McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Esther Lopez

Lopez.JPG

Major and Classification

French, Psychology

Faculty Mentor

  • Franklin Manis, Ph.D.

Department

  • Psychology

McNair Project

Contribution of Spanish Reading Comprehension

The Simple View of Reading (Hoover and Gough, 1990) suggests that reading comprehension is the product of two developing clusters of skills; word decoding accuracy and oral language comprehension ability. The model is well supported by data on monolingual English-speaking children, but more research is needed to confirm this development in English Language-Learners (ELLs). Furthermore, recent studies show that reading fluency might be a third factor that interacts with word decoding and language comprehension in the prediction of future reading comprehension. The present study explored the applicability of these findings to reading comprehension in ELLs and examined a further question, which is whether Spanish language ability makes a contribution to English reading comprehension independently of all of the English variables. Regression analyses conducted on 220 Spanish-English ELLs confirmed the predictions of the Simple View of Reading, and supported the separate contribution of reading fluency to comprehension. A unique contribution of this study was the finding that once all of these factors were taken into account, Spanish language ability made a small but statistically significant contribution to English reading comprehension. The results suggest that ELLs might benefit from extended training and support of the native language, because this might lead to a facilitation of native language strategies that are used in reading English.