The role of oral language development in reading comprehension: Evidence from Greek elementary school students.

Presented at the 14th Annual World Congress on Learning Disabilities, Boston, MA, 28–29 October 2005

Angeliki Mouzaki,1 Athanassios Protopapas,2 & Ioannis Spantidakis1
1 University of Crete
2 Institute for Language & Speech Processing / Athena

Reading efficiency is a major accomplishment that has an enormous impact on the child’s academic and personal life. The purpose of the present study was to identify the potential contribution of language skills to the development of fluent reading and comprehension. In the present study, children in grades 2–4 (representing a random sample of 587 students in 17 Greek schools) were tested on measures of phonological decoding, expressive and receptive vocabulary, reading speed, spelling, and reading comprehension. The contribution of scores on receptive and expressive vocabulary tests to systematic variability in reading comprehension was examined in a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses. It was established that vocabulary measures accounted for a significant proportion of variance in reading comprehension (12%) above and beyond the amount of variance accounted for by reading accuracy, reading speed (for both words and pseudowords), and performance IQ. The predictive value of vocabulary measures was independent of grade and decoding ability. The results are discussed with respect to educational implications for vocabulary development in middle elementary grades.