Executive functions and English reading comprehension growth in Spanish-English bilingual adolescents

Michael J. Kieffer, Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, J. Kenneth Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This longitudinal study investigated whether and, if so, how executive functions predict English reading comprehension development among Spanish-English bilingual adolescents. Students (N = 116) were followed from Grade 6 (age 11) through Grade 8 (age 13) and their cognitive (i.e., working memory, inhibitory control, attention shifting), linguistic, and reading skills were assessed annually. Growth modeling indicated that a Grade 6 measure that tapped both attention shifting and inhibitory control moderately predicted reading comprehension growth, controlling for other executive functions and processing speed. This relation was not significant when controlling for word reading and language comprehension, suggesting overlap in the contributions of these skills. Concurrent mediation analyses suggested multiple mechanisms for the contributions of individual executive functions to reading comprehension. Results provide cautious support for the importance of executive functions to reading comprehension development for bilingual adolescents and suggest multiple pathways by which they contribute via established componential skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101238
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Bilingual learners
  • Executive functions
  • Reading comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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