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. Mar/Apr 2018;51(2):194-208.
doi: 10.1177/0022219417704168. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

How Many U.S. High School Students Have a Foreign Language Reading "Disability"? Reading Without Meaning and the Simple View

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How Many U.S. High School Students Have a Foreign Language Reading "Disability"? Reading Without Meaning and the Simple View

Richard L Sparks et al. J Learn Disabil. .

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that students classified as learning disabled will exhibit difficulties with foreign language (FL) learning, but evidence has not supported a relationship between FL learning problems and learning disabilities. The simple view of reading model posits that reading comprehension is the product of word decoding and language comprehension and that there are good readers and 3 types of poor readers-dyslexic, hyperlexic, and garden variety-who exhibit different profiles of strengths and/or deficits in word decoding and language comprehension. In this study, a random sample of U.S. high school students completing first-, second-, and third-year Spanish courses were administered standardized measures of Spanish word decoding and reading comprehension, compared with monolingual Spanish readers from first to eleventh grades, and classified into reader types according to the simple view of reading. The majority of students fit the hyperlexic profile, and no participants fit the good reader profile until they were compared with first- and second-grade monolingual Spanish readers. Findings call into question the practice of diagnosing an FL "disability" before a student engages in FL study.

Keywords: FL reading; FL reading comprehension; foreign language reading; simple view of reading (SVR).

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