Morphological awareness and reading comprehension: Examining mediating factors

Kyle C. Levesque, Michael J. Kieffer, S. Hélène Deacon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The relation between morphological awareness—defined as the awareness of and ability to manipulate the smallest units of meaning in language—and reading comprehension remains in need of specification. In this study, we evaluated four potential intervening variables through which morphological awareness may contribute indirectly to reading comprehension. We assessed word reading and vocabulary as well as children's ability to read and analyze the meaning of morphologically complex words (morphological decoding and morphological analysis, respectively). Controls of phonological awareness and nonverbal ability were included in the model. Participants were 221 English-speaking children in Grade 3. Multivariate path analyses revealed evidence of two indirect relations and one direct relation between morphological awareness and reading comprehension. In the first indirect path, morphological awareness contributed to morphological decoding, which then influenced word reading and finally reading comprehension. In a second indirect path, morphological awareness contributed to morphological analysis, which contributed to reading comprehension. Finally, in a direct path, morphological awareness contributed to reading comprehension beyond all other variables. These findings inform as to the potential mechanisms underlying the relation between morphological awareness and reading comprehension in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of experimental child psychology
Volume160
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Keywords

  • Mediation
  • Morphological analysis
  • Morphological awareness
  • Morphological decoding
  • Path analysis
  • Reading comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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