Reading skill components and impairments in middle school struggling readers


This study investigated how measures of decoding, fluency, and comprehension in middle school students overlap with one another, whether the pattern of overlap differs between struggling and typical readers, and the relative frequency of different types of reading difficulties. The 1,748 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students were oversampled for struggling readers (n = 1,025) on the basis of the state reading comprehension proficiency measure. Multigroup confirmatory factor analyses showed partial invariance among struggling and typical readers (with differential loadings for fluency and for comprehension), and strict invariance for decoding and a combined fluency/comprehension factor. Among these struggling readers, most (85 %) also had weaknesses on nationally standardized measures, particularly in comprehension; however, most of these also had difficulties in decoding or fluency. These results show that the number of students with a specific comprehension problem is lower than recent consensus reports estimate and that the relation of different reading components varies according to struggling versus proficient readers.



Reading components, Struggling readers, Middle school, Multigroup confirmatory factor analyses


Copyright 2013 Reading and Writing. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Cirino, Paul T., Melissa A. Romain, Amy E. Barth, Tammy D. Tolar, Jack M. Fletcher, and Sharon Vaughn. "Reading Skill Components and Impairments in Middle School Struggling Readers." Reading and Writing 26, no. 7 (2013): 1059-1086. doi: 10.1007/s11145-012-9406-3. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author's permission.