First Advisor

Wayne Wakeland

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




Literacy -- Study and teaching (Early childhood), Reading (Early childhood) -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 85 p.) : col. ill.


This research considers the predictive utility of 10 decoding skills on a student's ability to read. The 10 skills are Consonant Blends/Digraphs, Decode Multi-Syllable Words, Decode Patterns/Word Families, Letter Identification, Manipulation of Sounds, Matching Letters to Sounds, Phoneme Identification, Phonological Awareness, Syllable Types: CVC, CVCe, R-Control, and Vowel Digraphs/Diphthongs. The research also examines the nature of the relationships between the decoding skills and reading ability. Furthermore, the research decomposes reading ability into segment 1 assessing decoding, and segment 2, assessing comprehension. Specifically, the study assesses the manner in which each of the 10 skills contributes to the variance in the two segment scores. The literature is limited to efficacy studies related to programs used to teach reading, and prior studies addressing skills have failed to extend examination beyond correlations between phonological and phonemic awareness, and a student's ability to read. These issues were examined in the present research using assessment records of 541 kindergarten, first, and second grade students who had each been administered the 10 aforementioned decoding skills tests as well as a reading assessment administered in two parts (decoding and comprehension). All records reflected assessments occurring within the same school year for each student assessed. The dependent variables are scaled scores with a valid range from 100 to 350 and represent the combined reading score plus each of the two segment scores. Multiple regression analysis was employed to consider the predictive utility and examine the correlations between the variables. Hierarchical regression was employed to further scrutinize the variance accounted for by each decoding skill. As a group, the 10 decoding skills indicated that students scoring higher overall on decoding also scored higher on overall reading ability, segment 1, and segment 2 (p < .001). However, the coefficient of variation indicates the grouped decoding skills may not be useful for prediction purposes for the segment 1 assessment (CV = .103). Correlations between all independent variables and the dependent variables were moderate to high (.617 to .880), with the exception of Letter Identification and Matching Letters to Sounds which were low to moderate (.248 to .500). The correlation between Letter Identification and Matching Letters to Sounds was moderate (.579). Post hoc analysis indicated the inclusion of Letter Identification and Matching Letters to Sounds did not account for any statistically significant additional variance in the combined reading score (p = .459), the segment 1 score (p = .261), nor in the segment 2 score (p =.749). By itself decoding does not sufficiently predict reading ability. This study brings to light the nature of the relationship between discrete decoding skills and reading ability for early learners. The research identifies additional information for consideration by educators providing early literacy instruction which may help them zero in on difficulties students may be having as they advance in their literacy.


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Portland State University. Systems Science Graduate Program

Persistent Identifier