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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nouwens, S., Groen, M.A., Kleemans, T. and Verhoeven, L. (2021), How executive functions contribute to reading comprehension. Br J Educ Psychol, 91: 169-192 e12355. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12355 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjep.12355 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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How Executive Functions contribute to Reading Comprehension

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
Volume91
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)169-192
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/05/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Background
Executive functions have been proposed to account for individual variation in reading comprehension beyond the contributions of decoding skills and language skills. However, insight into the direct and indirect effects of multiple executive functions on fifth‐grade reading comprehension, while accounting for decoding and language skills, is limited.

Aim
The present study investigated the direct and indirect effects of fourth‐grade executive functions (i.e., working memory, inhibition, and planning) on fifth‐grade reading comprehension, after accounting for decoding and language skills.

Sample
The sample included 113 fourth‐grade children (including 65 boys and 48 girls; Age M = 9.89; SD = .44 years).

Methods
The participants were tested on their executive functions (working memory, inhibition and planning), and their decoding skills, language skills (vocabulary and syntax knowledge) and reading comprehension, one year later.

Results
Using structural equation modelling, the results indicated direct effects of working memory and planning on reading comprehension, as well as indirect effects of working memory and inhibition via decoding (χ2 = 2.46).

Conclusions
The results of the present study highlight the importance of executive functions for reading comprehension after taking variance in decoding and language skills into account: Both working memory and planning uniquely contributed to reading comprehension. In addition, working memory and inhibition also supported decoding. As a practical implication, educational professionals should not only consider the decoding and language skills children bring into the classroom, but their executive functions as well.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nouwens, S., Groen, M.A., Kleemans, T. and Verhoeven, L. (2021), How executive functions contribute to reading comprehension. Br J Educ Psychol, 91: 169-192 e12355. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12355 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjep.12355 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.