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Young Adult literature is a growing genre. This study examined print exposure within Adult fiction, and Children’s and Young Adult fiction in 90 adolescents (Mage = 16.3). Results showed that scores on an Author Recognition Test (ART) containing the names of Children’s and Young Adult fiction authors were positively correlated with adolescents’ general reading and spelling abilities and single-word reading speed. The same pattern was either weaker, or absent, with scores on an ART containing Adult authors names. Furthermore, recognizing Children’s and Young Adult authors predicted performance on the adolescents’ standardized reading and spelling measures, above and beyond recognizing adult authors. Scores on the ART containing Children’s and Young Adult authors also predicted reading speed, even after controlling for general reading and spelling abilities. These findings add to three decades of inquiry into the cognitive correlates of print exposure.
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Reading and Writing
An Interdisciplinary Journal
ISSN 0922-4777
Read Writ
DOI 10.1007/s11145-019-09987-y
Time to read Young Adult fiction: print
exposure and linguistic correlates in
Sandra Martin-Chang, Stephanie Kozak
& Maya Rossi
1 23
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Reading and Writing
1 3
Time toread Young Adult ction: print exposure
andlinguistic correlates inadolescents
SandraMartin‑Chang1 · StephanieKozak1· MayaRossi1
© Springer Nature B.V. 2019
Young Adult literature is a growing genre. This study examined print exposure
within Adult fiction, and Children’s and Young Adult fiction in 90 adolescents
(Mage = 16.3). Results showed that scores on an Author Recognition Test (ART) con-
taining the names of Children’s and Young Adult fiction authors were positively cor-
related with adolescents’ general reading and spelling abilities and single-word read-
ing speed. The same pattern was either weaker, or absent, with scores on an ART
containing Adult authors names. Furthermore, recognizing Children’s and Young
Adult authors predicted performance on the adolescents’ standardized reading and
spelling measures, above and beyond recognizing adult authors. Scores on the ART
containing Children’s and Young Adult authors also predicted reading speed, even
after controlling for general reading and spelling abilities. These findings add to
three decades of inquiry into the cognitive correlates of print exposure.
Keywords Adolescents· Print exposure· Reading skill· Reading speed· Spelling
Literacy is not a dichotomous variable. Rather, a continuum exists with individuals
who are highly proficient on one extreme, and those who are functionally illiterate on
the other. A similar continuum has been noted in leisure reading. Some individuals
are self-proclaimed bibliophiles, while others openly disparage reading for pleasure.
Nowhere is this polarization more apparent than within the teenage population (Mol
& Jolles, 2014). Research has shown that where one falls on the ‘leisure reading spec-
trum’ predicts several other skills (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998; Martin-Chang
& Gould, 2008). For example, print exposure aligns with general knowledge, read-
ing comprehension, vocabulary size, and spelling ability (Cunningham & Stanovich,
* Sandra Martin-Chang
1 Department ofEducation (LB-501-3), Concordia University, 1455 boul. De Maisonneuve West,
Montreal, QCH3G1M8, Canada
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S.Martin-Chang et al.
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1991, 1997; Sparks, Patton, & Murdoch, 2014). Somewhat unexpectedly, reading fic-
tion is more strongly associated with social functioning and vocabulary than reading
non-fiction (Mar, Oately, & Peterson, 2009; Mar & Rain, 2015). Within the cognitive
domain, positive correlations between reading volume and reading speed have been
noted in children (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988; Cipielewski & Stanovich,
1992) and adults (Martin-Chang & Gould, 2008); yet, fewer observations have
included adolescents. Likewise, reading volume and reading speed have not yet been
studied at word level. Therefore, the goals of the present investigation were twofold.
First, we examined links between reading volume and general reading and spelling
skills in adolescents by including a subset of Children’s and Young Adult authors
within the traditional Author Recognition Test (ART; Stanovich & West, 1989). Sec-
ond, we examined the association between reading volume and reading speed using
more fine-grained measurements than have been used previously.
Reading speed
In reading, fluency is characterized by decoding that is quick, accurate, and pro-
sodically correct (Wolf & Katzir-Cohen, 2001). Although single word reading speed
comprises only two of the three main components of fluency (accuracy and speed),
it remains critical; when word recognition is automatic, very few cognitive resources
are required for bottom-up processing, which allows readers to direct the bulk of their
attention towards top-down, meaning-based processes (Perfetti & Lesgold, 1979). In
contrast, when single word reading speed is effortful, the reader’s focus is necessarily
directed towards decoding. This makes it more difficult for the reader to understand,
evaluate, and appreciate the text. In short, reading efficiency at the single word level
seems critical for all higher order reading processes, including reading comprehen-
sion (Torgesen & Hudson, 2006) and, by extension, reading enjoyment.
Reading ability and choosing to read are said to interact in a reciprocally causal
manner: when reading feels easy in the early grades, individuals are inclined to
spend more time reading, and when children continue to read as they get older, read-
ing comprehension becomes easier still (Mol & Bus, 2011; Torppa et al., 2019).
Anderson etal. (1988) tested this notion with 155 elementary school children. They
asked students to record their daily activities outside of school. Perhaps not surpris-
ingly, they found that reading for pleasure was the best predictor of reading growth
over a three-year time span. Of specific interest here, they also found that reading
speed accounted for 8.8% of unique variance in the number of minutes fifth graders
reported reading outside of school.
Cipielewski and Stanovich (1992) conducted a similar study with 63 fourth and
fifth grade students. Rather than using reading diaries, they measured reading vol-
ume with the ART (Stanovich & West, 1989). This checklist contained the names of
popular children’s authors, listed among foils. Scores on the ART acted as a proxy
of how much children read. In line with the notion that fluency and print expo-
sure are linked, Cipielewski and Stanovich observed a moderate positive correla-
tion between how fast children read passages and how many children’s authors they
could recognize.
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
This pattern was replicated with 171 undergraduate students (Martin-Chang &
Gould, 2008). Martin-Chang and Gould noted that the classic ART could potentially
be influenced by both personal reading experience and general memory ability. The
authors investigated whether comprehension, vocabulary, and reading speed were
more closely tied to personal reading experience or to knowledge about authors
garnered through sources other than reading (e.g., remembering current events or
remembering the preferred authors of family and friends). The results showed that,
although both types of print exposure were related to vocabulary and comprehen-
sion, in each case, the correlations with personal reading experience were signifi-
cantly stronger than those associated with general memory for authors. Furthermore,
personal reading experience was the only variable associated with reading fluency,
accounting for 17% of unique variance in reading speed. Thus, it appears that read-
ing experience and passage reading fluency share unique patterns of associations not
observed with other cognitive variables.
Choi, Lowder, Ferreira, and Henderson (2015) took a slightly different approach
for measuring reading speed and print exposure. They asked 70 undergraduate par-
ticipants to read paragraphs of connected text while using a gaze-contingent mov-
ing-window technique that systematically varied how much text the participants
could view at one time. They found that performance on the ART was associated
with shorter fixation durations, larger saccadic movements, and more words read per
minute. In other words, those who showed more experience with print, as measure
by the ART, seemed to scan texts in larger windows resulting in reading skills that
were more efficient.
Mano and Guerin (2018) asked 52 undergraduate students to read as many sen-
tences as possible within a 3-min time span and to determine if the sentences were
true or false. The results showed that students’ ART scores were positively corre-
lated with the number of sentences they could read, as well as the number of non-
words and real words they could read within a 1-min period. Interestingly, when the
authors employed mediation analyses, they noted both the significant direct effect of
print exposure on silent reading fluency, and an indirect effect of print exposure on
silent reading fluency via real word reading. Mano and Guerin elected to have the
fluency task completed silently, as they argued that silent reading offered a natural-
istic setting under which to study reading speed. The addition of a manual response
to check reading comprehension ensured that the sentences were being read and
understood somewhat accurately, however verifying the accuracy of the statements
required additional cognitive resources that are not typically necessary for fluent
The literature reviewed thus far has either investigated young participants in
elementary schools, or adults in universities. The adolescent population has been
comparatively understudied, both in regard to print exposure as a whole and reading
speed specifically. One notable exception comes from the work done by McGeown,
Duncan, Griffiths, and Stothard (2014) who studied the reading habits of 312 older
children and adolescents. They asked participants to report how long they read
specific forms of texts over the course of a weekend. Interestingly reading speed
was positively correlated with reading fiction; however, it was not associated with
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reading non-fiction, textbooks, or short digital texts (such as those associated with
social media).
Finally, Torppa etal. (2019) followed over 2500 Finnish students from Grade 1 to
Grade 9. In the early years (Grades 1–4), estimates of reading volume were obtained
from parents. In the senior elementary and high school years (Grades 6, 7, and 9) the
students completed their own self-report measures on how often they read books,
news and comics, magazines and digital texts. At each grade level, the authors also
collected data on reading comprehension and reading fluency. In keeping with the
literature, Torppa etal. noted that in the early grades, children who excelled in either
reading comprehension or reading fluency (or both) were more likely to have parents
who described them as avid readers. However, the predictive paths were not signifi-
cant when reversed. Stated simply, parental reports of avid reading did not predict
further skill development in Grades 1 through 4. This was not the case in the later
elementary and high school years; after accounting for the children’s own levels of
fluency, comprehension and reading volume, book reading was reciprocally associ-
ated with reading comprehension at every upper level grade measured. The authors
also noted that book reading seemed especially linked to reading comprehension,
more so than reading comics, news, magazines or on-line. Yet surprisingly, leisure
reading was not found to promote reading fluency at in any grade, in spite of the fact
that faster readers were more likely to report reading for pleasure. This finding is
somewhat difficult to interpret. Unlike reading comprehension which was directly
assessed by reading passages and answering questions, Torppa etal. measured read-
ing fluency with tasks that integrated reading speed with other skills. Specifically,
they employed a sentence verification task, a written vocabulary-word matching
task, and a whole word segmentation task. While all of these tasks were timed, none
directly measured reading speed.
Lowder and Gordon (2017) addressed some of these issues by using a repeti-
tion priming paradigm to measure reading speed. Here, 48 undergraduate partici-
pants completed the ART and then read sentences containing target words. Reading
speed of the target words was examined using eye-tracking software. As expected,
higher reading volume was associated with faster initial reading times. With regard
to repetition priming, participants with lower print exposure scores benefitted more
from seeing target words a second time, suggesting that participants who read more
for pleasure had faster baseline reading speeds, and therefore had less room for
improvement due to repetition priming.
A common thread among all of the studies reviewed above was that reading flu-
ency was most commonly measured by using connected texts that were read silently.
For example, both Anderson et al. (1988) and Martin-Chang and Gould (2008)
measured fluency by asking participants how far they progressed while reading a
passage within a specific time frame. This method does not account for reading
accuracy, nor does it guarantee that participants accurately report how much they
read. Cipielewski and Stanovich (1992) measured reading speed during a cloze task,
therefore they ensured that their participants had read the passage, but they could
not vouch for reading accuracy or be certain that reading rate was not affected by the
additional comprehension task. Similarly, McGeown etal. (2014) asked their adoles-
cent participants to read passages in order to answer comprehension questions. Once
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
again though, the silent reading task did not allow the researchers to score reading
accuracy. Finally, Mano and Guerin (2018) and Torppa etal. (2019) asked their par-
ticipants to answer a true or false question after each sentence. This sentence verifi-
cation task ensured that the participants were reading somewhat accurately, however
it required additional cognitive resources that are generally not a part of everyday
reading. Therefore, the field would be strengthened by corroborating evidence from
studies where single word reading speed and accuracy are directly assessed.
Taken together, teenagers remain an understudied population. Yet, the scholar-
ship conducted with children and adults suggests that at least some aspects of skilled
reading are improved by practice. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that higher
print volume is also associated with more efficient reading rates (Anderson etal.,
1988; Cipielewski & Stanovich, 1992; Martin-Chang & Gould, 2008; Torppa etal.,
2019). However, at present very few measures of fluency have directly assessed
reading speed.
The Author Recognition Test
The ART has been updated and adapted several times to reflect changes in the liter-
ary landscape (Acheson, Wells, & MacDonald, 2008; Kidd & Castano, 2013, 2017;
Kozak & Martin-Chang, 2019; Mar, Oatley, Hirsh, dela Paz, & Peterson, 2006;
Martin-Chang & Gould, 2008; Moore & Gordon, 2015). To illustrate, Mar and Rain
(2015) revised the ART to include 110 fiction authors, 50 nonfiction authors and 40
foils with the goal of determining whether different kinds of reading genres were
uniquely associated with verbal abilities. The authors asked 960 participants across
four studies to complete this revised ART. They reported a robust pattern of find-
ings whereby participants who read more fiction scored higher on tests of synonyms,
analogies, sentence completion, and reading comprehension compared to those who
read more non-fiction. The associations between nonfiction reading and verbal abili-
ties were either insignificant, or negative. Thus, it is reading fiction that seems to be
uniquely linked to many aspects of verbal processing.
Mar and Rain’s series of studies (2015) exemplify how creating a more nuanced
ART can be beneficial in understanding the skills associated with different types of
print exposure. The current study built on this premise by including both authors
of Adult and Young Adult fiction within the ART. In doing so, we sought to under-
stand whether adolescents’ reading habits, as measured by a preference for Adult or
Young Adult authors, would show different associations with literacy skills.
In recent educational discussions, the relative merits and weaknesses of Young
Adult literature have been a controversial topic. Within contemporary fiction, some
educators have spoken out strongly against using books from the Young Adult genre.
One well-known educational consultant stated that he had: “some serious ques-
tions about the cultural value and validity of the young adult fiction agents are ped-
dling.” He went on to ask, “where are those vital books for teenagers that introduce
them to the real, adult world?” (Nutt, 2016, para. 8). In line with this view, Kidd
and Castano (2013) observed that literary fiction showed stronger associations with
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Theory-of-Mind than genre fiction, suggesting that readers would benefit more from
“high-brow” novels than popular genre fiction, such as romance novels or thrillers.
Yet in stark contrast, others have argued in favor of using high interest literature
that is relevant to older children and young adults because it creates better conditions
to cultivate reading skills (Kim etal., 2016; Ivey & Johnston, 2013). For example,
Glenn, Ginsberg, and King-Watkins (2018) compared the positive experience of five
adolescents enrolled in a Young Adult Literature Class to the negative experiences
they recounted from traditional English classes. The Young Adult Literature Class
was created around the premise that student choice in both reading materials and
assignments is critical to student growth. This was supported by a print rich class-
room where students were able to choose their reading materials from a large variety
of books. Within this class, students were able to embrace their identities as readers
and had more positive experiences than students in the traditional English classes.
The work by Jensen, Christy, Krakow, John, and Martins (2016) shows the impor-
tance of high-interest literature when working with a younger population. They
interviewed preteens about their book preferences and found that books contain-
ing child protagonists, and futuristic settings, as well as plots that included danger,
monsters, and action were listed most frequently. Of specific interest, participants
who were more transported by the stories were also likely to have advanced reading
skills, and higher overall academic performances.
Here, we examined whether adolescents’ print exposure scores would show posi-
tive associations with reading accuracy, spelling skill, and single word reading rate.
We also asked if differential associations would be observed with regards to par-
ticipants’ ability to recognize adult or young adult authors. Specifically, as the ART
generally consists of authors of adult fiction, we were interested in whether familiar-
ity with authors for children and young adults would result in more sensitive predic-
tors of linguistic skills in adolescents.
Ethical approval was obtained at the university and school levels. Participants were
then recruited from a North American high school that drew equally from two eco-
nomically diverse neighborhoods: one area was an affluent suburb of a large city;
the other area was less affluent and further from the city center. During the year the
study was conducted, 815 students were enrolled in the entire school. Invitations to
participate in the study were sent home with the students of four classrooms (Grade
9, Grade 10 and two Grade 11 classes). Of the 120 students who were invited to
participate in the study, 93 teenagers provided parental consent. Before beginning,
written assent from the participants was also obtained. The majority of the partici-
pants indicated that their first language was English (88%) and ranked their English
proficiency as 3.52 on a 4-point scale, with 1 being “basic” and 4 being “excellent.
Out of the 93 original participants, three were removed from the analyses as they
indicated their level of English proficiency to be 1 “basic” or 2 “fair.” Therefore,
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
a total of 90 (67% female) participants were included in the study (Mage= 16.21,
SDage= .92). All participants were in Grades 9 (n = 20), 10 (n = 23), and 11 (n = 47;
Mgrade = 10.9, SDgrade = .81). Testing took place during the months of March and
Participant information questionnaire
Students were asked to indicate their native language(s), age, date of birth, and
grade level.
Author Recognition Test
The Author Recognition Test (ART; Stanovich & West, 1989) is typically used to
approximate an individual’s reading volume over their lifetime. For this study, the
ART was adapted for a younger population by including authors who wrote for
Children and Young Adults among popular Adult Fiction authors (Kozak & Martin-
Chang, 2019). The additional authors were compiled from bestseller lists, as well as
vetted by both booksellers and teachers. The final version of the ART-CYA can be
seen in “Appendix”.
This version of the ART contained a list of 114 names in total; 68 of the names
were Contemporary Fiction authors, 23 were Children’s and Young Adult authors,
and 23 were foils. Participants were asked to mark the names they recognized as
being real authors and were cautioned that guessing could be easily detected. All of
the authors were listed alphabetically by first name, and the participants were not
alerted that some of the authors wrote for children and young adults. Two scores
were calculated for the purposes of this study: scores on the ART using the Chil-
dren’s and Young Adult authors only (ART-CYA), and scores using Contemporary
Adult authors only (ART-A). In both cases, the equation used to score responses
was the same: (real authors identified/total real authors)−(foils identified/total foils;
Stanovich & West, 1989), where “real authors” were either Children’s and Young
Adult authors (ART-CYA), or Contemporary Adult authors (ART-A).
Standardized measures
Participants completed the Wide Reading Achievement Test- Fourth Edition
(WRAT4; Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006) to determine their word level reading
ability. The test involves reading 42 real words in isolation. Testing is discontinued
following ten errors. The WRAT4 has good internal consistency, α = .89, and t akes
approximately 5min to administer (Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006).
In order to assess general spelling abilities, participants also completed the spell-
ing subtest of the Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement—Third Edition (WJ-III;
Woodcock, McGrew, & Mathers, 2001). Participants used paper and pencil to write
up to 59 words dictated by the experimenter. The words increased in difficulty and
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scoring was discontinued following six consecutive errors. The WJ-III has good
internal consistency, α = .90, and takes approximately 5min to administer (Schrank,
McGrew, & Woodcock, 2001).
Experimental measures
A list of words was used for the single word experimental reading task. From the list
of 30 words, almost half were adapted from previous studies on single word read-
ing and spelling (Ouellette, Martin-Chang, & Rossi, 2017); the remainder were sug-
gested by high school teachers as words that students would understand verbally.
Participants completed the study across two sessions. During the first session, stu-
dents worked individually with the researcher. To assess their single word reading
speed, they were asked to read the experimental words that appeared individually on
a 13 computer screen. The words were written in 36-point font to mimic flash cards.
Participants were asked to read the words aloud as quickly and accurately as possi-
ble. Superlab Pro 5.0 software (Cedrus Corporation, 2014) was used to calculate
participants’ reading speed for each individual word. The target words appeared on
the screen individually until the full list of 30 words was read. The list of words was
read again in random order three more times; thus, each word was read four times in
total (30 words per list × 4 trials = 120 words). When the microphone was triggered
by the participants’ voice, the word on the screen disappeared and was replaced by a
fixation point (*). The fixation point was on the screen for 2s before the next word
appeared. The experimenter coded accuracy of reading responses. Reading mistakes
and prolonged hesitations were both coded as errors and their reading times were
removed from the analyses. Following the experimental reading task, participants
completed the WRAT4 reading measure to assess their general reading ability. In
total, Session 1 took approximately 10min.
During Session 2, participants completed the participant information question-
naire, the combined ART (containing both Adult and Children and Young Adults
authors, as well as foil names), and the WJ-III spelling measure. The activities dur-
ing Session 2 were completed with the whole class at the same time. Students were
seated as if they were taking a test; they remained at their individual desks, out of
sight of other students’ responses.
Table 1 shows the means and standard deviations for all measures. As seen in
Table 1, participants were able to identify more Children’s and Young Adults’
authors than Adult authors; a t test showed this difference was significant,
t(89) = 12.42, p < .001. Unsurprisingly, this finding suggests that the teenage popula-
tion was able to recognize more authors who published books targeted at their age
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
level. Mean scores on the standardized measures of reading (WRAT4) and spelling
(WJ-III) indicate that the participants were scoring within one standard deviation
of the norm on these measures; on average, they were reading and spelling at, or
slightly above grade-level norms.
Analyses by grade level were performed for average reading times and spelling
accuracy scores. Three separate one-way ANOVAs revealed no statistically signifi-
cant differences in word-reading times (F (2, 87) = .242, p = .796), reading accuracy
(F (2,87) = 2.658, p = .076), or spelling accuracy (F (2, 87) = .327, p = .722) when
analyzed between grades. Therefore, all 90 participants were included in the follow-
ing analyses.
In order to explore the relationships between print exposure, reading and spelling
ability, and reading speed, correlations were run between all of the measures (see
Table2). First, as expected, both print exposure scores (ART-A, ART-CYA) were
significantly positively correlated with each other, indicating that participants who
are more with familiar literature aimed at one age group were also more likely to
read literature aimed at the other. Next, as expected, both standardized measures of
reading and spelling were significantly, moderately positively correlated with each
other. Lastly, reading time was significantly negatively correlated with both stand-
ardized measures, indicating that as general proficiency in spelling and reading
increase, reading time decreases.
Turning our attention to the individual word reading times, we see that word read-
ing speed was correlated to all variables except for one, namely scores on the ART
containing Adult authors. Significant negative correlations were found between
reading time and ART-CYA scores; in other words, faster reading was associated
Table 1 Descriptive statistics
N = 90
a Standardized scores
Measure M SD
ART-A .03 .05
ART-CYA .17 .12
WRAT4 Reading 108.63a11.07
WJ-III Spelling 108.93a12.67
Table 2 Correlations
N = 90
*p < .05, ***p < .001, 2-t ailed
1. ART-A
2. ART-CYA .47***
3. WRAT4 reading .22* .50***
4. WJ-III spelling .26* .58*** .57***
5. Reading time −.18 −.38*** −.42*** −.50***
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with recognizing more Children’s and Young Adult authors. No such relationship
was found between scores on the ART-A and single word reading times.
It should be noted that the standardized measures of reading and spelling were
positively correlated with both ART-A and ART-CYA scores; however, the correla-
tions were stronger with the ART-CYA than with the ART-A. Using the procedure
recommended by Meng, Rosenthal, and Rubin (1992), we determined that the cor-
relations between the standardized measures and the ART-CYA scores were signifi-
cantly larger (ps < .05) than those between the standardized measures and ART-A
scores. In other words, the relationship between both standardized measures of read-
ing and spelling was stronger when the correlations were conducted with the ART-
CYA compared to the ART-A. In order to explore these relationships further we
carried out a series of hierarchical multiple regressions to clarify the role of print
exposure (ART-A and ART-CYA) in predicting general reading ability (WRAT4)
and general spelling ability (WJ-III).
In the first regression with reading ability as the dependent variable, the ART-A
explained 4.9% of variance when entered into the equation first, F(1, 88) = 4.500,
p = .037, while scores on the ART-CYA explained a further 20% of variance in the
second step, F(2, 87) = 14.415, p < .001. Alternatively, when ART-CYA was entered
first, a significant regression equation was found F(1, 88) = 29.115, p < .001) with an
R2 of .249. However, in this case, the ART-CYA was the only statistically significant
predictor, p < .001. See Table 3 for all β coefficients, the standard errors, and the
standardized betas.
We then carried out a series of regressions with general spelling ability as the
dependent variable. When ART-A was entered first, and ART-CYA second, a signif-
icant regression equation was found, F(1, 88) = 6.544, p = .012, with an R2 of .069,
and an R2 of .264 for ART-CYA. Both variables added statistically significantly to
the prediction, p < .01. Alternatively, when ART-CYA was entered first, though a
significant regression equation was found, F(1, 88) = 43.977, p < .001, with an R2
of .333, the ART-CYA was the only statistically significant predictor, p < .001. See
Table4 for all β coefficients, the standard errors, and the standardized betas.
Table 3 Results of hierarchical
linear regression analysis of
predictors of reading ability
Keeping ART-A constant. For Step 1, R2 = .049, R2 change for Step
2 = .200
Keeping ART-CYA constant. For Step 1, R2 = .249, R2 change for
Step 2 = .000, *p < .05, ***p < .001
Reading ability (WRAT4)
b SE b β
Step 1 ART-A 53.593 25.265 .221*
Step 2 ART-CYA 48.600 10.091 .508***
Step 1 ART-CYA 47.722 8.844 .499***
Step 2 ART-A − 4.713 25.619 − .019
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
Finally, given the interesting relationship between scores on the ART-CYA and
reading speed, a regression was performed to explore whether general reading skills
were acting as a higher order variable and driving both correlations. Standardized
reading scores were entered into the model first, followed by scores on the ART-
CYA. The β coefficients, the standard errors, and the standardized betas are pre-
sented in Table5. Results indicate that, after accounting for adolescents’ general
reading skills, their ART-CYA scores remained a statistically significant predictor
of their single word reading time. Scores on the ART-CYA contributed 3.7% unique
variance to single word reading speed after accounting for generalized reading skills,
R2 change = .037, F(2, 87) = 11.825, p < .001.
It has long been recognized that reading volume is associated with distinct social
and cognitive benefits for children and adults (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998;
Goldman & Manis, 2013; Mar etal., 2009). The results reported here replicate and
extend to this body of research. Our findings confirm that adolescents who recog-
nized more authors had better general reading and spelling scores. Furthermore,
the results also showed that performance on the ART-CYA, which included authors
Table 4 Results of hierarchical
linear regression analysis of
predictors of spelling ability
Keeping ART-A constant. For Step 1, R2 = .069, R2 change for Step
2 = .264
Keeping ART-CYA constant. For Step 1, R2 = .333, R2 change for
Step 2 = .000, *p < .05, ***p < .001
Spelling ability (WJ-III)
b SE b β
Step 1 ART-A 73.143 28.592 .263*
Step 2 ART-CYA 63.858 10.877 .583***
Step 1 ART-CYA 63.213 9.532 .577***
Step 2 ART-A − 3.469 27.614 − .012
Table 5 Results of hierarchical
linear regression analysis of
predictors of reading speed (ms)
Keeping reading abilities (WRAT4) constant. For Step 1, R2 = .177,
R2 change for Step 2 = .037; *p < .05, **p < .01
Reading speed (ms)
b SE b β
Step 1 WRAT4 − 3.982 1.411 − .309**
Step 2 ART-CYA − 273.784 135.094 − .222*
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who wrote specifically for older children and teenagers, accounted for more unique
variance than the ART-A with regards to these same scores. Indeed, the ART-CYA,
which can be considered a proxy of reading during childhood and the teenage years,
was the only measure that correlated with single word reading time.
The findings discussed above bear a striking resemblance to those reported in
the adult literature. Namely, Martin-Chang and Gould (2008) found stronger cor-
relations between language skills and personal reading experiences compared to
correlations between language skills and recognizing the favorite authors of friends
or spouses (i.e., secondary print knowledge). They also noted that personal read-
ing experience was the only variable associated with reading speed. Although it is
speculative, it is possible that our scores on the ART-CYA and the ART-A were tap-
ping into similar constructs of personal reading experience versus secondary print
knowledge. It stands to reason that scores on the ART-CYA might have been meas-
uring more of the authors our participants had personally read, whereas the authors
on the ART-A scores might have been reflective of the author names they had seen
in their homes and perhaps even on school reading lists. For example, Devon, a stu-
dent in Grade 11 described by Glenn etal. (2018) said, “I never read for English. I
only skim. And for [Young Adult Literature Class], I actually read the books” (p.
324). On-going work is currently exploring this issue, but if this is the case, it would
behoove English teachers to select books that their students were more inclined to
read, rather than to skim or avoid altogether.
Our findings also fit with those of Spear-Swerling, Brucker, and Alfano (2010)
who found links between word reading accuracy, oral comprehension, vocabulary,
reading comprehension, and self-reported reading habits—but interestingly, only
for reading fiction. Non-fiction reading was significantly negatively correlated with
reading comprehension. Similar to the argument put forth above, it may be possi-
ble that the students in Spear-Swearling’s study read the fiction books more thor-
oughly, while merely skimming through the non-fiction books. Alternatively, the
fiction books may be less cognitively demanding, thereby allowing more cognitive
resources to be dedicated to understanding unknown words or to practicing various
comprehension strategies (McCreath, Linehan, & Mar, 2017).
Although more work needs to be done in this area, the fact remains that in our
study recognizing authors who wrote specifically for older children and teenagers
was more closely tied to adolescent’s literacy skills than recognizing adult authors.
Our findings are encouraging precisely because they suggest that adolescents can
reap benefits in accuracy, spelling, and reading speed by reading books that are
popular within their age group. This fits nicely within the body of literature show-
ing that books linked to the greatest cognitive gains do not necessarily come with the
most prestigious awards and highest acclaim (Mar etal., 2006; Mar & Rain, 2015).
Quite the opposite, in fact; in keeping with the classic logic behind including popular
authors within the ART (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998), the work of Mar and col-
leagues has shown that reading popular genres is associated with measurable social
and cognitive gains (Mar etal., 2006; Mar & Rain, 2015). If reading genres such as
romance, mystery, and science fiction lead to a wealth of linguistic benefits (Mar &
Rain, 2015), it stands to reason that fiction aimed at children and young adults may
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
offer similar advantages. If the goal is to get teenagers to engage with books, then the
question becomes: what kinds of books can be leveraged to increase reading volume?
As determined by Jensen etal. (2016), becoming transported by fiction is associ-
ated with elevated reading skills. Jensen etal., noted that the books that appeared to
entice children the most explored themes related to danger, adventure, action, and
were written around child protagonists. In the current study, four of the five most
recognized authors wrote novels for Children and Young Adults (in order from most
to least recognized: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King [Adult fiction], Suzanne Collins,
Judy Blume, and Stephenie Meyer), and all of the top five authors featured some of
the aforementioned elements in their writing. By implication, we suggest that teach-
ers modify their reading programs to suit their students’ interests. Offering popular
book titles among the selected readings for class assignments may serve to increase
motivation (De Naeghel etal., 2014, De Naeghel, Van Keer, Vansteenkiste, Haerens,
& Aelterman, 2016; Glenn etal., 2018), and ideally spark an interest in reading that
extends beyond school (Ivey & Johnston, 2013; Kim etal., 2016).
Teachers and parents who are reluctant to encourage Young Adult literature for
fear that it is “nothing more than gossip fodder,” (Nutt, 2016, para. 4), should take
heart in the fact that reading bestselling books helps to shape children’s social devel-
opment. For example, reading Wonder increases empathy in elementary students
(Guarisco & Freeman, 2015) and reading Harry Potter is associated with reduced
prejudice towards immigrants and homosexuals in elementary and high school stu-
dents (Vezzali, Stathi, Giovannini, Capozza, & Trifiletti, 2015). Therefore, it seems
that many different kinds of books, including high fantasy, can play a hand in devel-
oping the background knowledge children and adolescents need to become critically
thinking, engaged citizens (National Endowment for the Arts, 2004).
We also observed positive correlations noted between the ART-A and the ART-
CYA; participants who were better able to recognize Children’s and Young Adult
authors were better able to recognize authors who wrote for adults. As discussed
above, it is unclear how many of the authors from the ART-A the participants had
read personally. However, it has been posited that reader identity begins early and
remains fairly stable into adulthood (Mol & Bus, 2011). Simply put, the best way
to nurture readers of adult literature might be to encourage adolescents to read the
literature they are drawn to, be it Young Adult literature or Adult fiction.
Limitations andfuture directions
In many respects, skilled reading and reading volume develop hand in hand (Cun-
ningham & Stanovich, 1991; Mol & Bus, 2011; Sparks etal., 2014). Children who
get off to a smooth start in reading may receive the foundational knowledge and
encouragement to read during their free time from a relatively early age. This argu-
ment for a reciprocal causal relationship gives rise to the very likely possibility that
third-order variables, such as the home environment, attitudes towards schooling,
and general intelligence are influencing both reading speed and print exposure.
Indeed, some authors have argued that it is skilled reading that drives electing to
read, rather than the inverse (Torppa et al., 2019; van Bergen et al., 2018). We
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S.Martin-Chang et al.
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acknowledge this limitation of the current paradigm. However, even after reading
accuracy was accounted for, print exposure explained a small, but unique amount
of variance in single word reading speed. This was a stringent control, because
being an accurate reader is likely a determining factor in both electing to read, and
in reading speed. Thus, by entering it into the regression on reading speed first, we
certainly overrepresented the amount of variance allotted to reading accuracy, and
underrepresented the amount of variance allotted to print exposure. Nevertheless,
it increases our confidence that the benefits from print exposure are reciprocal, with
print exposure both resulting from, and contributing to, reading speed.
It remains difficult to reconcile our findings with those of Torppa etal. (2019),
who found “leisure reading did not promote reading fluency at any time point…” (p.
13). These differences may have resulted from the fact that English has an opaque
orthography whereas Finnish is transparent. Or they could be due to the differences
in the way fluency was operationalized within the different paradigms; we used a
direct measure of reading speed, while Torppa et al., used sentence verification
tasks, word chain tasks, and a picture/word matching task. More work will need to
be done in this area in order to fully understand the directionality between reading
speed and leisure reading, but at present, we would agree with Torppa etal. that, at
the very least, “…faster readers, on average, read more” (p. 13).
A second limitation of the present study was that two-thirds of the sample was
comprised of females. As noted by Mol and Jolles (2014), teenage girls are more
likely to read for pleasure than teenage boys. Therefore, the patterns observed here
should be replicated with larger numbers of participants balanced for sex. In a simi-
lar vein, there were only three students who indicated that their English skills were
poor, and they were removed from the final analyses; thus, the study should be repli-
cated with students who display a wider range of English proficiency.
Given that recognizing literature aimed at older children and Young Adults was
associated with better cognitive outcomes, future investigations should explore how
teachers’ novel selections within the classroom influences student motivation to read.
This work could expand the work done by Jensen etal. (2016) and Glenn etal. (2018)
by asking teenagers why they are drawn to certain books and by exploring ways that
more current titles can be added to the curriculum. Mounting evidence suggests that
fiction can be used to simulate real life emotions, such as heartache and fear, within
the safety of one’s own home (Oatley, 2016). As such, Young Adult literature may be
affording older children and teenagers the opportunity to experience situations that are
prominent in the adolescent period of development, such as first love, loss of inno-
cence, the importance of friends, and coming of age. If this is the case, it is perhaps
not surprising that teenagers prefer to read books that explore issues directly reflecting
those they may be facing in their own lives. To be clear, we are not suggesting that pop-
ular new titles completely replace books from canon, such as Macbeth (Shakespeare,
1623) or The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald, 1925). Rather, we are suggesting that teachers
offer students a greater amount of choice in what they read (De Naeghel etal., 2014,
2016). Students could be given the option of reading Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare,
1597) or Eleanor & Park (Rowell, 2013), both of which deal with the complications
of family and love, or the choice between Lord of the Flies (Golding, 1954) or Hunger
Games (Collins, 2008), both of which revolve around the clashing values of survival
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
and humanity. The data presented here show that having children and teenagers read
contemporary books in the classroom may align more with what they are reading out-
side of school. This might increase engagement (Glenn etal., 2018; Kim etal., 2016),
while also improving spelling skills, reading abilities, and reading rate.
In the past, Stanovich and Cunningham (1993) explained that they created the ART
to include “popular authors as opposed to ‘highbrow’ writers who would be known
by only the most academically inclined readers” (p. 213). The logic underpinning this
decision was that authors became bestsellers because people were buying, and pre-
sumably reading their work. According to Stanovich and Cunningham (1993), it was
the act of reading itself, rather than the material being read that spurred the cognitive
and social gains associated with print exposure. Granted, this claim has been modified
somewhat over the past two decades (c.f., Fong, Mullin, & Mar, 2013; Kidd & Castano,
2013); nevertheless, the general consensus remains that the cognitive and socio-emo-
tional benefits that fiction seem to offer are inextricably linked to reading volume, not
to books that are academically oriented.
Here we noted positive correlations between ART-CYA, reading ability, spell-
ing skills, and single word reading speed. Scores on the ART-CYA predicted reading
speed even after accounting for general reading skill. In contrast, had we only measured
print exposure using the ART-A, we would have concluded that print exposure was not
related to reading speed. Our findings therefore suggest that the ART-CYA was a more
sensitive measure for adolescents because it was capable of delineating participants
along the continuum from disavowed readers to avid readers (Ivey & Johnston, 2013).
In sum, we posit that the link between print exposure and single word reading speed
is critical. This is not because fast reading is the ultimate measure of expertise, but rather
because skillful readers require the flexibility to gauge the tempo of their reading speed
to match the content of their texts (Rayner, Schotter, Masson, Potter, & Treiman, 2016).
On the surface, fluent readers seem to see through the print to gain direct access to mean-
ing (Ehri, 2014). When students have reached this point in their development, reading no
longer feels like ‘work’. This is especially the case if they are transported into the novel
they are reading (Jensen etal., 2016). This information needs to be disseminated to teach-
ers so that more lesson plans and units can be created around popular, age appropriate,
books in schools (e.g., Kozak & Martin-Chang, 2019; Kim etal., 2016). Research has
shown that enjoyment of reading is the most potent predictor of print exposure (Mol &
Jolles, 2014). Therefore, having students read books they enjoy, written by authors who
are writing specifically for them, could be critical to continued literacy development.
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Appendix: ART (A andCYA combined)
Name Category Name Category
V. C. Andrews Adult Robert Emery Foil
Isaac Asimov Adult Jeffery Eugenides Adult
Margaret Atwood Adult Gordan Korman CYA
Jean M. Auel Adult Timothy Findley Adult
Russell Banks Adult John Flanagan CYA
David Baldacci Adult Robert Fulghum Adult
Sharon Creech CYA Diana Gabaldon Adult
James Dashner CYA Howard Gardner Adult
Roald Dahl CYA Elizabeth George Adult
Martin Ford Adult Stephen J. Gould Adult
Cornelia Funke CYA Sue Grafton Adult
Elliot Blass Foil Andrew Greeley Adult
Christopher Barr Foil Sheryl Green Foil
Lauren Benjamin Foil John Grisham Adult
Carol Berg Adult Alex Haley Adult
Pierre Berton Adult Mimi Hall Foil
Thomas Bever Foil Frank Herbert Adult
Maeve Binchy Adult S. E. Hinton CYA
Judy Blume CYA Erin Hunter CYA
Dan Brown Adult John Jakes Adult
Jennifer Butterworth Foil E.L. James Adult
Katherine Carpenter Foil Erica Jong Adult
Barbara Cartland Adult Wayne Johnston Adult
Agatha Christie Adult Robert Jordan Adult
Noam Chomsky Adult Frank Kiel Foil
Wayson Choy Adult Laurie King Adult
Tom Clancy Adult Stephen King Adult
Arthur Clarke Adult Jeff Kinney CYA
Suzanne Clarkson Foil Naomi Klein Adult
James Clavell Adult Sophie Kinsella Adult
Suzanne Collins CYA Dean Koontz Adult
Jackie Collins Adult Judith Krantz Adult
Stephen Coonts Adult Louis L’Amour Adult
Edward Cornell Foil Margaret Laurence Adult
Patricia Cornwell Adult Ursula LeGuin Adult
Robertson Davies Adult Madeleine L’Engle CYA
W. Patrick Dickson Foil Pricilla Levy Foil
C. S. Lewis CYA Gary Paulsen CYA
Lois Lowry CYA Philip Pullman CYA
Robert Ludlum Adult Daniel Quinn Adult
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Time toread Young Adult fiction: print exposure andlinguistic…
Name Category Name Category
Alex Lumsden Foil Anne Rice Adult
George R.R. Martin Adult Mordecai Richler Adult
Ann Marie McDonald Adult Rick Riordan CYA
Morton Mendelson Foil J.K. Rowling CYA
Stephenie Meyer CYA Rachel R. Russell CYA
Janet Evanovich Adult Robert J. Sawyer Adult
James Michener Adult Miriam Sexton Foil
Rohinton Mistry Adult Carol Shields Adult
Christopher Moore Adult Sidney Sheldon Adult
Lucy Maud Montgomery CYA Robert Siegler Foil
Michael Moore Adult Lemony Snicket CYA
James Morgan Foil Danielle Steel Adult
Alice Munro Adult Mark Strauss Foil
Katherine Paterson CYA Destin Shaw Foil
M. Scott Peck Adult Amy Tan Adult
David Perry Foil Miriam Toews Adult
Kate Pullinger Adult Alvin Toffler Adult
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... Furthermore, the experiences of reading different types of texts exerts mixed influences on student reading performance, and the frequency of leisure reading by genre (e.g., fiction, nonfiction, newspapers, etc.) has been a major focus. Specifically, a consistent "fiction" effect has been found in the development of student literacy abilities, which might promote better student performance in reading assessments (e.g., Jerrim & Moss, 2019;Mar & Rain, 2015;Martin-Chang et al., 2020McGeown et al., 2015;Scholes, 2021;Spear-Swerling et al., 2010). However, the frequent reading of nonfiction, newspapers, magazines, and comics was sometimes found to exert nonsignificant or negative effects on reading performance (e.g., Jerrim & Moss, 2019;Jerrim et al., 2020;Roni & Merga, 2019;Spear-Swerling et al., 2010). ...
... A positive relationship was discovered between school-related reading of fiction and both female and male students' reading performance, extending previous research that highlighted the importance of the leisure reading of fiction (e.g., Jerrim & Moss, 2019). Characterized as extended narrative texts covering abundant vocabulary, various syntactic structures, complex lexicosemantic networks (e.g., Jerrim & Moss, 2019) and attractive event plots, fiction might benefit students' reading performance in two ways: One is the promotion of literacy skills, i.e., fiction reading is closely associated with intrinsic reading motivation (e.g., Martin-Chang et al., 2020) and positively influences students' verbal abilities including their level of knowledge about word meanings and forms, analogy, sentence completion skills, etc. (e.g., Mar & Rain, 2015;Martin-Chang et al., 2020;Mol & Bus, 2011;Spear-Swerling et al., 2010), and further enhances their reading fluency, comprehension and summarization skills, etc. (e.g., Boerma et al., 2017;McGeown et al., 2015;Pfost et al., 2013). The other is the development of the theory of mind, i.e., through fiction reading, students develop perspective-taking skills (e.g., Kidd & Castano, 2013) which are essential for narrative processing and reading comprehension (e.g., Dore et al., 2018). ...
... A positive relationship was discovered between school-related reading of fiction and both female and male students' reading performance, extending previous research that highlighted the importance of the leisure reading of fiction (e.g., Jerrim & Moss, 2019). Characterized as extended narrative texts covering abundant vocabulary, various syntactic structures, complex lexicosemantic networks (e.g., Jerrim & Moss, 2019) and attractive event plots, fiction might benefit students' reading performance in two ways: One is the promotion of literacy skills, i.e., fiction reading is closely associated with intrinsic reading motivation (e.g., Martin-Chang et al., 2020) and positively influences students' verbal abilities including their level of knowledge about word meanings and forms, analogy, sentence completion skills, etc. (e.g., Mar & Rain, 2015;Martin-Chang et al., 2020;Mol & Bus, 2011;Spear-Swerling et al., 2010), and further enhances their reading fluency, comprehension and summarization skills, etc. (e.g., Boerma et al., 2017;McGeown et al., 2015;Pfost et al., 2013). The other is the development of the theory of mind, i.e., through fiction reading, students develop perspective-taking skills (e.g., Kidd & Castano, 2013) which are essential for narrative processing and reading comprehension (e.g., Dore et al., 2018). ...
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Reading habits play an active role in promoting students’ reading skills and making them prepared to participate in modern society. Gender differences regarding students’ habits in the use of reading medium, amount of time spent on leisure reading, and the frequency of school-related reading and of leisure reading were examined. The relation between these habits and the level of student reading performance was further explored. Data on 439,847 15-year-old students in 61 countries/regions were extracted from the most recent database of the Programme for International Student Assessment. Descriptive statistics showed that female students preferred print reading and multiformat use, that they spent more time on leisure reading, and that they read fiction and magazines more often than male students. Then, 3-level hierarchical linear modeling was conducted. The results indicated that the use of a paper format, the school-related reading of texts with tables or graphs and of fiction, and the leisure reading of fiction and nonfiction positively influenced reading performance among members of both gender groups and that a small amount of leisure reading of magazines and newspapers only showed a significant, albeit small, positive impact among members of the female group. Additionally, more than 2 h of leisure reading a day brought greater benefits for female students, while 1 to 2 h a day seemed to be more effective for male students. The practical implications for the cultivation of reading habits by students as well as those for the implementation of educational interventions were further discussed.
... In line with this view, while Nation & Waring, (1997) argued that learners acquire words while reading a newspaper, novel, textbook, an academic journal article, Krashen (2004) argued that when opportunities are created for learners to read, it leads to greater literacy development than traditional skills building approaches. Furthermore, many researchers (Elley, 1991;Elley & Mangubhai, 1983;McQuillan, 1998;Kim and Krashen, 1998;Hafiz and Tudor, 1989;Cong-Lem, & Lee, 2020;Liu, & Zhang, 2018;Warnby, 2022;Martin-Chang, Kozak, & Rossi, 2020;Ha, 2021;Masrai, 2019) argued that print exposure may develop vocabulary knowledge. For example, Kim and Krashen (1998) examined the contribution of print exposure to vocabulary knowledge with a group of Korean high school students studying English as a foreign language. ...
... Given that vocabulary knowledge is important in the process of constructing meaning effectively in language and exposure to the target language through reading may facilitate language learners to acquire a several words and elements of word collocation, it is vital to examine whether reading contributes to vocabulary knowledge: breadth and depth. Although researchers (Pitts, White, and Krashen, 1987;Dupuy and Krashen (1993) Webb (2010;Vygotsky, 1987;McLean, Stewart, & Batty, 2020;Pigada, Schmitt, 2006;Nation, 2005;Anglin, 1993Cong-Lem, & Lee, 2020Liu, & Zhang, 2018;Warnby, 2022;Martin-Chang, Kozak, & Rossi, 2020;Masrai, 2019) have paid attention to the importance of the investigation of L2 vocabulary acquisition, it is difficult to find studies that focus on L2 reading and its contribution to adults' vocabulary acquisition, particularly both breadth and depth of vocabulary acquisition in the Sri Lankan context. Therefore, this study investigated the contribution of second language reading to adults' vocabulary acquisition in the Sri Lankan context. ...
... ;Nation & Waring, 1997;McLean, Stewart, & Batty 2020; Elley & Mangubhai, 1983; Cong-Lem, & Lee, 2020;Liu, & Zhang, 2018;Warnby, 2022;Martin-Chang, Kozak, & Rossi, 2020;Masrai, 2019;McQuillan, 1998; ...
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Even though vocabulary knowledge is crucial in receiving and producing meaning in a language, improving vocabulary knowledge can be challenging for both teachers and students. Exposure to the target language through meaning-focused reading can be considered one of the predictors that can address this challenge. As language learners are exposed to written language while reading, reading may help them enrich their vocabulary knowledge. Accordingly, this study investigated whether meaning-focused reading can contribute to the development of vocabulary knowledge (Breadth and Depth) among adult learners of English as a second language (ESL). Among the students of a Sri Lankan state university, a group of undergraduate students participated in the study. Measures of reading and vocabulary knowledge were administered to 189 participants as part of the research implementation. Additionally, a questionnaire was utilized to gather data on the participants' backgrounds, including their prior exposure to the target language. In a multiple regression analysis, reading significantly contributed to both breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge. However, it appears that reading contributes more to the breadth than to the depth of vocabulary knowledge. Thus, although meaning-focused reading can contribute to vocabulary knowledge, the contribution might vary depending on the type of vocabulary knowledge. Overall, the findings indicate that exposure to the target language through meaning-focused reading plays a significant role in enhancing vocabulary knowledge among adult ESL learners.
... However, even in welldeveloped countries such as Germany, a substantial number of students have severe difficulties in reading . This problem is intensified by the well documented fact that today more and more students are not reading for enjoyment (Diedrich et al., 2019), which has shown to be important for the development of students' reading skills, inter alia word reading and reading comprehension (Locher & Pfost, 2020;Martin-Chang et al., 2020;Pfost et al., 2013;Torppa et al., 2020). In consequence, analyzing variables that can promote respectively hinder the development of a lifestyle that includes a regular autonomous engagement in various reading activities must be given high priority. ...
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In line with the Matthew-effect in reading, reading comprehension and leisure time reading tend to be reciprocally related. Whereas prior research invested much efforts in the identification and description of variables explaining individual differences in reading comprehension, less efforts were spend on the exploration of variables important for the development of leisure time reading. This study focuses on family literacy activities in preschool age – joint book reading, joint library visits, and the teaching of letters – and how these relate to the children’ s later leisure time reading and reading comprehension. Furthermore, the role of parents’ education is considered. Empirical findings are based on a sample of N = 1.242 children from the National Education Panel Study (NEPS). Joint book reading and joint library visits in families, both aspects of informal literacy activities, predicted leisure time reading of children in Grade 4, which was related to their reading comprehension. In addition, disparities with regard to parents’ education were found. The results are discussed against the background of ways to promote children’s leisure time reading and practical implications are derived.
... However, it is important to note that these books need not be 'highbrow' literature. While more research is needed in this area, Martin-Chang et al. (2020) found that familiarity with popular young adult fiction was positively associated with teenagers' reading and spelling achievement and reading speed. ...
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In this study, I investigated the print exposure and website exposure of undergraduates in relation to their scores on a text comprehension test. Print exposure was measured with a national version of the author recognition test, whereas a new website recognition test was developed to measure students’ exposure to texts on the internet. The participants’ reading attitudes and number of years in higher education were included as control variables. Exploratory factor analysis suggested that three factors are measured by the website recognition test: (1) lifestyle topics; (2) news and culture; and (3) social activity. The results showed that only print exposure predicted text comprehension significantly and positively, but not for students with a high score on the website recognition test. Moderation analyses indicated that the pattern was clearest for the social activity factor of the website recognition measure. Hence, high activity on social media seems to diminish or remove the positive relationship between print exposure and text comprehension. The results confirm that print exposure relates positively to important aspects of students’ literacy, while further studies should be carried out to investigate the potential negative relationship between website exposure and literacy.
With increased access to technologies for reading, more understanding is needed about how adolescents engage with print and digital reading across school and out-of-school contexts. In this study, mobile ethnography was used to document the everyday print and digital reading practices of adolescent girls from one all-girls’ school. They responded to real-time researcher prompts about their reading across various timings, locations, and devices over four days, and participated in photo-elicitation interviews. Findings showed that as students moved between locations, they also transited across devices, platforms, and formats, making use of different print and digital resources for varied ways of reading. Their ability to ‘style-shift’ flexibly across the boundaries of school and personal spaces, various devices and platforms allowed them to independently optimise reading as a resource for their everyday leisure, information seeking, and learning purposes. Insights, implications, and challenges for learning in a post-pandemic digital age are discussed.
Given constant online access to information, critical news literacy, or the ability to access and critically evaluate the news, is essential for adolescents to learn about the world and obtain civic knowledge to participate as national and global citizens. Although there has been much research focusing on how youths critically read and produce media, less attention has been paid to the issue of access as an essential element of news literacy. Drawing on survey data ( N = 5732) and focus group discussions ( N = 67) with Singapore adolescents aged 13–17 years old, this study examines (1) whether adolescents access the news and if so, via what technologies, and (2) the factors that influence their news access. Findings show that adolescents prefer to read news online and that older adolescents (aged 15–17 years old) read more than younger adolescents (aged 13–14 years old). Factors shaping access to news include technological (portability, personalization, curation, and notifications), social (families, peers, and schools as sponsors), and personal factors (active seeking of news vs. incidental news exposure). Policymakers, scholars, and educators should consider the physical, social , and curatorial dimensions of news reading to implement policies and design practices to encourage news access and exposure. Educators can foster adolescents' motivation to read news by engaging them with news of interest to them, creating opportunities for them to receive the news through their smartphones and other devices, and developing their civic knowledge base.
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Spørsmålet om nynorskelevane vert nok eksponerte for hovudmålet sitt til å meistre det godt, har vorte stilt av fleire. Denne studien undersøker spørsmålet ved å presentere ei gransking av språkleg fordeling mellom tekstar på nynorsk og bokmål i nynorske lesebøker for to norskverk i ungdomsskulen, Fabel 8–10 og Kontekst 8–10. For å undersøke kva målform tekstane elevane les i norskfaget har, er også faglærarrapportar frå skular med nynorsk som hovudmål som brukar dei aktuelle bøkene med i granskinga. Faglærarrapportar er dokument i skulen som minner om tidlegare pensumlister. Studien presenterer også bakgrunnen for dei to læreverkforlaga sin praksis for utval av tekstar til lesebøkene som resultat frå kvalitative intervju med forlagsrepresentantar. Dei undersøkte lesebøkene har om lag 1/3 tekstar på nynorsk jamført med 2/3 på bokmål, og den språklege fordelinga mellom tekstane som er lista opp i faglærarrapportane, er tilsvarande. Forlaga meiner det er læreplanen og ikkje lesebøkene som skal vere styrande for kva elevane skal lese for å nå kompetansemåla. Implikasjonar av den språklege fordelinga for nynorskelevane si meistring av den nynorske språknorma blir drøfta i lys av teoriar om samanhengar mellom leseeksponering og literacy.
Reading confers significant benefits to children in both social and academic domains. However, the number of children who read for pleasure is decreasing and has been shown to drop significantly between the ages of 8 and 9. Despite the rising popularity of audiobooks and podcasts, research on children’s listening to spoken stories remains in its infancy. Thus, the present study explores how children engage with these realtively novel media. Fifty-two parents of children aged 8–13 years completed an online survey that asked about their children’s listening habits. Results showed that 74% of children listen to spoken stories, with the vast majority (92.5%) listening at least 1–2 times per week. While the survey revealed children are engaging with both podcasts and audiobooks, being read aloud to continues to be the most popular format for story listening in this age group (77.4% of listeners). Across platforms, the genre most frequently listened to was fantasy stories (84.9%; more detailed descriptions of popular themes and sub-themes are described in text). In sum, access to technology is becoming an increasingly important part of children’s lives. The data described here provide a timely perspective and a basis for informed studies of listening engagement in children.
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Despite the far-reaching advantages associated with leisure reading, it is an activity that fewer adolescents are choosing to pursue. The present study used a retrospective correlational approach to investigate shared storybook reading in childhood and current print exposure in 45 parent-adolescent dyads. Parents and adolescents completed a Retrospective Title Recognition Test, identifying storybook titles from a backdated list (books published before 2007) containing both real titles and foils. Adolescents also completed Activity Preference and Reading Enjoyment/Frequency questionnaires to assess reading habits as well as an Author Recognition Test to assess current print exposure. In addition, they were asked to name their favorite childhood storybook and favorite current author to investigate whether these two abilities were linked to print exposure. Vocabulary, reading, and spelling skills were also measured. A hierarchical multiple regression demonstrated that adolescents' Retrospective Title Recognition Test scores accounted for unique variance in their Author Recognition Test scores, above and beyond literacy skills. Mediational analyses demonstrated that print exposure contributed to word reading and spelling scores. Our findings highlight the impact of parents' shared storybook reading with children. Here, early reading experiences related to later reading preferences, which in turn, were associated with literacy skills in adolescence.
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Teachers who are knowledgeable about the basic structure of the English language incorporate this knowledge into their instruction. In this study, the authors explored a similar relation between knowledge of print exposure and planning for a grade 5 classroom. The personal reading experience (print exposure) of 106 preservice teachers was measured for three genres: storybooks, children's and young adult literature, and adult fiction. Teacher knowledge was measured by two tasks: defining terms and evaluating instructional practices. Planning for instruction was measured by asking participants to plan for a week of grade 5 language arts instruction. Correlational analyses revealed that print exposure, teacher knowledge, and time allocated for student reading in a grade 5 classroom were positively related. Furthermore, regression analyses revealed that familiarity with authors of children's and young adult literature accounted for significant variance on both knowledge tasks even after controlling for other forms of print exposure (storybooks and adult fiction). The data suggest that knowledge about print exposure and personal reading experience, especially of children's and young adult literature, are both associated with planning for instruction in the upper elementary grades. The results are discussed in relation to teacher training.
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This phenomenological case study explores the persistence of high school readers labeled as struggling as they described their responses to recurring, consistent, externally originating challenges to positive reading identities growing from their experiences in a Young Adult Literature (YAL) course. Through application of Weinreich’s identity theory, the article examines three challenges that emerged: the home environment, friend influence, and school norms and practices. Findings drawn from student-generated oral reflections gathered through Seidman’s interview protocol suggest that participants possessed the power to dissociate from perceived negative reading identities and enact agency over identities that conflicted with their desired reading identities. However, participants were particularly vulnerable to the influence of school-ascribed reading identities they defined as negative. Given the perceived validity of these ascribed labels, readers were challenged more significantly in their attempts to persist in the self-construal of their desired identity conceptions in response to in-school, rather than out-of-school, challenges.
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Background This study investigates the causal relationships between reading and print exposure and investigates whether the amount children read outside school determines how well they read, or vice versa. Previous findings from behavioural studies suggest that reading predicts print exposure. Here, we use twin‐data and apply the behaviour‐genetic approach of direction of causality modelling, suggested by Heath et al. (1993), to investigate the causal relationships between these two traits. Method Partial data were available for a large sample of twin children (N = 11,559) and 262 siblings, all enrolled in the Netherlands Twin Register. Children were assessed around 7.5 years of age. Mothers completed questionnaires reporting children's time spent on reading activities and reading ability. Additional information on reading ability was available through teacher ratings and performance on national reading tests. For siblings reading test, results were available. Results The reading ability of the twins was comparable to that of the siblings and national norms, showing that twin findings can be generalized to the population. A measurement model was specified with two latent variables, Reading Ability and Print Exposure, which correlated .41. Heritability analyses showed that Reading Ability was highly heritable, while genetic and environmental influences were equally important for Print Exposure. We exploited the fact that the two constructs differ in genetic architecture and fitted direction of causality models. The results supported a causal relationship running from Reading Ability to Print Exposure. Conclusions How much and how well children read are moderately correlated. Individual differences in print exposure are less heritable than individual differences in reading ability. Importantly, the present results suggest that it is the children's reading ability that determines how much they choose to read, rather than vice versa.
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Print exposure is an important causal factor in reading development. Little is known, however, of the mechanisms through which print exposure exerts an effect onto reading. To address this gap, we examined the direct and indirect effects of print exposure on silent reading fluency among college students (n = 52). More specifically, we focused on phonetic decoding and sight word reading efficiency as potential mediators of the indirect effects of print exposure on silent reading fluency. Silent reading fluency was chosen as the outcome given that the natural reading experience occurs predominately in the silent mode. Results showed that the direct effect of print exposure on silent reading fluency was significant. Sight word reading efficiency partially mediated the indirect effect of print exposure on silent reading fluency. Phonetic decoding efficiency also partially mediated the indirect effect of print exposure on silent reading fluency, but only when followed by sight word reading efficiency to form a serial and joint mechanism (i.e., print exposure → phonetic decoding → sight word reading → silent reading fluency). Present findings highlight two mechanisms through which print exposure exerts an effect onto silent reading fluency, both of which involve sight word reading efficiency.
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The present study tested the hypothesis that underlying orthographic representations vary in completeness within the individual, which is manifested in both spelling accuracy and reading speed. Undergraduate students were trained to improve their spelling of difficult words. Word reading speed was then measured for these same words, allowing for a direct evaluation of whether improvements in spelling would bring about faster reading speeds. Results were clear: Spelling accuracy and reading speed were strongly related across and within participants. Most important, words that improved in spelling accuracy were read more rapidly at posttest than words that did not show improvement in spelling. These results provide direct evidence showing that the quality of orthographic representations, as indexed by spelling accuracy, directly relates to reading speed. This is consistent with the lexical quality hypothesis and highlights the relevance of spelling in literacy acquisition.
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Our ability to infer and understand others’ thoughts and feelings, known as theory of mind (ToM), has important consequences across the life span, supporting empathy, pro-social behavior, and coordination in groups. Socialization practices and interpersonal interactions help develop this capacity, and so does engaging with fiction. Research suggests that lifetime exposure to fiction predicts performance on ToM tests, but little evidence speaks to the type of fiction most responsible for this effect. We draw from literary theory and empirical work to propose that literary fiction is more likely than genre fiction to foster ToM, describe the development of a new method for assessing exposure to literary and popular genre fiction, and report findings from 3 samples testing the specificity of the relation between exposure to literary fiction and ToM. Results indicate that exposure to literary but not genre fiction positively predicts performance on a test of ToM, even when accounting for demographic variables including age, gender, educational attainment, undergraduate major (in 2 samples), and self-reported empathy (in 1 sample). These findings offer further evidence that habitual engagement with others’ minds, even fictional ones, may improve the psychological processes supporting intersubjectivity. We discuss their implications for understanding the impacts of fiction, and for models of culture more generally.
This study examines associations between leisure reading and reading skills in data of 2,525 students followed from age 7 to 16. As a step further from traditional cross‐lagged analysis, a random intercept cross‐lagged panel model was used to identify within‐person associations of leisure reading (books, magazines, newspapers, and digital reading), reading fluency, and reading comprehension. In Grades 1–3 poorer comprehension and fluency predicted less leisure reading. In later grades more frequent leisure reading, particularly of books, predicted better reading comprehension. Negative associations were found between digital reading and reading skills. The findings specify earlier findings of correlations between individuals by showing that reading comprehension improvement, in particular, is predicted by within‐individual increases in book reading.
Individuals who read more tend to have stronger verbal skills than those who read less. Interestingly, what you read may make a difference. Past studies have found that reading narrative fiction, but not expository nonfiction, predicts verbal ability. Why this difference exists is not known. Here we investigate one possibility: whether fiction texts contain more of the words typically evaluated by verbal ability measures compared to nonfiction texts. We employed corpus linguistic analyses to compare the frequency with which commonly tested SAT words appeared in both fiction and nonfiction texts, for 3 different corpora. Differences in SAT word frequency between the two genres were found to be negligible across all corpora. As a result, we conclude that there is little evidence that differences in word content between fiction and nonfiction texts can account for their differential relation to verbal ability. Other possible explanations are proposed for future research.
Individual readers vary greatly in the quality of their lexical representations, and consequently in how quickly and efficiently they can access orthographic and lexical knowledge. This variability may be explained, at least in part, by individual differences in exposure to printed language, because practice at reading promotes the development of stronger reading skills. In the present eyetracking experiment, we tested the hypothesis that the efficiency of word recognition during reading improves with increases in print exposure, by determining whether the magnitude of the repetition-priming effect is modulated by individual differences in scores on the author recognition test (ART). Lexical repetition of target words was manipulated across pairs of unrelated sentences that were presented on consecutive trials. The magnitude of the repetition effect was modulated by print exposure in early measures of processing, such that the magnitude of the effect was inversely related to scores on the ART. The results showed that low levels of print exposure, and thus lower-quality lexical representations, are associated with high levels of difficulty recognizing words, and thus with the greatest room to benefit from repetition. Furthermore, the interaction between scores on the ART and repetition suggests that print exposure is not simply an index of general reading speed, but rather that higher levels of print exposure are associated with an enhanced ability to access lexical knowledge and recognize words during reading.
This study examined the efficacy of a supplemental, multicomponent adolescent reading intervention for middle school students who scored below proficient on a state literacy assessment. Using a within-school experimental design, the authors randomly assigned 483 students in grades 6–8 to a business-as-usual control condition or to the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI), a supplemental reading program involving instruction to support word-reading skills, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, and peer talk to promote reading engagement and comprehension. The authors assessed behavioral engagement by measuring how much of the STARI curricular activities students completed during an academic school year, and collected intervention teachers' ratings of their students' reading engagement. STARI students outperformed control students on measures of word recognition (Cohen's d = 0.20), efficiency of basic reading comprehension (Cohen's d = 0.21), and morphological awareness (Cohen's d = 0.18). Reading engagement in its behavioral form, as measured by students' participation and involvement in the STARI curriculum, mediated the treatment effects on each of these three posttest outcomes. Intervention teachers' ratings of their students' emotional and cognitive engagement explained unique variance on reading posttests. Findings from this study support the hypothesis that (a) behavioral engagement fosters struggling adolescents' reading growth, and (b) teachers' perceptions of their students' emotional and cognitive engagement further contribute to reading competence.