The Contributions of Oral Language Components to Reading Comprehension in Early Elementary Students

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Walsh, Kathleen
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Reading is a complex skill that is foundational to children’s learning in school. One popular theory of reading comprehension is the Simple View of Reading. This model posits that reading comprehension is comprised of listening comprehension and decoding skills. Listening comprehension, however, may not capture the breadth of oral language skills needed to develop reading comprehension. Alternative theories of reading comprehension identify a number of oral language skills that are involved in reading comprehension. The current study examines whether vocabulary, syntactic awareness, and morphological awareness each uniquely contribute to reading comprehension in concurrent and later reading comprehension for students who began the study in Grade 1. In separate hierarchical regressions, each oral language skill contributed significant unique variance to Grade 1 reading comprehension after that accounted for by listening comprehension and decoding. Each oral language skill did not account for variance with the other two oral language skills also in the equation; however, the small sample size may have limited these findings. The current study supports the theory that oral language skills contribute to reading comprehension beyond decoding and listening comprehension, supporting a more detailed theory of reading comprehension. The findings will be discussed in relation to the current research and theoretical frameworks of reading comprehension.
Reading comprehension, oral language, early elementary