The Open UniversitySkip to content

Using Spelling to Screen Bilingual Kindergarteners At Risk for Reading Difficulties

Chua, Shi Min; Rickard Liow, Susan J. and Yeong, Stephanie H. M. (2016). Using Spelling to Screen Bilingual Kindergarteners At Risk for Reading Difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(3) pp. 227–239.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


For bilingual children, the results of language and literacy screening tools are often hard to interpret. This leads to late referral for specialized assessment or inappropriate interventions. To facilitate the early identification of reading difficulties in English, we developed a method of screening that is theory-driven yet suitable for first-language (L1) and second-language learners of English. We administered five conventional tests (phonological awareness, vocabulary, Wide Range Achievement Test–4 [WRAT-4] spelling, letter identification, rapid naming of digits) to 127 five-year-olds (60 English-L1, 67 Mandarin-L1) about 6 months after they started kindergarten, and used the WRAT-4 word reading score 6 months later as the outcome measure. Consistent with previous research, and with children with reading disabilities defined as below the 25 percentile on the reading outcome, logistic regression revealed that the full set of screening measures predicted reading disability status. However, when each predictor was taken as a single measure, spelling scores provided the best fit in terms of the compromise between sensitivity (.75) and specificity (.73) for an optimal cutoff point. Based on this exploratory study, group-administered spelling tasks could provide an efficient solution to screening difficulties in large classes of bilingual children.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 Hammill Institute on Disabilities
ISSN: 1538-4780
Keywords: RTI; second language learners; ESL bilinguals; reading disability
Academic Unit/School: Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI)
Item ID: 48256
Depositing User: Shi-Min Chua
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2017 14:31
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:47
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU