Psychological Science 2018, (2) 351-356 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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reading of children
developmental research
eye movement
YAN Guo-Li
LI Sai-Nan
YU Ya-Li
Article by Yan,G.L
Article by Zhang,l
Article by Li,S.N
Article by Yu,Y.L

Latest developments on the eye movement study of children’s reading development in foreign countries


Recently, eye tracker technology has been extensively used to investigate developmental reading in foreign children,which becomes the hot point in the study of reading domain. This article aimed to summarize the research findings deriving from developmental reading using eye tracking system at abroad. This paper reviewed these achievements which include general reading questions, word processing, text comprehension and relevant theories of reading to reveal the typically developmental characteristics in reading when children grow up. Then, several issues about how to choose statistical analyses, how to screen reading materials as well as consider study designs were discussed to provide guidance for eye movements study of developmental reading in China. A great number of researches in adult reading have made us informed of what happens to their cognitive process during comprehension. However, few investigations about developmental reading in children are conducted. Eye tracking technology can record the eye movements of individuals when reading moment by moment, suggesting how readers fixate upon the information and allocate their attention. Therefore, this method make it convenient to inspect the cognitive mechanism underlying the nature of reading in children. Eye movements in reading can effectively reveal the developmental change about how a novice become a skilled reader. As the age increased, children became more elaborated in reading and their eye movements became more effective. Children tended to show less fixation duration and times, less regressions and higher skipping rate, as well as larger saccade amplitude during reading. Children began to replicate the eye movements characteristics of adult around their 10-11 years old. Reading beginners performed poorly related in reading speed and comprehension. Several studies investigated the reason to suggest that children have limited perceptual span of reading compared to adults. Three western studies in this article found that children can attain the word information in phonology or orthography level from parafoveal region after the second grade. Lexical access level is key to determine the quality of reading. Sub-lexical attributes such as phoneme, morpheme and orthography as well as whole lexical attributes with respect to word frequency and length were include to examine the word processing in children. Young children developed typical phonological knowledge in reading and used it to process words. What’s more, primary students decoded the language in the whole word way. However, the sizes of word frequency and length effects for children were larger than adult readers, which might imply that children identify words in less automatic way than skilled readers, with smaller process unit. When parsing the sentence structure, children could recognize the plausibility of syntax and predict the upcoming objects effectively by using the thematic roles , but were less able to process the pragmatic information as adults did. As a whole, children were less competent to integrate sentence structure and meaning with matured individuals. Referring to comprehending passages, reading tasks modulated the attentional allocation across the text of children.

Keywords reading of children   developmental research   eye movement  
Received 2017-03-19 Revised 2017-12-21 Online: 2018-03-20 
Corresponding Authors: Guo-Li Yan
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