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CLARIFYING LINGUISTIC COMPREHENSION IN THE SIMPLE VIEW OF READING: THE INFLUENCE OF WORD-, SENTENCE-, AND DISCOURSE-LEVEL LINGUISTIC SKILLS ON READING COMPREHENSION
Silverman, Rebecca D.
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There are a high number of students who struggle with reading comprehension beyond the primary grades and understanding the skills involved in successful reading comprehension continues to be a topic of investigation. The Simple View of Reading (SVR) is a viable theory of reading that suggests reading comprehension results from developing skills in the areas of decoding and linguistic comprehension. This study examined the role of linguistic comprehension in reading comprehension within the SVR framework concurrently and over time in a sample of fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students. I organized linguistic comprehension into word-, sentence-, and discourse-level skills. Linguistic comprehension is poorly defined in the extant literature and although results consistently support a relationship between linguistic and reading comprehension, no inference can be made regarding which specific linguistic comprehension skills are most influential in reading comprehension, concurrently or longitudinally. Through the use of hierarchical regression, results suggest that there are differential effects of the linguistic comprehension variable(s) on reading comprehension at all grades. Namely, word-level linguistic skills were significant positive predictors of reading comprehension at all grades. Similarly, discourse-level linguistic skills significantly predicted fourth- and fifth-grade, though not sixth-grade reading comprehension. Finally, sentence-level linguistic skills did not emerge as significant predictors of reading comprehension at any grade. Additional hierarchical regression analyses revealed that over time the influence of linguistic comprehension on reading comprehension was stable from fourth to sixth grade. These results are discussed in light of the limitations of the study and areas of future research are suggested.