writing System Influence the Associations Between Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness, and Reading? A Meta-Analysis.
Differences in how writing systems represent language raise important questions about the extent to which the role of linguistic skills such as phonological awareness (PA) and morphological awareness (MA) in reading is universal. In this meta-analysis, the authors examined the relationship between PA, MA, and reading (accuracy, fluency, and comprehension) in 2 languages (English and Chinese) representing different writing systems (alphabetic and logographic). A random-effects model analysis of data from 64 studies with native speakers of each language revealed significant correlations between PA, MA, and all reading outcomes in both languages. The correlations remained significant even after controlling for each other’s effect on reading. However, PA was a stronger correlate of reading in English than in Chinese. MA was as good a correlate of reading in English as in Chinese (except for comprehension, where it was better). In addition, complex PA tasks in English and production/compounding MA tasks in Chinese produced significantly larger correlations with reading accuracy. Taken together, the findings of this meta-analysis suggest that PA and MA are significant correlates of reading, but their role is influenced by the writing system, the type of reading outcome, and the type of task used to operationalize PA and MA. The implications of these findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)