Assessment of Reading and Dyslexia in Spanish Speaking English Language Learners

by Martha Elizabeth Youman

Institution: University of Arizona
Year: 2015
Keywords: dyslexia; ELLs; phonological awareness; RAN; reading; School Psychology; cognitive correlates
Record ID: 2058087
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10150/347237


While significant research has been done on dyslexia with native English speakers, little is known about identifying dyslexia in English Language Learners (ELLs). Previous research, primarily involving monolingual native English speakers, has highlighted specific cognitive correlates of reading that help screen students with dyslexia at an early age. These cognitive correlates, which include Phonological Awareness (PA), Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN), and Processing Speed (PS), have consistently been linked to basic reading skills in English and other languages. The present study had many objectives that could provide guidance for practitioners working with ELLs. First it explored the value of PA, RAN, and PS as predictors of basic reading skills in Spanish speaking ELLs. Second, it investigated a model that combined tasks of PA, RAN and PS that had the highest correlations to aspects of reading. Third, it explored the role of Vocabulary (V) in both English and Spanish in the development of reading skills in ELLs. Fourth, it aimed at establishing the use of the Simple View of Reading (SVR; Gough & Tunmer, 1986), which postulates that reading is the product of decoding and listening comprehension skills, for the assessment of reading in ELLs. Finally, it incorporated findings from this study for an adaptation of the SVR for use with ELLs. Findings suggest that RAN, PA, and PS, as measured in this study, are highly correlated to basic reading skills in Spanish speaking ELLs, and that these can be used for the assessment of reading and dyslexia in this population. This study also demonstrated that a model that included RAN numbers and phoneme deletion in English can accurately predict reading performance. Findings also indicate that V in English is highly correlated to basic reading skills in English, and that the model of the SVR can be replicated with the population sampled in this study. Finally, case study analyses illustrate how a model similar to the SVR, which incorporates RAN and PS, as well as V, can be used for the assessment of reading and dyslexia in ELLs.