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Decoding and reading comprehension: a meta-analysis to identify which reader and assessment characteristics influence the strength of the relationship in English

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Review of Educational Research
Number of pages38
Early online date19/09/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The twofold purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the relative importance of decoding skills to reading comprehension in reading development and to identify which reader characteristics and reading assessment characteristics contribute to differences in the decoding and reading comprehension correlation. A meta-analysis of 110 studies found a sizeable average corrected correlation (rc = .74). Two reader characteristics (age and listening comprehension level) were significant moderators of the relationship. Several assessment characteristics were significant moderators, particularly for young readers: the way that decoding was measured and, with respect to the reading comprehension assessment, text genre, whether or not help was provided with decoding, and whether or not the texts were read aloud. Age and measure of decoding arose as the strongest moderators. We discuss the implications for assessment and the diagnosis of reading difficulties.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Review of Educational Research, 84 (1), 2014, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2014 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Review of Educational Research page: http://rer.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/