Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Earl Cheek, Jr

Abstract

The present study examined the relationships among short-term memory, working memory, phonological awareness, and reading performance as measured by an informal reading inventory. Relationships between and among the tasks, their predictive importance with regard to word recognition, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension, and their ability to discriminate among groups of readers were investigated. A battery of tests comprising 14 cognitive variables and 24 reading variables was individually administered to 105 fourth and fifth grade normally achieving readers, unidentified unskilled readers, and school identified unskilled readers. Results revealed that working memory, phonological awareness, and syntactic awareness tasks were significantly intercorrelated among themselves, and had significant correlations with the reading tasks. A linear combination of cognitive tasks correctly classified 88% of the original normally achieving group. A second linear combination of the cognitive tasks performed upon the two groups of unskilled readers correctly classified 66% of the original below average group and 57% of the original project read group. The cognitive variables were most effective in predicting word recognition, fluency, and reading grade level. Individual reading measures of word recognition, accuracy, and fluency significantly discriminated between the normally achieving group and the two groups of unskilled readers. Overall comprehension and oral retelling of setting/background significantly discriminated between the project read group and the below average group. A linear combination of cognitive and reading variables correctly classified 94% of the original normally achieving group. A second linear combination of cognitive and reading variables performed on the two groups of unskilled readers correctly classified 74% of the original below average and project read groups. These findings suggest that a combination of cognitive and reading tasks is most effective in discriminating among groups of readers, and that cognitive tasks appear to be effective predictors of reading performance.

ISBN

9780591133332

Pages

140

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