Assessing phonological processing abilities for the prediction of future reading skills: a meta-analysis
This study evaluated three phonological processing abilities - phonological awareness, phonological coding in working memory, and phonological coding in lexical access - to predict future reading skills, using meta-analysis. Two research questions were addressed: (1) Which of the three phonological processing abilities contributes more to the prediction of risk for reading failure? (2) Are the different phonological processing abilities related independently to reading? A total of 33 longitudinal correlational studies (23 published studies and 10 unpublished studies) were included in the meta-analysis. Results confirmed the strong relation between phonological processing abilities and reading skills and showed that of the three phonological processing abilities, phonological awareness was the better predictor of word decoding and phonological coding in lexical access was the better predictor of reading comprehension. Results of a path analysis indicated that the three phonological processing abilities were independently related to two kinds of reading skill (i.e., word decoding and reading comprehension) with nonzero path coefficients. These results suggest that each phonological processing ability can contribute to the prediction of future reading skills, and each may provide a possible intervention strategy for young children with reading disabilities.