Postgraduate Dissertation

How do different cognitive profiles and language backgrounds affect L2 students’ reading and spelling abilities in English?: An intervention-based study


This study presents the results of a small-scale intervention study attempted to explore the relationship between cognitive abilities and spelling and reading abilities in English by taking into consideration students’ language background. The aim is to provide educators with inclusive practices that promote multilingual students’ reading abilities. The study was conducted in an international school in Denmark with 20 multilingual students (age of the students 9-11), and consisted of three parts: a. The Identification Process, b. The Intervention Process and c. The Evaluation of the Intervention. During the Identification Process, students’ processing speed, working memory, reading and spelling abilities were assessed and parents were asked to give information for the students’ prior language experiences. Based on the results of the Identification Process, two experimental intervention groups and one control group were formed. The first experimental intervention group showed below average performance in processing speed and auditory working memory tasks. The intervention lasted for one month and focused on auditory processing and reading acceleration activities through the Fast ForWord Programme. The second experimental intervention group consisted of students that had been in an English speaking school for less than two years and their cognitive abilities were average or above. A combination of Reading Acceleration and a Vocabulary Based Intervention based on integrating home language use was implemented for one month. In the final part of this study, the targeted areas were re-assessed to show the effectiveness of the interventions. The results and the analyses of the cases showed that both intervention groups progressed in terms of reading compared to the control group, but the group with the auditory processing challenges showed slower progress. In terms of auditory processing, the first group showed progress, as students could give more accurate answers to backward span activities after the one-month implementation of the Fast ForWord Programme. Multiple regression analyses showed that phonemic segmentation, previous school experience and semantic fluency is correlated with accurate reading and that spelling can be predicted by visual memory and phonemic segmentation. Reading difficulties can be predicted by phonemic segmentation and semantic fluency. Last but not least, pedagogical implications and suggestions for future research are made.

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Strouvali, Styliani


Rights Holders: Strouvali, Styliani
Supervisors: Crisfield, Eowyn

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Education

Degree programme

MA Education



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