Reading Skill in Early Adolescence: Student Profiles



The aim of this study was to explore whether homogenous profiles of students could be differentiated based on their comprehension level, reading speed, vocabulary, short-term and working memory spans, and use of reading strategies. One hundred eighty six seventh-graders participated in the study (98 boys and 88 girls). Comprehension was assessed for three short texts, and reading speed for one of these. Students also completed vocabulary test, strategic reading questionnaire and short- -term and working memory tasks. The ability to detect focus words in the sentences and inappropriate sentences in the text was also tested. Cluster analysis yielded four distinct student profiles. The first cluster consists of poor readers who score below the average in all the tasks. The fourth cluster consists of good readers who score above the average in all the tasks, except for average reading speed. The second and the third cluster consist of students of average comprehension, reading speed, vocabulary and efficiency in detecting focus words and inappropriate sentences. The students from the second cluster have significantly smaller short-term and working memory spans than students from the third cluster, but they report more frequent use of reading strategies. These results are in line with theories emphasizing the importance of compensatory strategies in overcoming working memory limitations (Walczyk et al., 2001; 2007).


reading; comprehension; strategies; working memory

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096