The Joint Effects of Risk Status, Gender, Early Literacy and Cognitive Skills on the Presence of Dyslexia Among a Group of High-Risk Chinese Children


Simpson Wong, Department of Psychological Studies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong, China. E-mail:


This study sought to examine factors that are predictive of future developmental dyslexia among a group of 5-year-old Chinese children at risk for dyslexia, including 62 children with a sibling who had been previously diagnosed with dyslexia and 52 children who manifested clinical at-risk factors in aspects of language according to testing by paediatricians. The age-5 performances on various literacy and cognitive tasks, gender and group status (familial risk or language delayed) were used to predict developmental dyslexia 2 years later using logistic regression analysis. Results showed that greater risk of dyslexia was related to slower rapid automatized naming, lower scores on morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition and English letter naming, and gender (boys had more risk). Three logistic equations were generated for estimating individual risk of dyslexia. The strongest models were those that included all print-related variables (including speeded number naming, character recognition and letter identification) and gender, with about 70% accuracy or above. Early identification of those Chinese children at risk for dyslexia can facilitate better dyslexia risk management. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Practitioner Points

  • Pre-diagnostic screening is useful to assess the presence of future dyslexia among children at risk for dyslexia.
  • Individual risk can be estimated with more than one logistic regression equation containing different combinations of predictors of future dyslexia.
  • Print-related skills have strong associations with future dyslexia in Chinese children.
  • Gender is an important factor in predicting future dyslexia, but it is not advisable to give differential attention based on gender.