The Simple View of Reading (SVR) model posits that reading is the product of word decoding and language comprehension and that oral language (listening) comprehension is the best predictor of reading comprehension once word-decoding skill has been established. The SVR model also proposes that there are good readers and three types of poor readers—dyslexic, hyperlexic, and garden variety. In this study, a random sample of US high school monolingual English speakers completing first-, second-, and third-year Spanish courses were administered standardized measures of Spanish word decoding, reading, listening comprehension, and vocabulary and then classified according to SVR reader types. Findings showed that regardless of reader type, most students exhibited good word decoding but poor reading and listening comprehension skills even when compared to young native Spanish speakers. There were strong and significant correlations between Spanish reading comprehension, Spanish listening comprehension, and Spanish vocabulary. Path analyses showed that listening comprehension was the strongest predictor of reading comprehension but vocabulary contributed independent variance to Spanish reading ability. Findings indicate that Spanish reading comprehension is hard for US learners primarily because their Spanish oral language comprehension skills are very weak.


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pp. 183-210
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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