Academic journal article Merrill-Palmer Quarterly

Examining the Simple View of Reading in a Transparent Orthography: A Longitudinal Study from Kindergarten to Grade 3

Academic journal article Merrill-Palmer Quarterly

Examining the Simple View of Reading in a Transparent Orthography: A Longitudinal Study from Kindergarten to Grade 3

Article excerpt

Becoming a skilled reader who can decode and comprehend written language is an important prerequisite for full participation in the modern society. Better understanding of the building blocks of reading comprehension and how their contribution may change across time is needed for provision of evidence-based support for children and youth who struggle with tasks requiring comprehension of texts and written media. An influential theoretical account on reading, the Simple View of Reading (SVR; Gough & Tunmer, 1986), suggests that reading comprehension is the product of efficient decoding ability and linguistic comprehension. Since its conception, the SVR model has received considerable empirical support (for reviews, see Kirby & Savage, 2008; Stuart, Stainthorp, & Snowling, 2008) and has had a major influence on reading research and practice. There is, however, a need for longitudinal examinations of the SVR model in transparent orthographies (Florit & Cain, 2011). The present study examines SVR by using a longitudinal data set that spans from kindergarten to Grade 3 in Finnish, a language considered one of the most transparent orthographies among the alphabetic languages in Europe (Seymour, Aro, & Erskine, 2003). In addition to the examination of the validity of SVR in Finnish, the current study seeks to extend previous studies by including preliteracy skills (phonological awareness, letter knowledge, rapid naming, and vocabulary) as predictors of the SVR components.

The empirical evidence in support of SVR comes from at least five sources. First, the combination of decoding and linguistic comprehension has been found to account for a significant amount of variance in reading comprehension, mainly in English, but also in other orthographies, including Dutch (de Jong & van der Leij, 2002), Finnish (Dufva, Niemi, & Voeten, 2001), Greek (Kendeou, Papadopoulos, & Kotzapoulou, 2013), French (Megherbi, Seigneuric, & Ehrlich, 2006), and Turkish (Babayigit & Stainthorp, 2011). Second, although decoding and reading comprehension correlate, factor analytic approaches have demonstrated that decoding and linguistic comprehension load on separate factors and thus form distinct constructs (e.g., Kendeou et al., 2013; Kendeou, Savage, & van den Broek, 2009). Third, intervention studies have shown that gains in decoding skills do not always translate into gains in reading comprehension (e.g., Edmonds et al., 2009). Fourth, there are children who experience difficulties in reading comprehension despite adequate decoding, as well as children who have developed average reading comprehension despite difficulties in decoding (e.g., Cain, Oakhill, & Bryant, 2004; Catts, Adlof, & Weismer, 2006; Catts, Hogan, & Adlof, 2005; Nation, Clarke, Marshall, & Durand, 2004; Stothard & Hulme, 1995; Torppa, Tolvanen, et al., 2007). Finally, reports from behavioral genetic studies suggest that decoding and comprehension are influenced by partially independent genetic components (e.g., Betjemann et al., 2008; Harlaar et al., 2010; Keenan, Betjemann, Wadsworth, DeFries, & Olson, 2006; Olson et al., 2011).

Despite an accumulated body of work on SVR, longitudinal studies on the developmental relationships between the components of SVR are still scarce, particularly in languages other than English. The results of a meta-analysis covering a wide range of orthographies suggested that the predictive value of decoding and linguistic comprehension in reading comprehension might differ across languages varying in orthographic consistency (Florit & Cain, 2011). To ascertain whether the SVR model developed for English is also valid in more transparent orthographies (e.g., Finnish), more research is warranted (see Florit & Cain, 2011; Kendeou et al., 2013).

The SVR model was originally developed for explaining the proximal causes of individual differences in reading comprehension in English. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.