Cognitive predictors of word reading in Sinhala

M. A. D. K. Wijaythilake, R. Parrila*, Tomohiro Inoue, Sonali Nag

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    10 Downloads (Pure)


    We examined whether akshara knowledge, phonological awareness, phonological memory, and RAN predict variability in word and nonword reading skills in Grade 1–4 children (N = 200) learning to read Sinhala. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that akshara knowledge had the strongest unique association with both word and nonword reading accuracy across grades. Akshara knowledge and RAN predicted word and nonword reading fluency. The impact of phonological memory and syllable awareness on reading was mostly mediated by akshara knowledge, and phoneme awareness was not uniquely associated with word reading skills in any grade. These results suggest that there are multiple cognitive correlates of accurate and fluent word reading in Sinhala, and akshara knowledge is the most important predictor of learning to read words. The findings have implications for the literacy acquisition, development, and instruction in alphasyllabaries.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1881-1907
    Number of pages27
    JournalReading and Writing
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


    • word reading
    • reading acquisition
    • alphasyllabaries
    • akshara knowledge
    • phonological awareness
    • rapid naming
    • phonological memory


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