The Role of Distal and Proximal Cognitive Processes in Literacy Skills in Greek
AuthorPapadopoulos, Timothy C.
Georgiou, George K.
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Place of publicationCham
SourceReading-Writing Connections: Towards Integrative Literacy Science
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Phonological awareness (PA) and rapid automatized naming (RAN) are established proximal predictors of word reading fluency and spelling. Information processing skills, such as successive and simultaneous processing, are also known as distal predictors of word reading. Despite these findings, no studies have examined the joint contribution of these distal and proximal cognitive skills to literacy skills. The present study addresses this limitation by examining the respective relations in a reading-spelling integrated model with a group of young readers followed from Grade 1 to Grade 2. In this model, reading and spelling were specified as indicators of a latent variable, namely literacy, which, in turn, reflected the latent source of the variance shared between reading and spelling. The results of structural equation modeling showed that the literacy skills were predicted by both distal and proximal cognitive processes regardless of age. In Grade 1, distal cognitive processes predicted literacy skills through both RAN and phonological awareness. In Grade 2, only successive processing predicted literacy skills through RAN and phonological awareness. Simultaneous processing predicted literacy skills directly. These findings suggest that there is a higher demand for distal cognitive processes in the early phases of literacy development that allows the deployment of proximal processes and, subsequently of reading and spelling, and that the role of these processes changes as a result of literacy development.