Date of Award

Fall 10-20-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Ramona Matthews, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gary Bingham, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Alice Dyson, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Laura May, Ph.D.


ABSTRACT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND READING IN BILINGUAL ENGLISH-ARABIC CHILDREN by Lama K. Farran This dissertation examined the relationship between language and reading in bilingual English-Arabic children. The dissertation followed a two chapter Review and Research Format. Chapter One presents a review of research that examined the relationship between oral language and reading development in bilingual English-Arabic children. Chapter Two describes the study that examined this same relationship. Participants were 83 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children who attended a charter school in a large school district in the Southeastern portion of the US. The school taught Arabic as a second language daily in the primary and elementary grades. This cross-sectional quantitative study used norm-referenced assessments and experimental measures. Data were analyzed using simultaneous and hierarchical regression to identify language predictors of reading. Analysis of covariance was used to examine whether the language groups differed in their Arabic reading comprehension scores, while controlling for age. Results indicated that phonological awareness in Arabic was related to phonological awareness in English. However, morphological awareness in Arabic was not related to morphological awareness in English. Results also revealed that phonological awareness predicted word reading, pseudoword decoding, and complex word reading fluency within Arabic and English; morphological awareness predicted complex word reading fluency in Arabic but not in English; and vocabulary predicted reading comprehension within Arabic and English. Further analyses indicated that children with high vocabulary differed from children with low vocabulary in their reading comprehension scores and that this difference was driven by children’s ability to read unvowelized words. Consistent with the extended version of the Triangle Model of Reading (Bishop & Snowling, 2004), the results suggest a division of labor among various language components in the process of word reading and reading comprehension. Implications for research, instruction, and early intervention with bilingual English-Arabic children are discussed.