Adolescent reading skill and engagement with digital and traditional literacies as predictors of reading comprehension

Lynne G. Duncan (Lead / Corresponding author), Sarah P. McGeown, Yvonne M. Griffiths, Susan E. Stothard, Anna Dobai

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    This study investigates the concurrent predictors of adolescent reading comprehension (literal, inferential) for fiction and non-fiction texts. Predictors were examined from the cognitive (word identification, reading fluency), psychological (gender), and ecological (print exposure) domains. Print exposure to traditional and digital texts was surveyed using a diary method of reading habits. A cross-sectional sample of 312 students in early (11–13 years) or middle adolescence (14–15 years) participated from a range of SES backgrounds. Word identification emerged as a strong predictor of reading comprehension across adolescence and text genres. Gender effects favouring female students were evident for reading frequency but not for reading skill itself. Reading habits also differed, and comprehension advantages were observed among females for fiction and males for non-fiction. Age effects emerged for reading frequency, which was lower in middle adolescence. Although more time was spent on digital than on traditional texts, traditional extended text reading was the only reading habit to predict inference-making in comprehension and to distinguish skilled from less skilled comprehenders. The theoretical and educational implications of these results are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)209-238
    Number of pages30
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
    Issue number2
    Early online date12 Jun 2015
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016


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