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The 5th Annual Conference for the Association for Reading and Writing in Asia (ARWA 2021)

March 5th – 6th, 2021, Held online from Taipei, Taiwan           

We are thrilled to invite you to join the 5th annual ARWA conference, sponsored by Department of Special Education, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan.

All the academics, researchers and students interested in this promising field are welcome to submit proposal for the ARWA 2021 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.


Writing and spelling words: A cross-scriptal perspective

Professor Catherine Alexandra McBride, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.

With more and more research across scripts, we can begin to refine our understanding of the developmental process of learning to spell in different contexts.  In this talk, I will present some basic models of spelling and then highlight research from our own and others’ work on how children learn to write words. This research includes fine motor skills, “pure” copying (one aspect of visual-motor skill), and delayed copying, a construct that likely makes use of multiple skills, particularly orthographic memory.  The cognitive-linguistic skill of phonological sensitivity is also important for spelling, as reflected in various studies of invented spelling. Finally, young children’s early spelling depends upon scaffolding, or teaching. Studies of the maternal mediation of writing across cultures reveal that the focus of scaffolding in teaching young children to write varies by script demands. I will highlight studies of early spelling development in Chinese, English, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic, and Bemba, among others, in an effort to review what we already know about early spelling development, as well as directions for future research. 

Dyslexia, Rhythm, Language and the Brain

Professor Usha Goswami, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Recent insights from auditory neuroscience provide a new perspective on how the brain encodes speech. Using these recent insights, I will provide an overview of key factors underpinning individual differences in children’s development of language and phonology, providing a context for exploring atypical reading development (dyslexia). I will describe a neural oscillatory “temporal sampling” framework for linking amplitude rise time discrimination to linguistic development by children, drawing on data from dyslexia studies. I will show that sensitivity to the amplitude modulation (AM) structure of infant-directed and child-directed speech is key to individual differences in phonological development, and that this AM structure contains acoustic statistical cues to different phonological units. Children with dyslexia are relatively insensitive to these amplitude modulation cues and speech rhythm patterns. This lack of rhythmic sensitivity is related to the atypical neural encoding of amplitude modulation patterns in speech via neuronal oscillatory entrainment. I will finish by describing how I am currently extending the temporal sampling framework to oral developmental language disorders.

Internet reading and challenges in new digital learning environments

Professor Paavo Leppänen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The digital media and Internet have changed literacy practices in many ways requiring new reading skills and strategies, such as locating and evaluating relevant information. However, very little is known how school-age children, especially those with learning difficulties, meet additional challenges in this learning environment. In our eSeek-project ( we have studied 11-13 year-old school-aged children at the sixth grade in multidisciplinary interconnected studies in order to 1) increase our understanding of Internet reading and search skills, and the interconnections between Internet reading, cognitive strategies and skills, and related brain processes, 2) map the challenges which students with learning difficulties meet, and 3) to promote pedagogical practices for assessing internet reading skills.

For this purpose, we carried out a large scale Internet skill assessment with ca. 400 sixth-graders, including children with dyslexia and attentional problems. Our results show, for example, that performance in several domains of Internet reading is poorer in children with learning difficulties compared to their peers and that they meet extra challenges in Internet reading, especially in evaluating commercial web-sites. Our eye-tracking study in the laboratory setting for a sub-group of ca. 150 students also showed that children with dyslexia and attentional problems have difficulties using strategies in selecting Internet search results. We have also measured brain activation of neurocognitive processes related to efficiency of Internet reading. Children with learning difficulties showed atypical brain responses related to attentional and semantic processing as compared to the typical readers. The analyses of associating brain activation to Internet reading are ongoing. A consequent related training study showed that Internet reading skills can be improved by teacher driven training in the classroom setting. Our overall multidisciplinary approach increases scientific knowledge on digital reading, which helps to develop assessment tools and guidelines for instruction and teaching of internet reading.

Vocabulary depth, inferences and reading comprehension

Yuhtsuen Tzeng, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan.


Various theories have outlined factors that contribute to successful reading comprehension (RC). The ability to make inferences is among the crucial ones. However, the role of vocabulary depth (VD) is relatively underexplored from a developmental perspective, not to mention its relations and the directionality of relation to inferences and RC. I will first conduct a brief literature review then present data from a three year study by adopting a combination of cross sectional and longitudinal design to examine the contribution of VD on RC from grade 4 to 6. Both types of developmental analysis suggest that VD make unique contribution to RC over and above vocabulary breadth and inference and the patterns are quite consistent for all 3 cohorts across grade levels. An additional comprehension-age match (CAM) analysis reveals that older less-skilled comprehenders score lower than their younger skilled counterparts only in global but not local level of inference, and in synonym aspect of VD but neither in antonym nor polysemy aspects. Our results not only determine the role of VD on comprehension but also point to likely sources and directionality of relation.



Special issues in Bulletin of Special Education (Ranked Tier 1 in Taiwan Social Sciences Citation Index)

Our 2021 ARWA conference in Taipei opens up an opportunity for conference participants to contribute to BSE, which is one of the highest-ranking education journals in Taiwan, is run by the Department of Special Education, National Taiwan Normal University. The special issue expects to receive English- or Chinese-written papers about research on reading and writing of individuals with special needs, e.g., reading, intellectual, sensory disabilities, or disadvantage.


This special issue will be guest edited by Professor Shih-Jay Tzeng. All papers under consideration must have been presented at ARWA, Taipei, and will go through the normal double-blind reviews of the journal. Depending upon quality, this special issue is expected to consist of roughly 4-8 papers; if more papers are accepted, they will go into a regular issue. Please visit our website in SPECIAL ISSUE section for more details:


Prior to submission, please carefully read and follow the Guidelines for Authors:


Please submit the following two files to

1.  Your manuscript

*25,000 words for a Chinese manuscript; 7,500 words for an English manuscript

*An English/Chinese Abstract should be included and limited to less than 600 words

2. Author's information


The deadline for submitting the complete paper will be May 6, 2021, whereas the expected publication date will be June 1, 2022. To confirm your intention, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. We look forward to your submission.

Special issues in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal

We are accepting submissions to the ARWA 2021 special issue and the deadline for submission is now May 10, 2021. The link to submit to the journal is where you will be requested to 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 2021" 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 in gaining experience in reviewing and getting recognition, please contact Dr. Poh Wee Koh at, who will provide a short virtual workshop on Zoom on reviewing for Reading and Writing for those who might find it helpful. Please consider contributing to the journal as a reviewer.  


We look forward to receiving your submissions and please do not hesitate to contact Poh Wee if you have any questions about submitting to the special issue.



  • Please register after receiving acceptance notification and ensure that all presenters register including your co-author(s) by 5th Feb 2021.

  • You must be a ARWA member to register. Registration itself is free. 

  • If you have an older ARWA account created last year (in the old website hosted under CUHK), please create a new account. 

  • 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.


Poster sessions

  • Your poster should have a horizontal (or landscape) orientation with size around 105*90 cm.

  • For the poster session, your poster should be in PDF format, and it should include the names and affiliations of all the contributing authors included with the abstract in the programme. The name and affiliation of the presenting author should be clearly indicated.

  • Figures should be clearly visible in your PDF file, please consider increasing the resolution (pixel per inch) if it looks blurry in your file.

  • Poster presenters will be organized into groups based on topics and keywords. Each presenter will present the poster for 3-5 minutes with Q and A session.

  • Please send a one-page PDF of your poster to this email address: (  at least two week prior to the conference (i.e., before 20th February).

  • You can also upload an optional video walk-though of your poster presentation (no longer than 3 minutes) to any video platform of your choice. Please insert the video link into the poster when you submit if you do so. Please also make sure that the video can be accessed worldwide.

  • Please note that the poster uploaded will be public, citable, shareable, licensed to the presenter, and available online during the conference period. This may change the information you choose to include in your poster.

IMPORTANT DATES (Taiwan time: GMT+8)

Abstract submission deadline EXTEDED: 8th January 2021 (Closed now)
Acceptance notification: by 18th January 2021 (Sent)
Registration deadline: 1st March 2021 (for attendees)
** Once receiving acceptance notification, please register the conference by 5th Feb 2021

More details can be found at the ARWA website:
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us via 

Important dates
Special isses
Presentation format
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