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Title: A longitudinal investigation of the social, cognitive and social cognitive predictors of reading comprehension
Author: Atkinson, Lynette M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 5015
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis reports a longitudinal investigation of social, cognitive and social cognitive predictors of early reading comprehension in a sample of 98 typically developing children. Children were aged three at the beginning of the study and, importantly, they were all non-­‐readers and had not experienced formal literacy instruction. Children’s progress in literacy-­‐related development was reassessed over the following 28 months. Reading comprehension was assessed at the final time point, when children were six years old. The first study investigated the influence of children’s home literacy environment (HLE) on their cognitive pre-­‐reading abilities at three years, and on their emergent literacy skills at five years. The second study considered the Simple View of Reading (SVR) to examine direct and indirect predictive pathways from children’s preschool cognitive abilities to reading comprehension skills at the age of six. Thirdly, the role of theory of mind was explored to determine whether it contributed to reading comprehension over and above the SVR framework. The final study examined the retrospective and concurrent profiles of children identified at six years as poor and good comprehenders. Results showed that children’s preschool HLE experiences, and early cognitive abilities at three years, both directly and indirectly related to later reading comprehension at six years old. The SVR was extended to a younger population; children’s reading comprehension was underpinned by two separate sets of preschool cognitive skills (code-­‐related and oral language) contributing to two predictive pathways to later reading comprehension, suggesting that both word reading and oral language skills are equally crucial for the acquisition of reading comprehension. Additionally, early theory of mind (potentially indexing metacognition) contributed to reading comprehension over and above the two components of the SVR, suggesting that the SVR may be too simple to fully account for emergent reading comprehension. The cognitive profiles of poor and good comprehenders added further evidence to suggest that preschool abilities may be important predictors of later reading comprehension skills. The findings of this research have important practical implications, not only for the early identification of children who are at risk for future reading comprehension difficulties, but also for informing early years literacy instruction and future targeted interventions.
Supervisor: Levy, Joseph Patrick ; Powell, Daisy ; Slade, Lance Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available