Early literacy and comprehension skills in children learning English as an additional language and monolingual children with language weaknesses

Claudine Anne Bowyer-Crane, Silke Fricke, Blanca Schaefer, Arne Lervag, Charles Hulme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many children learning English as an additional language (EAL) show reading comprehension difficulties despite adequate decoding. However, the relationship between early language and reading comprehension in this group is not fully understood. The language and literacy skills of 80 children learning English from diverse language backgrounds and 80 monolingual English-speaking peers with language weaknesses were assessed at school entry (mean age = 4 years, 7 months) and after two years of schooling in the UK (mean age = 6 years, 3 months). The EAL group showed weaker language skills and stronger word reading than the monolingual group but no difference in reading comprehension. Individual differences in reading comprehension were predicted by variations in decoding and language comprehension in both groups to a similar degree.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-790
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Early online date8 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2016.


  • EAL
  • Oral language
  • Reading comprehension
  • Word reading

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