Understanding the Microstructure and Macrostructure of Passages Among Chinese Elementary School Children

Lap yan Lo, Connie Suk han Ho, Yau Kai Wong, David Wai ock Chan, Kevin Kien hoa Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the microstructure and macrostructure of passages is important for reading comprehension. What cognitive-linguistic skills may contribute to understanding these two levels of structures has rarely been investigated. The present study examined whether some word-level and text-level cognitive-linguistic skills may contribute differently to the understanding of microstructure and macrostructure respectively. Seventy-nine Chinese elementary school children were tested on some cognitive-linguistic skills and literacy skills. It was found that word reading fluency and syntactic skills predicted significantly the understanding of microstructure of passages after controlling for age and IQ; while morphological awareness, syntactic skills, and discourse skills contributed significantly to understanding of macrostructure. These findings suggest that syntactic skills facilitate children’s access of meaning from grammatical structures, which is a fundamental process in gaining text meaning at any level of reading comprehension. Discourse skills also allow readers to understand the cohesive interlinks within and between sentences and is important for a macro level of passage understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1300
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Discourse skills
  • Macrostructure
  • Microstructure
  • Reading comprehension
  • Syntactic skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)


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