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Predicting English Word Reading Skills for Spanish-Speaking Students in First Grade

Páez, Mariela; Rinaldi, Claudia

Section II: Literacy

This article describes the word reading skills in English and Spanish for a sample of 244 Spanish-speaking, English-learning (hence, bilingual) students in first grade and presents a predictive model for English word reading skills. The children in the study were assessed at the end of kindergarten and first grade, respectively. Data were gathered with 3 subtests of the Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery and a researcher-developed phonological awareness task. Results showed that, on average, children's English word reading skills were similar to monolingual norms whereas their Spanish word reading skills averaged 1 SD below the mean. English vocabulary, English phonological awareness, and Spanish word reading skills in kindergarten were found to be significant predictors of English word reading skills in first grade. Educational implications for screening language and reading skills and promising areas for targeted instruction for this population are discussed.

Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Corresponding author: Mariela Páez, Campion Hall 126, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (e-mail:

This study is a subproject of a program project titled “Acquiring Literacy in English” directed by the Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC. The program project is funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development and the Office for Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education (Grant No. P01 HD39530).

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins