Reading and Writing

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 99–131 | Cite as

Investigating Cognitive and Linguistic Abilities that Influence the Reading Comprehension Skills of Children from Diverse Linguistic Backgrounds

  • Nonie K. LesauxEmail author
  • Orly Lipka
  • Linda S. Siegel


This study investigated the influence of cognitive and linguistic skills on the reading comprehension performance of a group of learners from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The study also compared the reading comprehension performance of grade 4 children who entered kindergarten with little or no experience with English (ESL) to that of a group of native English speakers. Examiners administered various tasks of reading, language, and memory to the children in the study (n=480). The sample included three comprehension groups: (1) children with poor comprehension in the absence of word reading difficulties (Poor Comprehenders; PC), (2) children with poor word reading and poor comprehension (Poor word Recognition and comprehenders; PR), and (3) children with good word reading and comprehension abilities (Good Comprehenders; GC). Due to the small sample size of PR reader group, no comparative analyses were conducted. However, the results indicated that within the GC and PC groups there were no differences between the ESL and L1 children on measures of reading and phonological processing. Further, within the GC and PC groups, on measures of syntactic awareness and verbal working memory, the ESL speakers performed at significantly lower levels than the L1 speakers.


ESL Phonological awareness Reading comprehension Syntactic awareness Working memory 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nonie K. Lesaux
    • 1
    Email author
  • Orly Lipka
    • 2
  • Linda S. Siegel
    • 2
  1. 1.Harvard Graduate School of EducationHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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