Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 189–208 | Cite as

A not-so-simple view of reading: how oral vocabulary and visual-word recognition complicate the story

  • Gene Ouellette
  • Ashley Beers


The present study sought to clarify the relations amongst serial decoding, irregular word recognition, listening comprehension, facets of oral vocabulary and reading comprehension in two cohorts of children differing in reading level. In the process, the components of the simple view of reading were evaluated. Students in grades 1 (n = 67) and 6 (n = 56) were assessed on measures of phonological awareness, decoding, irregular word recognition, listening comprehension, oral vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Even when all other measures were controlled, vocabulary was found to explain reading comprehension in grade 6 but not grade 1. Vocabulary also predicted decoding in grade 6 and irregular word recognition in both grades. These results are interpreted as supporting a not-so-simple view of the constructs underlying reading comprehension that acknowledges complex connections between print skills and oral language.


Decoding Irregular word recognition Reading comprehension Semantics The simple view of reading Vocabulary 



This research was funded in part by a grant to the first author from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We sincerely thank the children, parents, teachers, administrators and school personnel of NB District 2. We also acknowledge the helpful comments of a reviewer that served to highlight the distinction between constructs and measures discussed here. We also thank Jill Fraser and Angela Dalton for their help and support and Katrina Ouellette for overseeing all things lab related.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMount Allison UniversitySackvilleCanada

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