The Foundation of Reading and Writing in a Transparent Orthography: Oral language development and early literacy skills
This longitudinal investigation attempted to identify risk characteristics for reading failure in Greek preschool children. Assessment information obtained as part of the study improved our understanding of learning to read in a transparent orthography, and helped us identify critical precursors of this process. The goal of the study was to establish the contribution of cognitive skills, early literacy (estimated by different measures of familiarity and involvement with written language) and oral language development for subsequent reading and writing achievement in a large sample of Greek students. We utilized a stratified randomized approach for sampling more than100 children (urban, semi-urban, rural) 4-7 years-old from four geographical regions (Attica, Crete, Macedonia & Thessaly). Participating students were assessed with an array of cognitive and language (oral and written) measures that evaluated development of the respective skills. Specifically, we assessed Listening comprehension, Receptive vocabulary, Expressive vocabulary/Semantic Skills, Narrative skills, Syntax and Morphological Skills, Phonemic awareness, Print concepts, Letter Names/Sounds knowledge, Name writing and Invented Spelling. We tested the relative contribution of print-related and print-independent (oral language) measures to reading efficiency and reading comprehension variance using both hierarchical multiple regression and latent variable modeling. The same predictors were tested in accounting for variance in writing and spelling skill. Study results enabled us to identify risk characteristics for novice Greek readers that could prevent failure in learning to read and write through the provision of early intervention.
Vassiliki Diamanti (Ph.D., Post Doctorate Researcher), Asimina Ralli (Ph.D., Researcher), Faye Antoniou (Ph.D, Researcher), Sofia Papaioannou (Ph.D., Post Doctorate Researcher)