Education Journal


2017.第45卷第2期(Vol. 45 No. 2).pp. 161–181


Hong Kong Senior Secondary Students’ Performance and Difficulties in Reading Classical Chinese Texts

劉潔玲、谷屹欣(Dinky Kit-Ling LAU & Yixin GU)





In response to Hong Kong students’ poor ability in Classical Chinese (CC) reading, the study adopted both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine Hong Kong students’ performance and difficulties at the decoding and comprehension level of CC reading based on the theoretical foundation of linguistic analyses and reading studies from cognitive psychology. A total of 454 Secondary 4 students from four schools with students of different ability levels participated in the study. All students received a CC translation test and a CC reading comprehension test to assess their CC reading performance at different levels. Twelve students from each school with a total of 48 students were randomly selected to participate in semi-structured group interviews to explore their knowledge, strategy use, and difficulties in CC reading. Findings of the study indicated that students’ performance in both decoding and comprehension level was unsatisfactory. Their decoding ability was especially weak. The findings also revealed that students’ knowledge in CC language and their use of translation and comprehension strategies were poor. Suggestions for teachers to reflect how to improve students’ CC reading ability are discussed based on these findings.

Keywords: Classical Chinese reading; decoding; comprehension; Classical Chinese instruction