Exploring the Utility of the Simple View of Reading in Irish Children Attending Schools in Areas Designated as Socially Disadvantaged

Rena Lyons, Allyn Fives, Noreen Kearns, John Canavan, Carmel Devaney, Pat Eaton


Evidence suggests that children living in areas designated as socially disadvantaged may be at risk for literacy difficulties. The Simple View of Reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986; Hoover &Gough, 1986) is a theoretical model that sets out to describe the processes that children need to develop to become proficient readers, that is word recognition or decoding processes and language comprehension processes. The overall aim of this study was to investigate the utility of the Simple View of Reading in a cohort of Irish children attending schools designated as socially disadvantaged. The objectives were twofold. The first objective was to investigate predictors of reading accuracy, spelling and reading comprehension skills in this sample. The second objective was to investigate whether or not these predictors varied with age. The sample comprised fifty-nine children attending two schools. Inclusion criteria were: children between the ages of 5-8 years; a sample of children within three ranges of reading abilities as rated by their teachers (teachers were asked to rate the children’s reading ability as above average, average or below average); and a minimum score of 80 on the British Picture Vocabulary Scales (BPVS) (Dunn et al., 1997) to be included. Reading accuracy (single word reading and passage reading), reading comprehension, and spelling were measured using three standardised tests i.e., Weschler Individual Attainment Test 11UK, Teachers Version (WIAT, 11UK-T) (Weschler, 2006), the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC) (Snowling et al., 2009), and the Single Word Spelling Test (SWST), (Sacre & Masterson, 2000). Potential predictors of literacy skills, such as phonemic awareness and phonic knowledge skills, were measured using criterion-referenced tests. Vocabulary was also a potential predictor and was measured using the BPVS. There was mixed evidence for the Simple View of Reading. While phonic knowledge, phonemic knowledge and non-word reading were predictors of reading, other factors such as vocabulary were also predictors. Although vocabulary was a predictor of reading comprehension for the total sample, the picture was less clear when the effect of age was explored. To conclude, there was mixed evidence to support the Simple View of Reading.  Nonetheless, the findings were encouraging in that children were acquiring literacy skills.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v1i1.107


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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