Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Maria Carlo

Second Committee Member

Jeanne Schumm

Third Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Fourth Committee Member

Rebecca Shearer

Fifth Committee Member

Daryl Greenfield


This study examined the unique contributions of morphological awareness and phonological recoding to word decoding, reading comprehension, and reading vocabulary for 197 Spanish-speaking English language learners enrolled in the fifth grade. The study also explored the contribution of phonological recoding, measured by accuracy on a pseudo-word decoding task, to the prediction of the same components of reading achievement. Specifically the study explored whether the contribution of phonological recoding changed when morphological awareness and oral vocabulary (a mediator of reading achievement) were added as predictors. To examine unique contributions, morphological awareness was separated from phonological and orthographic confounds present in opaque morphological relationships by using structural equation modeling to construct a latent variable stemming from the shared variance of four morphological tasks with different levels of morphological transparency, and therefore different phonological and orthographic processing demands. A latent variable of phonological recoding was also created. Findings indicated that when controlling for phonological recoding, morphological awareness made a significant and meaningful contribution to passage comprehension and reading vocabulary, but not word decoding with oral vocabulary acting as a significant mediator of this relationship. The study also found that phonological recoding was a significant predictor of each reading outcome when morphological awareness was not included as a predictor, but only significantly predicted word reading when controlling for morphological awareness. Significance of these findings to research and the need for additional morphological instruction within educational settings are discussed.


Vocabulary; Phonological Recoding; Decoding; Reading Achievement; ELL; Morphology; Comprehension