Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Faculty of Science
The present studies advance current understanding of the skills and processes involved in multilingual reading, especially in less researched alphabetic languages. These studies examined whether the dominant models in reading in English can explain the reading processes involved among low-income multilingual speakers of Kapampangan (L1), Filipino (L2), and English (L3) in the Philippines, a developing country. Kapampangan and Filipino use the same Roman alphabet that English uses. However, these two languages have transparent orthographies while English has an opaque orthography.
Study 1 examined the psycholinguistic grain size theory within the context of multilingual reading. There were three hundred twenty-six children aged 8 to 15 years old who were individually tested on phonological awareness (PA), vocabulary, and word reading fluency in their three languages (Kapampangan, Filipino, and English), as well as on non-verbal intelligence and rapid automatized naming (RAN). It was hypothesized that 1) phonological awareness would be related to word reading fluency in each language (no matter the transparency/depth of its orthography), and 2) phonological awareness (PA) in the three languages would make unique and shared contributions to word reading fluency in each language. As expected, hierarchical regression analyses showed that PA was significantly related to word reading fluency in each language. The relationship was stronger in opaque English than in the two transparent local languages. Vocabulary made a significant contribution to English word reading fluency, but not to Kapampangan and Filipino word reading fluency. English PA and vocabulary were related to L1 and L2 word reading fluency as well. RAN was a robust predictor of word reading fluency in the three languages. As predicted, commonality analyses showed that PA in the three languages made unique and shared contributions to word reading fluency in each language. English PA yielded the highest unique contribution to word reading fluency in all languages, larger than the common variance shared by PA in the three languages.
Study 2 examined a modified simple view of reading (SVR) within the context of multilingual reading. There were two hundred twelve children aged 8 to 13 years old who were individually assessed on word reading fluency and vocabulary and group tested on reading comprehension in their three languages (Kapampangan, Filipino, and English). It was hypothesized that 1) word reading fluency (proxy for decoding) and vocabulary (proxy for linguistic comprehension) would make unique contributions to reading comprehension in each language, and 2) the product of word reading fluency and vocabulary would significantly contribute to reading comprehension over and above their own unique contributions. Contrary to expectations, hierarchical regression analyses showed that the predictors contributed unique variance in reading comprehension only in English. Word reading fluency and vocabulary, as well as the product of word reading fluency and vocabulary, significantly predicted reading comprehension even after the other variables were controlled for. Grade level, a control variable, contributed unique variance in reading comprehension in Filipino, over and above the contributions of the other predictors. The findings suggest that a modified SVR is insufficient for understanding reading among multilingual readers in socio-economically and educationally challenging contexts. Aside from cognitive-linguistic factors, ecological factors matter in reading.
Study 3 examined the longitudinal relationship between vocabulary and word reading fluency in multilingual Kapampangan-Filipino-English speakers. There were two hundred children aged 8 to 13 years old who were individually tested on vocabulary and word reading fluency in the three languages across three time points that were six months apart. To determine the nature of this relationship, a three-wave cross-lagged panel analysis was conducted for each language (with rapid automatized naming and phonological awareness as control variables in the first time point). As predicted, the best-fitting model for the data indicated a similar pattern of relations between vocabulary and word reading fluency over time across the three alphabetic languages (though the strength of the associations varied). Results showed a relative weakness in vocabulary, as well as the absence of significant relations to word reading fluency in all three languages. Overall, the autoregressive, concurrent, and cross-lagged relations of vocabulary and word reading fluency suggest a unidirectional relationship from word reading fluency to vocabulary.
Padilla, Portia, "Reading in Kapampangan, Filipino, and English: A Look at Multilingual Children in an Economically Challenging Philippine Community" (2021). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2349.