This study explores factors influencing the degree to which language minority (LM) children from Spanish-dominant homes understand how connectives, such as in contrast and because, signal relationships between text propositions. Standardized tasks of vocabulary, listening comprehension, word reading, and a researcher-designed text cohesion task were administered to 90 fourth-grade LM students. Understanding of connectives was influenced by vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension. The degree of challenge that specific connectives posed to LM students was predicted by the difficulty that connectives presented as vocabulary items and also by the type of semantic relationship between clauses they signaled. The findings point to factors that may present sources of difficulty underlying reading comprehension, in particular the critical role of oral language competencies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language