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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Contributions of oral language, problem-solving, and reading attitudes to young adolescents' silent reading comprehension
by Nellenbach, Kristin Marie, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010, 151; 3428389
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the unique and combined contribution of components of oral language, problem solving, and reading attitudes to silent reading comprehension in a group of young adolescents with varying skill in silent reading comprehension. Sixty young adolescents in grades six through eight were selected to participate in a multicomponent assessment that included measures of general and advanced oral language, problem solving, academic and recreational reading attitudes, and silent reading comprehension. Given that a substantial portion of reading comprehension difficulties among young adolescents resides across and within component areas in contrast to younger readers who predominately struggle with word identification skills, the focus of this investigation was to examine students' performance in areas other than word identification skills.

Correlation analyses revealed a statistically significant relationship, ranging from weak to strong, between each of nine components and silent reading comprehension ability. Measures of advanced oral language, specifically ambiguous lexicon and inferencing, shared the strongest relationship with silent reading comprehension. The strength of the relationships between the remaining component skills and silent reading comprehension ranging from strongest to weakest were general oral language, reading attitudes, and problem solving. While the problem solving measures had the lowest correlation to silent reading comprehension, they were also weakly correlated with each of the other predictor variables suggesting a unique contribution of problem solving to silent reading comprehension that was confirmed by a multiple linear regression.

Additional analyses were conducted to determine the ability of a linear combination of component skills to predict silent reading comprehension. The results of the multiple linear regression analyses indicated that although a model that included all nine variables accounted for the largest amount of variance in silent reading comprehension ability (76%), a model consisting of only five of the variables still accounted for 74% of the variance in silent reading comprehension. Thus, the five variable model that included the specified measures of syntax, ambiguous lexicon, inferencing, planning, and attitudes towards recreational reading was positively correlated and significantly predictive of silent reading comprehension ability. As a final step, the linear equation for the five variable model was plotted against the measured values for silent reading comprehension equation for prediction of silent reading comprehension. The results of this comparison confirm that the five variable prediction model demonstrated a strong, positive correlation with measured silent reading comprehension scores.

The results of this study suggest that components other than word identification skills do substantially contribute to silent reading comprehension ability. Specifically, the combination of syntax, lexical ambiguity, inferencing, planning, and student attitudes toward recreational reading accounted for 74% of the variance in silent reading comprehension ability for the 60 young adolescents in this study. Given the significant relationships identified between these five components and silent reading comprehension, it is important for researchers, educators, related specialists, and parents interested in adolescent literacy to consider these areas as potential parts of what is necessary for successful silent reading comprehension.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Erickson, Karen A.
Commitee: Crais, Elizabeth, Hall, Leigh, Layton, Thomas, Pierce, Patsy
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Speech & Hearing Sciences: Doctoral
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Middle School education, Speech therapy
Keywords: General and advanced oral language, Problem solving, Silent reading comprehension, Students' attitudes towards reading, Young adolescents
Publication Number: 3428389
ISBN: 978-1-124-34994-7
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