THE CONTRIBUTION OF SHORT-TERM MEMORY, WORKING MEMORY AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS TO THE LINGUISTIC ACHIEVEMENT OF GREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN: IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIVE LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

Georgios A. Moutsinas, Theodora E. Kroustali, Emmanouela Mamalaki, Aikaterini Papanagnou, Efthymia Papanagnou, Evanthia K. Tsaliki

Abstract


The present study delved into the involvement of Greek-speaking middle primary school children’s mnemonic recourses and demographic features in their performance in language tests. One hundred and seventy-six students aged 8.50-12.05 (mean age = 10.11 years) participated. The native language of the sample differed from English, in which most investigations have been conducted. Children’s verbal short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) capacity were assessed with a simple verbal retention measure (straight digit recall) and a task requiring parallel storage and processing of verbal information (backward digit recall), respectively. Pupils’ vocabulary knowledge was estimated through an assignment of expressive vocabulary. Children were also administered a reading fluency and a reading comprehension task. Pearson’s r and Spearman’s rho correlation coefficients showed that students’ verbal STM and WM significantly correlated with their reading fluency and text comprehension, accordingly. In addition, by employing simple linear regression analysis, increase in participants’ age was found to predict their extended reading fluency, while one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of independent samples revealed that vocabulary knowledge varied, being subject to pupils’ school grade. Lastly, independent samples t-test demonstrated no substantial difference in reading fluency between the two genders of children. Current findings are discussed in relation to participants’ age growth, their cumulating linguistic experience and the historical properties of the Greek language, indicating the need for further research that takes into account the unique and multifaceted nature of readers’ profile and outlining a few connotations for literacy instruction.

 

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verbal short-term memory (STM), verbal working memory (WM), demographical attributes, linguistic performance/attainment, language tests, reading fluency, reading comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, language development, middle school-age children

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v0i0.2998

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