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Keywords:

  • reading comprehension;
  • morphological awareness;
  • vocabulary;
  • word reading efficiency;
  • adolescents;
  • comparative studies

This study tested three hypotheses about the direct and indirect contributions of derivational morphological awareness to English reading comprehension in sixth-grade students from differing language backgrounds (n= 952). Students included Spanish-speaking, Filipino-speaking, and Vietnamese-speaking language minority learners as well as native English speakers. Multiple-group structural equation modeling indicated that morphological awareness made a significant direct contribution to reading comprehension, controlling for reading vocabulary and word reading fluency. Morphological awareness also made a significant indirect contribution to reading comprehension via reading vocabulary, but not via word reading fluency. Effects were similar across the four language groups. Findings suggest that morphological awareness may play multiple important roles in English reading comprehension for students from a variety of home language backgrounds.