Role of gender and linguistic diversity in word decoding development
SourceLearning and Individual Differences, 21, 4, (2011), pp. 359-367
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
SW OZ BSI BO
Learning and Individual Differences
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of gender and linguistic diversity in the growth of Dutch word decoding skills throughout elementary school for a representative sample of children living in the Netherlands. Following a longitudinal design, the children's decoding abilities for (1) regular CVC words, (2) complex monosyllabic words with consonant clusters in prevocalic and postvocalic position, and (3) polysyllabic words were assessed on two occasions during every grade. The results showed substantial growth across grade for all of the word decoding measures. Growth curve analyses showed a quadratic rather than a linear growth curve to optimally model the children's word decoding development. Small but significant effects of gender and linguistic diversity were observed: Girls generally did better than boys — mainly on the regular CVC word patterns. And children learning to read in Dutch as a first language generally did better than children learning to read Dutch as a second language — mainly on polysyllabic words. From a structural point of view, the development of word decoding in the different subgroups turned out to be highly comparable. Irrespective of gender and linguistic diversity, the three measures of word decoding strongly intercorrelated but also showed some unique variance. Moreover, a high degree of autoregression applied to the children's word decoding development over the school grades.
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