Reading is an Indispensable Constituent of Academic Learning

Research background

Reading is an indispensable constituent of academic learning, as well as a foundation for becoming an informed member of the broader community. Learning to read has become critical to the individual’s well-being. Zeffiro and Eden (2000) has noticed that that understanding an essential condition for subsequent achievement, inability to achieve reading competency affects acquisition of other foundational cognitive skills.

Most developmental phase models, begin the purchase of reading with a visual stage followed by a linguistic stage. However, the models are different in the way the stages of reading development are sequenced. The models also differ in descriptions of the characteristic behavior of children during particular stages, with the most striking difference regarding when (how early) and how children begin to rely on phonological information in learning to recognize words (Ehri, 2005; Treiman& Kessler, 2007). When children start learning to read, they use a visual approach and form entirely arbitrary connections between printed words and their pronunciation; then they begin to perceive and understand how letters of printed words map onto sounds in a systematic way. As reading skill develops, children consolidate the knowledge of letter-sound correspondences (alphabetic stage), the application of which becomes progressively more automatic and less effortful. Finally, the orthographic representations become fully specified (the orthographic stage). Models of reading development will be present in the next chapter


Also, a standard level of metalinguistic speech is fundamental in reading and spelling as well. However, metalinguistic speech is different from phonological processing. Phonological processing is the potential to hear, see or break down a word into discrete sounds as well as relate each one of them with the letter that builds a name. Phonological processing has the core role for analyzing and manipulating the sound structures of the phrase. This field has many researchers such as; Bradley & Bryant. (1983), Castles & Coltheart, Cunningham &Feeman. (2004), Fox & Routh. (1976), Liberman, Shankweiler&Liberman. (1989), Mann &Liberman. (1984) Stanovich,

(1984) Wagner &Torgeson. (1987) and Yopp. (1988). they found the connection of phonological processing expertise to the instigation of reading beyond reasonable doubt. Fundamental phonological competence is reliable predictors of future reading success. However, phonological processing itself also involves a large spectrum of artistry. This involvement leads many researchers to regard it as composed of three independent constructs. These constructs are; phonological awareness (generally deals with recognition and manipulation of units of sound), phonological working memory (deals with storage of units of sound), and rapid phonological access that deals with the speed of processing of and access to sound units). According to Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J. K., Laughon, P., Simmons, K., & Rashotte, C. A. (1993), each of these three skills has contributed to a unique variance to personal differences that emerge in reading, betraying unique and distinct underlying skills.

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As most of the researchers (e.g. Wagner, et l 1993; Ramus,2003; Nelson, etc.,2012) agree to that the skills of phonological processing are fundamental in developing reading as well as a deficit in phonological processing is leading to reading difficulties. Also, Vellutino. (1979) And Snowling, (2000) have strongly founded the idea that in developmental dyslexia, a phonological plays a significant causal role. The phonological dyslexia theory means that this disorder results from a specific impairment of phonological representations and processes. The definition of dyslexia and principles of developmental have comprehensive discussions in the following chapter.

Wolf and her workmates came up with a proposal; the premise of the second deficit (Wolf, 1997; Wolf & Bowers, 1999). This motion was to help them comprehend the differentiation between phonological processes that are implicit and those that are explicit. As stated by this premise, phonological deficits are separable, the procedure from the naming speed underlying. (Wolf & Bowers, 1999, p. 416). Collective study for the past twenty years have some general findings. They show that dyslexia and naming- speed deficits were common in children with difficulties in reading (Bowers, Steffy, & Tate, 1988; McBride-Chang & Manis, 1996; Moll, Hulme, Nag, &Snowling, 2013; Wood & Felton, 1994). The repeating of the naming speed as well as phonological deficits causes severe difficulties in reading.

Reading among monolinguals has been widely studied (Frost, 1994). This extensive study was partly the result of the general belief that reading processes operate by universal skills and underlying core processes. However, more studies on reading in different languages and various orthographic have shown that the writing system of a language impacts upon how literacy learning develops (Taylor, 1998). The continued debate about the literacy processes underlying different alphabetic languages has emphasized the view that differences in the relationship between phonology and orthography can lead to differences in developmental processes in literacy. (Gough, Ehri, and Treiman, 1992).

The relationship between how the student learns their first language and how they learn their second language (L2) has concerned second language acquisition. Cummins (1981) argues that in L1 a learner comprehends reading and writing prowess and general academic skills that he automatically transfers to L2. Transfer of phonological skills from L1 to L2 will be present in the following chapter.

Now moving on Dyslexia and bilingualism, much of the known facts about nature, English is the only source of grounds for developmental dyslexia. Due to new development of the cross-linguistic study, researchers around the world sought to comprehend the nature of dyslexia in different languages. By so doing the researchers will come up with an accurate conclusion on various languages and cultures (Goswami, 2000; Goulandris, 2003; Smythe&Everatt, 2004; Zeigler &Goswami, 2005). Studies by Brezntiz (2003), Miller, Guron& Lundberg (2004), and Veii and Everatt (2005) insist on intensity as well as the effect that orthography has on literacy. Snowling (2000) suggest that the relationship between the sounds and symbols otherwise referred to as phoneme-grapheme relationship, causes a challenge to the readers since it affects the different systems if writing. (Wimmer, 1993). Arabic, however, differs in that it is transparent depending on various types as well as the level of literature. Discussion of the language and how dyslexia look like in Arabic is in the literature review

It is important to create a diagnostic assessment in Arabic, but before doing so, it is important to establish how reading and reading-related skills differ in Arabic compared to an explicit language like English. One method to create a diagnostic assessment is to examine children who speak both languages, Arabic and English, and compare their performance in both languages.

The rationale for the choice of the thesis topic:

My interest in carrying out the research is mainly due to my experience with diagnosing dyslexia in the Arabic language. Dyslexia in languages other than English has been relatively limited, it is now growing, and people from various countries are now collaborating in research. A cross-linguistic dyslexia research and in different orthographic is necessary to explain how to establish the nature of the condition in different orthographies. I believe that to comprehend dyslexia’s origin and invent instruments and ways for identification and therapy; one needs to understand the procedures necessary for the underlying learning activities involved in this mapping operations. It is essential to start with focusing on reading skills in English language and compare it with Arabic which has rare dyslexia cases. Currently, there are no ways to identify and assess any diagnosis for dyslexia in Arabic. Available empirical research on developmental dyslexia in English and other alphabetic scripts in addition to advances in educational research and practice in the development country will provide a platform from which the current study progress to discover how dyslexia manifests itself in bilingual (Arabic/English) learners.

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The research aims

  • Explore reading skills in Arabic-English bilingual students
  • Identify how reading and reading-related skills may be different in bilingual dyslexic and non-dyslexic children learners.
  • The aims mentioned earlier are possible via measuring word reading accuracy, fluency and phonological ability of bilingual (Arabic/English) children

The Research questions:

  • How reading and reading-related skills may be different between children learners with dyslexia as well as those that lack the condition.
  • How reading-related and reading skills may be different within dyslexics between Arabic and English language.
  • Do phonological processing, reading accuracy and speed predict word recognition ability in bilingual students?

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