Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Does word boundary information facilitate Chinese sentence reading in children as beginning readers?


Written Chinese sentences consist of a series of characters without word boundary information. Here we examined whether word boundary information facilitated Chinese sentence reading comprehension in children as beginning readers. Primary grade 2-3 children read age-appropriate sentences with either spacing or shading contrast to mark word boundaries and answered related comprehension questions. Compared with regular sentences without word boundary information, spacing significantly impaired comprehension accuracy and reduced eye movement consistency during reading as measured in entropy, and the decrease in accuracy was associated with decrease in consistency of eye gaze transitions during reading. This result suggested that the performance impairment may be related to disturbances to their immature visual routine for reading that may be inconsistent with the provided word boundary information. In contrast, using shading contrast did not change children’s reading performance or eye movement consistency. These findings have important implications for ways to facilitate reading development in children.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View