Accepted in: Learning and Individual Differences
Direct and Indirect Contributions of Executive Function to Word Decoding and Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten
Stephanie L. Haft1,2, Jocelyn N. Caballero1, Hiroko Tanaka Ph.D3., Leo Zekelman4, Laurie E. Cutting Ph.D.5-7, Yuuko Uchikoshi Ed.D.8, Fumiko Hoeft M.D. Ph.D.1,7,9-10
Extant research is increasingly recognizing the contribution of executive function (EF) to reading comprehension alongside established predictors like word decoding and oral language. The nature of the association between EF and reading comprehension is commonly investigated in older children and in those with reading impairments. However, less is known about this relationship in emerging readers in kindergarten, where word decoding and reading comprehension are highly intertwined. Moreover, a better understanding of the mechanisms by which EF influences reading comprehension is needed. The present study investigated direct contributions of EF to reading comprehension, as well as indirect contributions via word decoding in 97 kindergarteners. Results indicated that there was a significant indirect effect of EF on reading comprehension, with word decoding mediating this association. The direct contribution of EF to reading comprehension was not significant. Implications for reading instruction and intervention for early readers are discussed.