Investigation of Cognitive Abilities Related to Reading and Spelling in Korean: Readers with High, Average, and Low Skill Levels


Hyun-Rin Park, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. E-mail:


In this study, we investigated the characteristics of cognitive abilities as predictors of Korean reading and spelling ability, and the characteristics of the cognition of reading difficulty in Korean. In 103 Korean third-grade children, we tested ability to read and spell, nonverbal intelligence, vocabulary size, phonological cognitive processing, visual cognitive processing, and naming speed. Our results indicated that receptive vocabulary, phoneme awareness, and naming speed served as factors for predicting reading test score; receptive vocabulary served as a factor for predicting spelling test score. We found that low reading-level groups had significantly slower performance on the naming speed task and lower scores on the receptive vocabulary test, as compared with the other groups (average and high reading-level groups). The present results have implications concerning useful tasks for screening for Korean poor readers. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Messages

  • Receptive vocabulary, phoneme awareness, and naming speed were important factors in Hangul reading ability.
  • Receptive vocabulary was an important factor in Hangul writing ability.
  • The group with lower reading skill levels showed worse performance in terms of naming speed and receptive vocabulary.