, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 251-281
Date: 30 Sep 2010

The reading performance of English learners in grades 1–3: the role of initial status and growth on reading fluency in Spanish and English

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The purposes of this study were to (a) examine the developmental patterns in pseudoword reading and oral reading fluency in Spanish and English for Spanish-speaking English learners (ELs) in grades 1–3, and (b) investigate whether initial status and growth rates in reading fluency in Spanish and English, significantly predicted reading comprehension within languages and across languages. Participants were 173 Spanish-speaking ELs in first grade, 156 ELs in second grade, and 142 ELs in third grade across four schools providing a paired bilingual reading program. Results of hierarchical linear modeling indicated different patterns of reading growth in Spanish and English across measures and across grades. ELs at the beginning of first grade had higher scores on pseudoword reading in Spanish than in English and had a higher rate of growth on Spanish pseudoword reading. In second and third grades, initial scores on oral reading fluency were comparable in both languages, but oral reading fluency growth rates were higher in English than in Spanish. Results from regression and path analysis indicated that student initial scores and growth on reading fluency were strong and direct predictors of their reading comprehension within the same language, but not across different languages.