Examining the Simple View of Reading among Subgroups of Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners
The Simple View of Reading (SVR; Gough & Tunmer, 1986; Hoover & Gough, 1990) has a longstanding history as a model of reading comprehension, but it has mostly been applied to native English speakers. The SVR posits reading comprehension is a function of the interaction between word-level reading skills and oral language skills. It has been useful in identifying subgroups of English monolinguals characterized by difficulties in word-level reading, oral language comprehension, or both (e.g. Catts, Adlof, & Weismer, 2006). However, applications investigating heterogeneous subgroups in samples of non-native English speakers are lacking. This study uses the SVR as a framework to explicitly model heterogeneity within a group of Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELLs). First, using latent profile analysis, this study empirically identified subgroups of ELLs based on reading and language skills in both Spanish and English. Three subgroups were identified, two based on relative language proficiency in Spanish and English. The first subgroup demonstrated the highest achievement across all measures, but was also characterized by relative strengths in Spanish compared to English. The second subgroup performed at the average level across most measures, but was also characterized by relative strengths in English compared to Spanish. The third group performed the lowest and did not show demonstrate substantial relative strengths in either language. Second, a regression mixture model was conducted to examine whether the SVR functioned differently across subgroups. Results demonstrated the predictive relationships posited in the SVR were moderated by membership in the subgroups and that Spanish-speaking ELLs should not be treated as a homogenous population in terms of reading comprehension and its component skills. This study is one of the first to treat Spanish-speaking ELLs as a heterogeneous group and sheds light on conflicting results found in previous research. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.