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Reading ability and diglossia in Kuwaiti primary schools

Ali, Sumaya Nader (2014) Reading ability and diglossia in Kuwaiti primary schools. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This project investigated the relationship between children‘s reading ability and their phonological awareness, phonological short term memory and visual short term memory in a diglossic setting. The study was conducted in Kuwait where children grow up speaking a Kuwaiti local form of the Arabic language. This form of Arabic is linguistically distinct from the literate Arabic. The children also deal with another type of words, which are Kuwaiti shared words. The effect of these different types of Arabic words on children‘s reading ability and phonological sensitivity was investigated. Four measures were administered in both studies; single word reading ability, phonological deletion, phonological short term memory and visual short term memory. Two studies were conducted; a cross-sectional study and a longitudinal study using four measures. In the cross-sectional study, forty-nine 6 year-old students participated. Results indicated that all predictor measures, phonological awareness, phonological short term memory and visual short term memory, correlated with reading ability. But regression analysis showed that only children‘s phonological awareness uniquely predicted reading ability when controlling for age and Verbal IQ. Anova showed that there was also a significant effect of word type on children‘s reading ability but not their phonological awareness. So children found it easier to read the modern standard Arabic and shared words than the local dialect words. In the longitudinal study, all tasks were administered to participants three times; 85 children at the beginning of first grade, 81 children at the end of first grade, and 78 children at the start of second grade. All participants‘ reading abilities and both phonological and visual short term memory improved over time. Phonological awareness still uniquely predicted reading ability when controlling for age and Verbal IQ across all the time points. But there was a change in how word types affected phonological awareness. Very few studies have investigated reading ability in Arabic. This project helps further understanding about the unique contribution of the different cognitive skills towards reading ability. Also, it improves the awareness of Arabic children‘s needs and complications in acquiring a successful Arabic reading in a diglossic setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-939-5
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Psychological Sciences (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.724379
Depositing User: Leeds CMS
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2017 08:45
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7457

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