The authors examined the development of oral language and decoding skills from preschool to early elementary school and their relation to beginning reading comprehension using a cross-sequential design. Four- and 6-year-old children were tested on oral language and decoding skills and were retested 2 years later. In all age groups, oral language and decoding skills formed distinct clusters. The 2 clusters were related to each other in preschool, but this relation became weaker in kindergarten and 2nd grade. Structural equation modeling showed that both sets of skills in 2nd grade independently predicted a child's reading comprehension. These findings confirm and extend the view that the 2 clusters of skills develop early in a child's life and contribute to reading comprehension activities in early elementary school, with each cluster making a considerable, unique contribution.
- oral language
- reading comprehension