, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 413-425,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 13 May 2010

Predictors of reading literacy for first and second language learners

Abstract

In this study an attempt was made to construct a multi-factor model predicting the development of reading literacy in the upper grades of primary school in the Netherlands for subgroups of 729 first language (L1) learners and 93 second language (L2) learners. Following a longitudinal design, it was explored to what extent the variation in reading literacy development in L1 and L2 from grade 4 to grade 6 can be explained from children’s word decoding, language, mathematics and nonverbal reasoning skills, reading motivation and self confidence as well as their home reading resources. The results showed that L1 and L2 learners differed in reading literacy skills, language, mathematics, and reasoning skills. Structural equation modelling showed that the reading literacy development in both L1 and L2 learners could be explained from decoding, language, mathematics and reasoning skills, as well as their motivation and self-confidence. A striking difference was the fact that home reading resources had an impact on reading literacy in L1 learners but not in L2 learners.