Beginning to read across languages varying in orthographic consistency

comparing the effects of non-cognitive and cognitive predictors

George Manolitsis*, George Georgiou, Kathy Stephenson, Rauno Parrila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)


We examined whether the effect that different non-cognitive and cognitive factors have on reading acquisition varies as a function of orthographic consistency. Canadian (n = 77) and Greek (n = 95) children attending kindergarten were examined on general cognitive ability, phonological sensitivity, and letter knowledge. The parents of the children responded to a questionnaire on home literacy activities and the teachers reported on children's task-focused behaviour. In Grades 1 and 2 the children's word decoding and reading fluency were assessed. Results indicated that direct teaching of letter names and sounds at home was associated with better letter knowledge in both languages. Task-focused behaviour and letter knowledge in kindergarten predicted significantly nonword decoding in Grade 1, but their effect was stronger in English than in Greek. This pattern was not replicated for reading fluency in Grade 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-480
Number of pages15
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • home literacy environment
  • task-focused behaviour
  • emergent literacy
  • reading development
  • cross-linguistic comparison

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