The 6th Annual Conference of the Association for Reading and Writing in Asia (ARWA 2022)

February 24th – 25th, 2022, Held online from Hong Kong

We are thrilled to invite you to join the 6th annual ARWA conference, sponsored by Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

All the academics, researchers and students interested in this promising field are welcome to submit proposal for the ARWA 2022 conference. We seek studies dedicated to literacy development, literacy impairment, expert linguistic processing and so on in Asia, from any related fields such as psychology, education, linguistics and neuroscience.​

The two-day Conference will feature the following activities:

  • Keynote Sessions

  • Oral Presentations

A spoken paper will take 15 minutes, followed by 5-minute audience discussion.

  • Poster Presentations

Posters will be organized into groups based on topics and keywords. Each presenter will present the poster for 3 minutes with 2-3 minutes for Q&A afterwards.

  • Panel Symposium

A symposium provides an opportunity to examine one topic in depth or from different perspectives. Symposium sessions are directed by one chair, with 3-4 presenters of 15-minute spoken papers, each followed by 5-minute audience discussion. Presenters should represent different laboratories and an international mix of contributors is encouraged.


  • Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Resilience in Individuals with Dyslexia
    Prof. Fumiko Hoeft, University of Connecticut, USA


    In this talk, I will present evidence of the neural and cognitive mechanisms of dyslexia, with a particular focus on cognitive and socio-emotional processes that are either impaired or heightened in individuals with learning disabilities (LDs) including dyslexia. I will also introduce the concept of resilience that unifies not only socio-emotional factors but also cognitive factors that promote success in individuals with dyslexia. More specifically, I will start the talk by introducing the cognitive and socio-emotional struggles that individuals with LDs and dyslexia often face. I will then talk about the neuroscience behind cognitive and socio-emotional resilience and compensation, and strategies we can incorporate to promote resilience. This model affords a framework for understanding success in children and generates testable hypotheses for future research.

Professor Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D. is a cognitive neuroscientist, and a Professor of Psychological Sciences, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Education at the University of Connecticut (UConn). She is the Director of the Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) at UConn, and Learning Engineering and Neural Systems Laboratory ( at both UConn, and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She also holds faculty appointments at UCSF, Haskins Laboratories, and Keio University. Dr. Hoeft investigates the neural mechanisms of brain development, reading, and dyslexia, with particular interest in early identification of dyslexia, building resilience, developing compensatory skills, and socio-emotional consequences of having a learning disability. Her honors include awards from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA; 2014), Learning & the Brain Foundation (2015), International Mind Brain & Education Society (IMBES; 2018), and Society for Neuroscience (SfN; 2018). She has published over 160 articles, reviews, and book chapters, and has delivered over 250 keynotes, talks and workshops at venues from local schools, International conferences, TEDx and the White House. Her work has been widely covered in media such as The New York Times, NPR, CNN, the New Yorker, and Scientific American.

  • Towards a Model of Chinese Reading
    Prof. Erik Reichle, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


    Over the last few decades, sophisticated computer models of eye movements have been developed to simulate and explain the mental processes that support skilled reading (see Reichle, 2021).  Most of these efforts have focused on English and other languages that use alphabetic writing systems, but recent efforts have led to an increasing appreciation of the importance of non-alphabetic writing systems (e.g., Chinese) that challenge widely accepted theoretical assumptions about reading (Yu & Reichle, 2017). In the talk, I will discuss the work that my colleagues and I have done to examine three key questions in the context of the reading of Chinese: (1) How are characters and/or words identified? (2) How is attention allocated to support lexical processing? (3) How do readers direct their eyes to support efficient lexical processing?  This work has informed our development of a recent model of Chinese reading (Yu, Liu, & Reichle, 2020; Liu, Yu, & Reichle, 2021) that differs in important ways from the models that have been developed to explain the reading of alphabetic writing systems, thereby suggesting how components of the mind might be “tuned” to support the skilled reading of languages as different as Chinese versus English.      

Professor Erik D. Reichle received a B.S. in psychology from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Since 2017, he has worked at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) where he is currently a Professor of Cognitive Psychology and the Head of the School of Psychological Sciences.  His research uses computer modelling and eye-tracking experiments to understand the mental processes that support skilled reading and how those processes are influenced by languages and writing systems.  He has published more than 80 articles on these topics and in 2021 published a book with Oxford University Press entitled Computational models of reading: A handbook.

  • Transliterating in time and space
    Prof. Brendan Weekes, Emeritus Professor at Hong Kong University and Honorary Professor in Psychology at the University of Melbourne


    Trans-languaging emerges in multilingual educational settings when students communicate across their native and codified languages effortlessly. The pandemic has revealed how that although the mother tongue can complement the codified language context in a classroom, indigenous minority languages remain marginalised in the online world. Trans-languaging is now rendered into text online and speech automatically via deep learning. Google translate allows users to quickly translate an unlimited number of characters into another language if those languages have a large online database. However, not all languages enjoy this status.

    ‘Transliterating’ captures the practices that emerge in digital space as solutions for reading and writing in multilingual and multi-script societies. Transliterating has no limit apart from digital resources (data). Indeed, these practices are codified in formal teaching of literacy in Japanese classrooms and observed in educational contexts in India. In Africa, transliterating is a less formal but effective grassroots approach to teaching literacy in multilingual settings without access to any digital resources. The result is transliterating nurtures local language expertise by valorizing local practices and local knowledge. It therefore maximizes bilingual ability. For instance, a teacher can develop a lesson plan using an alphabet and translate the text instantly into another language used as the medium of instruction and delivered in any geographic location in the world. This allows students to use each their native language for assessment and thus adds fairness to the online learning environment. Transliterating also enables students excluded by non-native language-literacy such as adopted and fostered children, in-married women, refugees, and economic migrants and also generates cultural and linguistic ‘meta-linguistic awareness’ based on innovative teaching.

Professor Brendan Stuart Weekes was a (Foundation) Chair of Communication Sciences and a Director of Laboratories in Communication, Development and Information Sciences in the Faculty of Education, University Hong Kong (HKU), and a Distinguished Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences (Research Grants Council of Hong Kong). He is now Emeritus Professor at HKU and an Honorary Professor in Psychology at the University of Melbourne and Visitor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. His current work focuses on a critique of cognitive and neuro-linguistic conceptualisations of multilingual and multimodal language use with a focus on how digital literacy fits within the field of Translanguaging. He was co-author of the Ugra Memorandum on Information and Communication in the Digital Age for UNESCO (2021) and is consultant for the Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-32).

  • Fast decaying anchor – a statistical learning theory of dyslexia
    Prof. Merav Ahissar, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


    We are born with limited skills. Maturation does not provide them automatically. To become a skilled reader, we typically need explicit tutoring and then substantial training and exposure. We find that people with dyslexia gain less from the same amount of exposure. Reduced long-term accumulation of stimuli statistics is manifested in a broad range of stimuli, including, but not specific to speech sounds (Ahissar et al. Nat Neurosci., 2006). A Bayesian analysis shows that initial learning is typical but the memory trace quickly decays, leading to impoverished categories (Lieder et al., Nat Neurosci. 2019). EEG and fMRI studies link the reduced accumulation to an atypical dynamics of perceptual adaptation in sensory regions (Jaffe-Dax et al., 2017, 2018, eLife; Gertsovski & Ahissar, J Neurosci. 2022).

Professor Merav Ahissar is Professor at ELSC Center for Brain Research, The Hebrew University. She studied Biology and Computer Science at the Hebrew University and conducted her post-doc at UCSF. Her lab studies skill acquisition through the perspective of perceptual learning. In Perceptual learning she proposed the seminal Reverse Hierarchy Theory (Nature, 1997), which made the first dissociation between bottom-up processing of stimuli, and the perceptual experience and learning which follow opposite top-down sequences, driven by task demands. Studying complex perceptual skills as reading, she pioneered the understanding that statistical learning and Bayesian modelling explain main characteristics of both Dyslexia and autism. The first is associated with faster memory decay (“Poor anchoring”, Nat Neurosi., 2006), and the latter with slower memory update (“slow update”, Nat. Neuroci, 2019). Deciphering the neural mechanisms of these high-level skills, she revealed their relation to atypical dynamics of neural adaptation. Author of more than 80 papers. Her studies are supported by ERC (advanced), SFARI, ISF, GIF grants.


  • Special issues in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal

As for previous conferences, there will be an ARWA 2022 Special Issue in the journal “Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal”. The journal is accepting submissions to the ARWA 2022 special issue and the deadline for submission is now June 1, 2022. We have extended the original deadline of May 1 by one month.


The link to submit to the journal is where you will be requested to first enter your login details (or register an account if it is your first time submitting to the journal). To submit and ensure that the manuscript goes to the special issue, please select "SI: ARWA 2022" in the dropdown list for "Article Type" on the first page after you click "submit a new manuscript". You can then proceed to submit the manuscript as per instructions provided in the submission site. You may also wish to refer to the link for the submission guidelines before submitting.


Junior and/or student researchers who are interested to gain experience and recognition in reviewing, please contact Dr. Poh Wee Koh at, who will provide a short virtual workshop on Zoom about reviewing for Reading and Writing for those who might find it helpful. Please consider contributing to the journal as a reviewer.  


  • Abstract submission deadline:  extended to 30th November 2021

  • Acceptance notification: by 7th January 2022 


  • Please register after receiving acceptance notification and ensure that all presenters register including your co-author(s) by 7th Feb 2022. (Extended to Feb 15, 2022)

  • You must be an ARWA member (and pay for 2022 membership fee) to register. Registration itself is free. 

  • Registration link:


Oral sessions

  • Your presentation is part of a session with other talks in the same or a similar area of research.

  • The speakers should use their real names when they present.

  • All spoken papers are 15 minutes in length including discussion. Session chairs and speakers should only start a talk at the scheduled time.

  • Your slides should be in 16:9 ratio with landscape orientation.