Reading comprehension in a large cohort of French first graders from low socio-economic status families: a 7-month longitudinal study.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The literature suggests that a complex relationship exists between the three main skills involved in reading comprehension (decoding, listening comprehension and vocabulary) and that this relationship depends on at least three other factors orthographic transparency, children's grade level and socioeconomic status (SES). This study investigated the relative contribution of the predictors of reading comprehension in a longitudinal design (from beginning to end of the first grade) in 394 French children from low SES families. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Reading comprehension was measured at the end of the first grade using two tasks one with short utterances and one with a medium length narrative text. Accuracy in listening comprehension and vocabulary, and fluency of decoding skills, were measured at the beginning and end of the first grade. Accuracy in decoding skills was measured only at the beginning. Regression analyses showed that listening comprehension and decoding skills (accuracy and fluency) always significantly predicted reading comprehension. The contribution of decoding was greater when reading comprehension was assessed via the task using short utterances. Between the two assessments, the contribution of vocabulary, and of decoding skills especially, increased, while that of listening comprehension remained unchanged. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: These results challenge the 'simple view of reading'. They also have educational implications, since they show that it is possible to assess decoding and reading comprehension very early on in an orthography (i.e., French), which is less deep than the English one even in low SES children. These assessments, associated with those of listening comprehension and vocabulary, may allow early identification of children at risk for reading difficulty, and to set up early remedial training, which is the most effective, for them.
Project description:Based on the assumption that good decoding skills constitute a bootstrapping mechanism for reading comprehension, the present study investigated the relative contribution of the former skill to the latter compared to that of three other predictors of reading comprehension (listening comprehension, vocabulary and phonemic awareness) in 392 French-speaking first graders from low SES families. This large sample was split into three groups according to their level of decoding skills assessed by pseudoword reading. Using a cutoff of 1 SD above or below the mean of the entire population, there were 63 good decoders, 267 average decoders and 62 poor decoders. 58% of the variance in reading comprehension was explained by our four predictors, with decoding skills proving to be the best predictor (12.1%, 7.3% for listening comprehension, 4.6% for vocabulary and 3.3% for phonemic awareness). Interaction between group versus decoding skills, listening comprehension and phonemic awareness accounted for significant additional variance (3.6%, 1.1% and 1.0%, respectively). The effects on reading comprehension of decoding skills and phonemic awareness were higher in poor and average decoders than in good decoders whereas listening comprehension accounted for more variance in good and average decoders than in poor decoders. Furthermore, the percentage of children with impaired reading comprehension skills was higher in the group of poor decoders (55%) than in the two other groups (average decoders: 7%; good decoders: 0%) and only 6 children (1.5%) had impaired reading comprehension skills with unimpaired decoding skills, listening comprehension or vocabulary. These results challenge the outcomes of studies on "poor comprehenders" by showing that, at least in first grade, poor reading comprehension is strongly linked to the level of decoding skills.
Project description:This longitudinal study examined the role of narrative skills in English reading comprehension, after controlling for vocabulary and decoding, with a sample of 112 dual language learners (DLLs), including both Spanish-English and Cantonese-English children. Decoding, vocabulary, and narrative samples were collected in the winter of first grade and reading comprehension skills were assessed on the same children one year later in second grade. Spanish-English DLLs had significantly lower English receptive vocabulary but higher L1 receptive vocabulary than their Cantonese peers. At the same time, Spanish-English DLLs scored lower than Cantonese-English DLLs on English reading comprehension. There were no differences in English reading comprehension between DLL children in bilingual programs and those in mainstream English programs after controlling for L1. Multiple regression results show that English decoding and English vocabulary explain a significant portion of the variance in English reading comprehension. Regression results also revealed a significant, albeit small, effect of narrative quality (both within- and cross-language) on English reading comprehension one year later, after controlling for English decoding and English vocabulary. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Project description:Successful acquisition of literacy depends on adequate development of decoding skills as well as broader, meaning-related knowledge and skills for text comprehension. Children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds are often challenged in both domains, relative to peers who are not economically disadvantaged. The efficacy of code-focused instructional programs for at-risk preliterate children is well supported, but less evidence is available regarding interventions to improve broader language and comprehension skills. This preliminary study tested the feasibility of a new intervention, "structured narrative retell instruction" (SNRI), and explored its potential to enhance meaning-related knowledge and skills, including vocabulary, listening comprehension, and narrative skills, in pre-literate, low SES children. SNRI used authentic children's books to model comprehension processes, explicitly teach story grammar, and implicitly target microstructural aspects of narratives. Participants included 9 children with a mean age of 60 months, who were randomly assigned to SNRI or to code-focused literacy instruction (CFLI). Each group received 12, 40-min instructional sessions over 6 weeks. Pre- and post-tests were administered to assess vocabulary, listening comprehension, narrative macrostructure and narrative microstructure, as well as alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and concepts of print. The feasibility of SNRI was demonstrated by completion of the designed study, moderately high treatment fidelity, and qualitative feedback from interventionists. The SNRI group also made significant gains on 4 of the 7 meaning-related measures (p < 0.10). In comparison, the CFLI group made significant gains on 2 of 7 meaning-related measures. We conclude that SNRI is feasible and shows potential for improving language skills related to comprehension and that further research investigating its efficacy is warranted.
Project description:The aim of the study was to develop a new comprehensive reading assessment battery for multi-ethnic and multilingual learners in Malaysia. Using this assessment battery, we examined the reliability, validity, and dimensionality of the factors associated with reading difficulties/disabilities in the Malay language, a highly transparent alphabetic orthography. In order to further evaluate the reading assessment battery, we compared results from the assessment battery with those obtained from the Malaysian national screening instrument. In the study, 866 Grade 1 children from multi-ethnic and multilingual backgrounds from 11 government primary schools participated. The reading assessment battery comprised 13 assessments, namely, reading comprehension, spelling, listening comprehension, letter name knowledge, letter name fluency, rapid automatized naming, word reading accuracy, word reading efficiency, oral reading fluency, expressive vocabulary, receptive vocabulary, elision, and phonological memory. High reliability and validity were found for the assessments. An exploratory factor analysis yielded three main constructs: phonological-decoding, sublexical-fluency, and vocabulary-memory. Phonological-decoding was found to be the most reliable construct that distinguished between at-risk and non-at-risk children. Identifying these underlying factors will be useful for detecting children at-risk for developing reading difficulties in the Malay language. In addition, these results highlight the importance of including a range of reading and reading-related measures for the early diagnosis of reading difficulties in this highly transparent orthography.
Project description:Testing a component model of reading comprehension in a randomized controlled trial, we evaluated the efficacy of four different interventions that were designed to target components of language and metacognition that predict children's reading comprehension: vocabulary, listening comprehension, comprehension of literate language, academic knowledge, and comprehension monitoring. Third- and fourth-graders with language skills falling below age expectations participated (N = 645). Overall, the component interventions were only somewhat effective in improving the targeted skills, compared to a business-as-usual control (g ranged from -.14 to .33), and no main effects were significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. Effects did not generalize to other language skills or to students' reading comprehension. Moreover, there were child-characteristic-by-treatment interaction effects. For example, the intervention designed to build sensorimotor mental representations was more effective for children with weaker vocabulary skills. Implications for component models of reading and interventions for children at risk of reading comprehension difficulties are discussed.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The ultimate goal of reading is to understand written text. To accomplish this, children must first master decoding, the ability to translate printed words into sounds. Although decoding and reading comprehension are highly interdependent, some children struggle to decode but comprehend well, whereas others with good decoding skills fail to comprehend. The neural basis underlying individual differences in this discrepancy between decoding and comprehension abilities is virtually unknown. METHODS:We investigated the neural basis underlying reading discrepancy, defined as the difference between reading comprehension and decoding skills, in a three-part study: 1) The neuroanatomical basis of reading discrepancy in a cross-sectional sample of school-age children with a wide range of reading abilities (Experiment-1; n = 55); 2) Whether a discrepancy-related neural signature is present in beginning readers and predictive of future discrepancy (Experiment-2; n = 43); and 3) Whether discrepancy-related regions are part of a domain-general or a language specialized network, utilizing the 1000 Functional Connectome data and large-scale reverse inference from Neurosynth.org (Experiment-3). RESULTS:Results converged onto the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), as related to having discrepantly higher reading comprehension relative to decoding ability. Increased gray matter volume (GMV) was associated with greater discrepancy (Experiment-1). Region-of-interest (ROI) analyses based on the left DLPFC cluster identified in Experiment-1 revealed that regional GMV within this ROI in beginning readers predicted discrepancy three years later (Experiment-2). This region was associated with the fronto-parietal network that is considered fundamental for working memory and cognitive control (Experiment-3). INTERPRETATION:Processes related to the prefrontal cortex might be linked to reading discrepancy. The findings may be important for understanding cognitive resilience, which we operationalize as those individuals with greater higher-order reading skills such as reading comprehension compared to lower-order reading skills such as decoding skills. Our study provides insights into reading development, existing theories of reading, and cognitive processes that are potentially significant to a wide range of reading disorders.
Project description:The purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine the role of three morphological awareness (MA) skills (inflection, derivation, and compounding) in word reading fluency and reading comprehension in a relatively transparent orthography (Greek). Two hundred and fifteen (104 girls; Mage = 67.40 months, at kindergarten) Greek children were followed from kindergarten (K) to grade 2 (G2). In K and grade 1 (G1), they were tested on measures of MA (two inflectional, two derivational, and three compounding), letter knowledge, phonological awareness, rapid automatized naming (RAN), and general cognitive ability (vocabulary and non-verbal IQ). At the end of G1 and G2, they were also tested on word reading fluency and reading comprehension. The results of hierarchical regression analyses showed that the inflectional and derivational aspects of MA in K as well as all aspects of MA in G1 accounted for 2-5% of unique variance in reading comprehension. None of the MA skills predicted word reading fluency, after controlling for the effects of vocabulary and RAN. These findings suggest that the MA skills, even when assessed as early as in kindergarten, play a significant role in reading comprehension development.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>Dialogic reading (DR) is a shared storybook reading intervention previously shown to have a positive effect on both literacy and general language skills. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of DR compared to screen-based intervention on electrophysiological markers supporting narrative comprehension using EEG.<h4>Methods</h4>Thirty-two typically developing preschoolers, ages 4 to 6 years, were assigned to one of two intervention groups: Dialogic Reading Group (DRG, n = 16) or Screen Story Group (SSG, n = 16). We examined the effect of intervention type using behavioral assessment and a narrative comprehension task with EEG.<h4>Results</h4>The DRG showed improved vocabulary and decreased functional connectivity during the stories-listening task, whereas the SSG group showed no changes in vocabulary or connectivity. Significantly decreased network strength and transitivity and increased network efficiency were observed in the DRG following intervention. Greater network strength and transitivity at follow-up were correlated with increased vocabulary.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The results suggest the beneficial effect of DR in preschool-age children on vocabulary and EEG-bands related to attention in the ventral stream during narrative comprehension. Decreased functional connectivity may serve as a marker for language gains following reading intervention.<h4>Significance</h4>DR intervention for preschool-age children may reduce interfering connections related to attention, which is related to better narrative comprehension.
Project description:The present study explored the environmental and genetic etiologies of the longitudinal relations between prereading skills and reading and spelling. Twin pairs (n = 489) were assessed before kindergarten (M = 4.9 years), post-first grade (M = 7.4 years), and post-fourth grade (M = 10.4 years). Genetic influences on five prereading skills (print knowledge, rapid naming, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and verbal memory) were primarily responsible for relations with word reading and spelling. However, relations with post-fourth-grade reading comprehension were due to both genetic and shared environmental influences. Genetic and shared environmental influences that were common among the prereading variables covaried with reading and spelling, as did genetic influences unique to verbal memory (only post-fourth-grade comprehension), print knowledge, and rapid naming.
Project description:A substantial amount of variation in reading comprehension skill is explained by listening comprehension skill, suggesting tight links between printed and spoken discourse processing. In addition, both word level (e.g., vocabulary) and discourse-level sub-skills (e.g., inference-making) support overall comprehension. However, while these contributions to variation in comprehension skill have been well-studied behaviorally, the underlying neurobiological basis of these relationships is less well understood. In order to examine the neural bases of individual differences in reading comprehension as a function of input modality and processing level, we examined functional neural activation to both spoken and printed single words and passages in adolescents with a range of comprehension skill. Data driven Partial Least Squares Correlation (PLSC) analyses revealed that comprehension skill was positively related to activation in a number of regions associated with discourse comprehension and negatively related to activation in regions associated with executive function and memory across processing levels and input modalities.