The structure of oral language and reading and their relation to comprehension in Kindergarten through Grade 2

Abstract

This study examined the structure of oral language and reading and their relation to comprehension from a latent variable modeling perspective in Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. Participants were students in Kindergarten (n = 218), Grade 1 (n = 372), and Grade 2 (n = 273), attending Title 1 schools. Students were administered phonological awareness, syntax, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and decoding fluency measures in mid-year. Outcome measures included a listening comprehension measure in Kindergarten and a reading comprehension test in Grades 1 and 2. In Kindergarten, oral language (consisting of listening comprehension, syntax, and vocabulary) shared variance with phonological awareness in predicting a listening comprehension outcome. However, in Grades 1 and 2, phonological awareness was no longer predictive of reading comprehension when decoding fluency and oral language were included in the model. In Grades 1 and 2, oral language and decoding fluency were significant predictors of reading comprehension.

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Acknowledgments

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through a subaward to Florida State University from Grant R305F100005 to the Educational Testing Service as part of the Reading for Understanding Initiative as well as by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Learning Disability Research Center Grant P50HD052120. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute of Education Sciences, the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Health, the Educational Testing Service, or Florida State University.

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Correspondence to Barbara R. Foorman.

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Alison Mitchell is now at Lexia Learning.

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Foorman, B.R., Herrera, S., Petscher, Y. et al. The structure of oral language and reading and their relation to comprehension in Kindergarten through Grade 2. Read Writ 28, 655–681 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-015-9544-5

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Keywords

  • Oral language
  • Beginning reading
  • Literacy
  • Reading comprehension
  • Structural equation modeling