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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Prof. Dr. Catherine McBride

Prof. Dr. Catherine McBride

The Chinese University of Hong Kong
External Senior Fellow
October 2017 - July 2018


I am Professor of Psychology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. I specialize in the area of literacy development and impairment from a global perspective. My Bachelor’s degree is from Oberlin College (USA--1989), and I obtained my M.A. and Ph.D. (1994) in developmental psychology from the University of Southern California (USA). I am current and founding President of the Association for Reading and Writing in Asia (ARWA) and past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR). The author of four books on aspects of literacy (including Reading Development in Chinese Children (2003, with H.-C. Chen) and Children’s Literacy Development:  A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Learning to Read and Write (2016, Routledge)), I have given keynote lectures on  literacy development and impairment in Germany, Finland, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Mainland China, Taiwan, India, Singapore, and Korea and have consulted on the topic of literacy enhancement for organizations such as the National Center on Educational Outcomes (U.S.), World Learning (U.S.), Hong Kong Government Child Assessment Center, the Hess Educational Group (Taiwan), and the Arcanys Early Learning Foundation (Philippines). I have served as an Associate Editor of four different journals (including Developmental Psychology and International Journal of Behavioral Development) and one Encyclopedia ( International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition). I am delighted, grateful, and honored to be writing a book on dyslexia, dysgraphia, and attention deficit disorders from a cross-cultural perspective during my time at FRIAS.

Selected Publications

  • Dulay, K. M., Tong, X., & McBride, C. (2016). The Role of Foreign Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong Chinese Children's English and Chinese Skills: A Longitudinal Study. Language Learning, 1-27. doi: 10.1111/lang.12222
  • Kail, R.K., McBride, C., Ferrer, E., Cho, J.-R., & Shu, H. (2013). Cultural differences in the development of processing speed. Developmental Science, 16, 476-483.
  • Kalindi, S.C, McBride, C., & Dan, L. (2017). Early Literacy Among Zambian Second Graders: The Role of Adult Mediation of Word Writing in Bemba. Reading Research Quarterly. doi: 10.1002/rrq.1
  • Kucircova, N., Snow, C., Grover, V., & McBride, C. (Eds.). (2017). International companion to early literacy education. Oxford: Routledge.
  • McBride, C. (2016). Is Chinese special? Four Aspects of Chinese Literacy Acquisition that Might Distinguish Learning Chinese from Learning Alphabetic Orthographies. Educational Psychology Review, 1-27.

FRIAS Research Project

Towards a Global Understanding of Dyslexia: Cognitive-Perceptual, Cognitive-Linguistic, Socio-Cultural, and Neurobiological Aspects

Understanding the nature of dyslexia across cultures is important both theoretically and practically. Dyslexia is relatively well understood and well defined in English, but even in English, questions remain. In other languages and scripts, the concept of dyslexia is far less clearly defined and often depends on a variety of factors, from the cognitive and linguistic skills, genetics, and family environment of the child to the social and cultural aspects of his or her teachers and school, to governmental policies, to societal expectations.

I propose to carry out a comparative study on conceptualizations of dyslexia across cultures, languages, and scripts. My primary goals are to characterize understanding of dyslexia at this point in history with a sampling of countries that have recognized this problem (description) and then to determine precisely how to define dyslexia such that it means something equivalent across different languages, scripts, and contexts (prescription).