Previous studies have shown that phoneme awareness, letter-sound knowledge, rapid automatized naming (RAN), and verbal memory span are reliable correlates of learning to read in English. However, the extent to which these different predictors have the same relative importance in different languages remains uncertain. In this article, we present the results from a 10-month longitudinal study that began just before or soon after the start of formal literacy instruction in four languages (English, Spanish, Slovak, and Czech). Longitudinal path analyses showed that phoneme awareness, letter-sound knowledge, and RAN (but not verbal memory span) measured at the onset of literacy instruction were reliable predictors, with similar relative importance, of later reading and spelling skills across the four languages. These data support the suggestion that in all alphabetic orthographies, phoneme awareness, letter-sound knowledge, and RAN may tap cognitive processes that are important for learning to read.
- educational psychology