Despite the growing body of research investigating the nature of text-reading fluency and its relationship to comprehension among monolingual children, very little is known about text-reading fluency for language minority (LM) learners reading in English. The present study investigated the nature of text-reading fluency—its relationship to reading comprehension and its predictors—for 76 Spanish-speaking LM fifth graders. Text-reading fluency explained unique variance in reading comprehension above and beyond word-reading fluency and oral language competencies, but its effect was not robust. The impact of text-reading fluency on comprehension was moderated by an interaction such that only students with proficient text-reading fluency and well-developed oral language demonstrated skilled comprehension. Word-reading fluency and decoding skill were significant predictors of text-reading fluency. The results suggest that existing assumptions about the relationship between text-reading fluency and comprehension may not readily apply to LM learners.
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Spanish decoding was assessed with the Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery Revised (Woodcock & Munoz-Sandoval, 1995) Word Attack subtest. Spanish vocabulary was assessed with the Test de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody (TVIP; Dunn, Padilla, Lugo & Dunn, 1986), the Spanish version of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. Reported scores are standardized with a population mean = 100, population SD = 15.
In descriptions of the sampling schemes for each measure, the publishers of both the TOWRE and GORT note that they attempted to recruit a representative sample of different “ethnic groups.” As such, Hispanics were 9% of the norming sample for the TOWRE and 12% for the GORT. The publishers do not provide any information about the linguistic background of sample participants.
To ensure that those students in our sample with extremely low reading comprehension performance were not exerting an overly strong influence on our results, we first ran all analyses with the full sample of n = 76 and a second time with a sample that did not include children whose reading comprehension performance was more than two standard deviations below the national mean (based on National Curve Equivalent scores). The trends observed in the models based on the full sample (n = 76) were exactly the same as those observed in the sample without outliers (n = 74). Given the nature of the population under study, we opted to retain these participants in the models.
Note that we also tested both vocabulary and listening comprehension for an interaction with word-reading fluency; neither cross-product was significant. Moreover, we tested for an interaction between word- and text-reading fluency; it was not significant.
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Crosson, A.C., Lesaux, N.K. Revisiting assumptions about the relationship of fluent reading to comprehension: Spanish-speakers’ text-reading fluency in English. Read Writ 23, 475–494 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-009-9168-8