Reading in different scripts predicts different cognitive skills: evidence from Japanese

Tomohiro Inoue, George K. Georgiou, Miyuki Hosokawa, Naoko Muroya, Hiroyuki Kitamura, Takayuki Tanji, Hirofumi Imanaka, Takako Oshiro, Rauno Parrila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We examined whether developing reading skills in the two scripts of Japanese, syllabic Hiragana and morphographic Kanji, had differential effects on underlying cognitive skills. One hundred ninety-one Japanese children (97 girls, 94 boys; Mage = 100.23 months) were assessed on rapid automatized naming (RAN), vocabulary, morphological awareness, visual-spatial skills, Hiragana reading fluency, and Kanji character recognition at the end of Grade 2 and again at the end of Grade 3. Results of cross-lagged analysis showed that Hiragana reading fluency in Grade 2 predicted RAN and visual-spatial skills in Grade 3, and Kanji character recognition in Grade 2 predicted vocabulary in Grade 3, even when the same skills in Grade 2 were controlled. Taken together, these findings suggest that the nature of the script children learn can influence how developing reading skills affect their cognitive underpinnings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReading and Writing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Japanese
  • Morphological awareness
  • Rapid naming
  • Vocabulary
  • Word reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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