The Simple View of Reading model (SVR) was used as a theoretical lens to explore some of the reading comprehension issues and challenges faced by Arabic Heritage Language Learners (HLLs) in the United States. This study investigated which of the two SVR model components, decoding and linguistic comprehension, is a better predictor of Arabic reading comprehension among HLLs. The study also examined if the level of reading proficiency affected the way the two components predict Arabic reading comprehension. To answer these questions, 70 participants from four different levels (i.e., fourth through seventh grade levels) from a southern California heritage language school were tested on one reading comprehension measure, one linguistic comprehension measure (i.e., a listening comprehension measure), and two decoding measures, word reading scores and spelling.
Results revealed that both components, linguistic comprehension and decoding, were equally significant predictors of reading comprehension in the overall sample accounting for 62% of the variance in reading comprehension. Moreover, the sample was then split into more skilled readers and less skilled readers. In the sample of less skilled readers, both linguistic comprehension and decoding were significant predictors of reading comprehension accounting for 42% of the variance in reading comprehension, with the spelling measure (i.e., decoding) being a slightly stronger predictor. In the sample of more skilled readers, only linguistic comprehension was a significant predictor of reading comprehension. However, when the decoding measure, spelling, was replaced with a fluency component (i.e., a fluency measure based on the recorded reading time of participants), both linguistic comprehension and the fluency component were equally significant predictors of reading comprehension accounting for 53% of the variance in reading comprehension.
Finally, additional preliminary observations and speculations were presented suggesting that: 1) the HLLs’ linguistic abilities may be closer to the abilities of second language learners; 2) the linguistic comprehension of HLLs may be influenced by multiple factors such as diglossia, language deterioration, and low oral proficiency; and finally, 3) the intertwined relationship between spelling and reading appeared to provide further insight into the literacy development of HLLs.
|Advisor:||Fender, Michael J.|
|Commitee:||Abbuhl, Rebekha, Lord, Carol|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Bilingual education, Linguistics|
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