Children's stroke sequence errors in writing Chinese characters

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Abstract

Each Chinese character is a two dimensional logograph and if character writing is seen as drawing a diagram, then there is no obvious ‘correct sequence’ in the writing process. However, over the ages and to this day, Chinese children have been taught the proper stroke sequence for forming the characters based on some calligraphic rules when they begin to learn to write in Chinese. The rationale for the teaching of stroke sequence has traditionally been argued on the basis of facilitating better calligraphy and as a memory aid for the exact reproduction of the correct form of the character. This paper reports on a study that tries to determine how far young children can master the correct stroke sequences in writing and the common kinds of errors children made. It further explores the importance of and the possible educational implications for the teaching of stroke sequences in the teaching of handwriting based on the empirical results.

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