Examining the contribution of 1st grade reading and language skills to 3rd grade reading comprehension: A mediation analysis.

Examining the contribution of 1st grade reading and language skills to 3rd grade reading comprehension: A mediation analysis.

First Author: Liz Crawford-Brooke -- Lexia Learning (Rosetta Stone)
Additional authors/chairs: 
Raffaela Wolf
Keywords: Predictors of reading skills, Working memory, Early Literacy, Word reading skills, Academic Language
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
This study is an exploration of how word recognition and academic language abilities of students in 1st grade explain their reading comprehension performance in 3rd grade. Mediation effects between 1st grade tasks (vocabulary pairs, word reading, following directions) and reading comprehension (3rd grade) were examined.
Method
A sample of students (N=400) was drawn from 8 school districts from different states in the United States. Longitudinal assessment data was collected from the Lexia RAPID Assessment, the Reading Assessment for Prescriptive Instructional Data. RAPID consists of computer-adaptive screening tasks that measure student’s reading performance in several skill areas such as word recognition, academic language, and reading comprehension skills. Mediation analyses were conducted. The indirect effect was tested using a bootstrap estimation approach with 1000 samples.
Results
First grade vocabulary pairs, word reading and following directions were significant predictors of third grade reading comprehension. Following directions was a partial mediator in the prediction of reading comprehension. The presence of a mediating effect was discarded for both vocabulary pairs and word reading suggesting that both tasks independently contributed to the variance in reading comprehension.
Conclusion
Partial mediation of following directions suggests that it is an important skill to capitalize on vocabulary knowledge and word reading when reading grade-level text. This finding could be explained through individuals’ contribution of working memory and its impact on higher-level cognitive tasks such as following directions. Furthermore, working memory may account for significant variance in scores on reading comprehension tasks. The impact of working memory on reading comprehension could be a direction for future study and analyses.