Sentence priming in English and Spanish among bilinguals with good and poor reading comprehension

Sentence priming in English and Spanish among bilinguals with good and poor reading comprehension

First Author: Sergio Leiva Cardona -- University of Nebraska
Additional authors/chairs: 
Marc Goodrich
Keywords: Lexical quality hypothesis, Reading comprehension, Language Development, context, Individual Differences
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: This study aims to investigate whether there was evidence for the lexical identity component of the lexical quality hypothesis (LHQ, Perfetti, 2007) in a sample of 67 Spanish-English bilingual children enrolled in grades 3 to 6 in Honduras.

Method: Children completed a reading and listening sentence priming task to examine the effects of context (i.e., predictable versus unpredictable sentences) on reading comprehension in both Spanish and English.

Results: Preliminary analysis from a linear mixed effects model revealed a significant main effect of context, with more correct responses for predictable than for unpredictable context (g = 0.18). These effects were larger for the lower grades than they were for the upper grades ( g = 0.21 to 0.46). Finally, there was a significant context, task type (reading and listening), language, and grade interaction with no significant context effects across all grades showing for the English listening task, but significant context effects for the Spanish listening task for third and fifth grade. For the English and Spanish reading tasks, significant context effects were observed for all but for sixth grade children.

Conclusions: Results from the reading and listening tasks in both languages indicated that there were more significant context effects for reading than for listening. Also, the effects of context in the reading task were stronger for the younger children who presumably have weaker decoding skills, supporting the LQH. Follow-up analysis will examine whether differences in context effects vary as a function of individual differences in reading-related skills and working memory.