Article:Oakhilla, J. V. &amp Cainb, K. (2011). “The Precursors of ReadingAbility in Young Readers: Evidence from a Four-Year LongitudinalStudy”, ScientificStudies of Reading16(2), p 91-121.

Purposeof the study

Readingdevelopment and difficulties in young learners have been studiesextensively in the recent past. Studies have highlighted the need todifferentiate between reading comprehension for word recognition inthe study of reading development and difficulties in children. Thisis due to different skills that predict them that have beenextensively studies. However, there is little information aboutskills that can independently predict reading comprehension amonglearners, without considering reading development. This articlereports the findings of a longitudinal study that was “designed toidentify whether different cognitive skills predict variance in wordreading and reading comprehension in children between the ages of 7to 8 and 10 to 11, with a focus on discourse skills that fostercomprehension”. The study also looks at the relationship betweenreading comprehension and skills such “phonological skills,vocabulary, grammar, and specific discourse skills” (Oakhilla &ampCainb, 2011).


Thesample consisted of one hundred and two English speaking childrenaged between six and seven years in UK year 3 at Time 1. There weresixty three girls and forty nine boys from middle to classneighborhood in south England. The children were tested in year 3,year 4 and year 6. For some reasons, the number of children reducedprogressively before the end of the study. Children with very poorreading skills, extremely good reading skills, non English speakersand children with disabilities were excluded from the study (Oakhilla&amp Cainb, 2011).


Renownedmethods of assessment were used in the longitudinal study. To accessthe reading abilities, the participants were required to complete the“Neale Analysis of Reading Ability Revised”. This test measuresthe accuracy of reading, reading rate and reading comprehension. The“British Vocabulary Scale” was used to access the reception ofthe vocabulary, while written vocabulary skills were measured using“Gates-MacGinitie Vocabulary subset”. Other tests includephonological awareness tests, working memory tests, Test forreception of grammar to access grammatical knowledge, and generalintellectual ability. Comprehension skills tested include “textintegration and inferential processing, comprehension monitoring, andknowledge and use of story structure” (Oakhilla &amp Cainb, 2011).

Durationof the study

Thelongitudinal study lasted for three years. The children were testedat Time 1 (UK Year 3), Time 2 (UK Year 4) and Time 3 (UK year 6).Results

Thefindings of the study indicates that the “prediction of readingcomprehension and word reading between 7 and 11 years revealed thatdifferent skills and aspect of knowledge predict each”. Forexample, inference skills at early stages predicted performance incomprehension skills in later assessment. Better inference skillspredicted better reading comprehension in later stages of the test,but do not predict reading accuracy. Reading accuracy was alsopredicted by a different skill and was found to be independent ofearlier reading skills (Oakhilla &amp Cainb, 2011).


Thisstudy has significant contribution to language learning and teachingamong young learners. It emphasized the need to measure and analyzesthe different factors that affect language learning and proficiencyseparately. Identification of skills that predict readingcomprehension can be used to enhance the particular skills ratherthat addressing language ability from a general approach. Forexample, the “strong relation between knowledge and use of storystructure and later reading comprehension” can be used to enhancereading skills among learners (Oakhilla &amp Cainb, 2011).


Kendeou,P., van den Broek, P., White, M. &amp Lynch, J. S. (2009).“Predicting reading comprehension in early elementary school: Theindependent contributions of oral language and decoding skills”.Journalof Educational Psychology,101: 765–778.

Oakhilla,J. V. &amp Cainb, K. (2011). “The Precursors of Reading Ability inYoung Readers: Evidence from a Four-Year Longitudinal Study”,ScientificStudies of Reading16(2), p 91-121.