Longitudinal Predictors of Reading Comprehension in Spanish

Longitudinal Predictors of Reading Comprehension in Spanish

First Author: Nuria Calet -- Universidad de Granada
Additional authors/chairs: 
Ian C. Simpson; Nicolás Gutiérrez-Palma; Eduardo Onochie-Quintanilla; Sylvia Defior
Keywords: Reading comprehension, Fluency, Prosody, Reading development, Literacy Skills
Abstract / Summary: 

Although a vast amount of research has been undertaken in recent decades in the area of reading, the majority of this work has focused on converting print to speech. Far less work has examined the area of reading comprehension. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to determine whether predictors of reading fluency also predicted reading comprehension.
Method
130 Spanish primary-school children were assessed over a period of 18 months. Reading fluency and text reading comprehension were assessed at the end of kindergarten and at the start of grade 2, along with Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN), Picture Word Matching (PWM), spelling, Non-Linguistic Rhythm (N-LR) Sensitivity and Lexical stress sensitivity (LSS). A number of additional cognitive abilities were assessed as control variables: phonological awareness (phoneme isolation and phoneme blending), paired associative learning, Verbal IQ and Non-Verbal IQ.
Results
Structural equation modelling was used to analyse these data. Although reading fluency and reading comprehension were highly correlated at the start of grade 2, the longitudinal predictors of each reading skill differed. The only significant longitudinal predictors of reading fluency were RAN and PWM, whereas the longitudinal predictors of reading comprehension were RAN, N-LR sensitivity and Verbal IQ.
Conclusions
In Spanish reading comprehension may be linked, at least in part, to variables not usually associated with reading fluency. Additionally, as N-LR sensitivity and RAN can be assessed in pre-readers, it may be possible to develop a test to identify children at risk of becoming poor comprehenders.