Derivational morphological awareness, academic vocabulary, and reading comprehension in linguistically diverse sixth graders

Michael J. Kieffer, Catherine DiFelice Box

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study investigated the multiple roles of morphological awareness in reading comprehension for Spanish-speaking language minority (LM) learners and their native English-speaking (NE) peers. Sixth-grade students (N= 137; 82 LM, 55 NE) were assessed on English measures of derivational morphological awareness, morphologically complex academic vocabulary, silent word reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Multiple-group path analyses indicated that morphological awareness made a significant unique contribution to comprehension as well as indirect contributions to comprehension via academic vocabulary and word reading fluency. Predictive relations were the same across language groups, with the exception of the indirect contribution via academic vocabulary, which was greater for NE speakers than for LM learners. Findings extend prior research by confirming the importance of morphological awareness in literacy development for LM learners and specifying particular roles in academic vocabulary and fluency development, suggesting the value of integrating morphology into multifaceted reading instruction in linguistically diverse classrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • English language learners
  • Language minority learners
  • Morphological awareness
  • Reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Word reading fluency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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