Early Screening for Decoding- and Language-Related Reading Difficulties in First and Third Grades

Rebecca D. Silverman, Daniel McNeish, Deborah L. Speece, Kristin D. Ritchey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the identification of end of first grade (n = 125) and end of third grade (n = 77) reading comprehension difficulties using beginning of first grade decoding-related and language-related predictors. Reading comprehension was defined using a composite of three standardized reading comprehension measures. Students at or below the 25th percentile on the reading comprehension composite were considered to have difficulty with reading comprehension. Sight word reading efficiency and sentence repetition predicted end of first grade reading comprehension difficulties. Sight word reading efficiency, sentence repetition, and oral discourse predicted end of third grade reading comprehension difficulties. Both screening batteries yielded high classification accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] = 94.7% in Grade 1 and AUC = 90.5% in Grade 3). Results are discussed in light of the research base on early screening for reading comprehension difficulties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalAssessment for Effective Intervention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • early literacy
  • reading/literacy
  • screening/benchmarking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • General Health Professions


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