This study investigated whether copying skills were related to beginning Hangul word reading and writing directly and/or indirectly by the mediation of meta-linguistic skills such as phonological and orthographic awareness. One hundred sixteen Korean children aged 4 and 5 years were tested on delayed copying of Korean Hangul Gulja (written syllable), pure copying of unfamiliar print of Vietnamese, nonverbal reasoning, syllable and phoneme awareness, and orthographic awareness. Multiple mediation analyses indicated that the associations of delayed copying of Hangul Gulja with word reading and writing were explained by the mediation of orthographic and syllable awareness after controlling for children’s age and nonverbal reasoning.
The results suggest that delayed copying, which has recently been recognized as a major measure of orthographic working memory, contributes to Hangul word reading and writing directly and indirectly by the mediation of meta-linguistic skills among Korean children. Delayed copying under working memory loads could be used as an efficient training method for reading and writing Hangul.