The Contribution of Perceptual, Linguistic, and Cognitive Processing Skills to Early EFL Reading Development

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Volume 6-1 March 2010. | home |

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The Contribution of Perceptual, Linguistic, and Cognitive Processing Skills to Early EFL Reading Development


Mahmood Reza Atai (Ph.D.)

Tehran Tarbiat Moallem University, Iran

Mahbobeh Saberi (M.A.)

Tehran Tarbiat Moallem University, Iran


Bio Data

Mahmood Reza Atai is associate professor of TEFL at Tehran Tarbiat Moallem University. His research interests include ESP, task based language teaching, and teacher education. He has published articles on EAP reading comprehension issues and three

EAP textbooks for Iranian university students.

Mahbobeh Saberi is an EFL instructor. She completed her MA in TEFL at Tarbiat Moallem University, Tehran, Iran. Her research interests are reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction to elementary learners.


This paper reports the results of a study which investigated the underlying traits of word recognition skills and probed their validity as predictors of reading ability. Employing an ex post facto design, we selected 63 female students from a larger sample comprising 260 third grade junior high school students. In addition to a proficiency exam and reading comprehension test batteries, the subjects took a number of tests developed to measure their perceptual, linguistic, and cognitive processing skills. Moreover, to assess their word recognition skills, some word naming tasks were administered to them individually. The results of factor analyses demonstrated that word reading ability consists of four major skills: ‘General Word Analysis’,‘Phonological Processing’, ‘Visual Memory’, and ‘Visual Perception’. Multiple regression analyses revealed that word recognition was the best predictor of general proficiency and that general proficiency and word recognition together accounted for 71% of the variance in reading

comprehension. Finally, implications of the findings for teaching vocabulary and reading to elementary EFL learners are presented.

Key words: Orthographic processing, Phonological awareness, Visual Perception, Word recognition, Working memory

Category: 2010