Predicting ELL students' beginning first grade English oral reading fluency from initial kindergarten vocabulary, letter naming, and phonological awareness skills

Yesil-Dagli Ummuhan Ü.

Early Childhood Research Quarterly, vol.26, no.1, pp.15-29, 2011 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.06.001
  • Journal Name: Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.15-29
  • Keywords: English language learners, First grade, Initial sound fluency, Kindergarten, Letter naming fluency, Oral reading fluency, Vocabulary
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: No


The precursors of early English reading success have been widely studied for native English-speaking students, and those findings have been generalized to the English language learner (ELL) student population. However, the development of English language acquisition may be different for ELL students. The purpose of this study was to investigate the predictive role of English letter naming fluency, initial sound fluency, and vocabulary skills at the time of kindergarten entry for first grade English oral reading fluency and to examine the variability in language and literacy skills of ELL students by their demographic characteristics. The data for this study came from the Progress Monitoring and Reporting Network (PMRN), and were collected from Florida's Reading First schools. Letter Naming Fluency, Initial Sound Fluency, and Oral Reading Fluency components of Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test were used as measures. Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to analyze the curvilinear growth of ELL students' first grade oral reading fluency. The results of this study revealed that kindergarten English letter naming fluency was the best predictor and vocabulary skills were the second best predictor of oral reading fluency in the first grade, followed by initial sound fluency. On average, male ELL students compared to female ELL students, ELL students eligible for free or reduced price lunch eligibility (FRPL) compared to those not eligible for FRPL, and Hispanic ELL students compared to White ELL students read fewer words at the beginning of the first grade and showed a slower growth rate. English oral reading fluency scores of Asian ELL students were the highest. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.