Document Type : Research Paper


Yasouj University


The cognitive predictors (i.e.,Phonological Awareness, and Rapid Automatized Naming) underlying reading achievement have not been researched in Iranian partial English immersion and non-immersion programs. The present study sought to investigate the relationship between English and Persian Phonological Awareness (PA), Rapid Autamatized Naming (RAN) and reading achievementof Iranian students in partial immersion and non-immersion programs. To this end, one hundred forty five students from three different grade levels in a partial English immersion program and 95 students from three different grade levels in a non-immersion program were chosen. Six different English and Persian tests were utilized (namely, the Cambridge English for Young Learners (YLE) test for Reading,the Persian reading achievement test, the English and Persian Phonological AwarenessSound Detection tests, and the English and Persian Rapid Automatized Naming Tests). Given the design of the study, a number of statistical tests were run. The main findingswere as follows: learners’ reading achievement could significantly be predicted through both English and Persian PA and RAN.Furthermore, learning English in a partial English immersion system improves learners’ reading achievement and cognitive predictors compared with non-immersion program. The findings suggest that by teaching learners PA and RAN skills, their reading achievement improves in both English and Persian.


Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Sorensen, C. & Razavieh, A. (2010). Introduction to Research in Education (8th Ed.). USA: Wadsworth.       
Badian, N.A., McAnulty G.B., Duffy F.H., & Als, H. (1990). Prediction of dyslexia in kindergarten boys. Annals of Dyslexia, 40,152–69.
Barlik, H.C., & Swain, M., (1975). Three-year evaluation of large scale early grade French immersion program: the Ottawa study. Language learning, 25(1), 1-30.
Bowers, P.G., & Wolf, M. (1993). Theoretical links among naming speed, precise timing mechanisms, and orthographic skill in dyslexia. Reading and Writing, 6, 69-86.
Brinton, D., Snow, M.A., & Wesche, M. (2003). Content-based second language instruction. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Brown, D. H., (2001). Teaching by Principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy, (2nded). San Francisco: Pearson Education Company.
Bruck, M., & Genesee, F. (1995). Phonological awareness in young second language learners. Journal of Child Language, 22, 307-324.
Burgess, S. R., & Lonigan, C. J. (1998). Bidirectional relations of phonological sensitivity and pre-reading abilities: Evidence from a preschool sample. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 70, 117–141.
Cambridge ESOL (2007). Cambridge Young Learners English Tests - Handbook. University of Cambridge, ESOL Examinations.
Campbell, R., & Sais, E. (1995). Accelerated metalinguistic (phonological) awareness in bilingual children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13, 61–68.
Catts, H.W., Gillispie, M., Leonard, L. B., Kail, R. V., & Miller, C.A. (2002). The role of speed of processing, rapid naming, and Phonological Awareness in reading achievement. Journal of Learning Disability, 35, 510–25.
Chen, X., Anderson, R. C., Li, W., Hao M., Wu, X., & Shu, H. (2004). Phonological awareness of bilingual and monolingual Chinese children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 142-151.
Cheng, L., Li, M., Kirby, J. R., Wade-Woolley, L., & Qiang, H. (2008). Second Language Immersion and Students’ Academic Success. Manuscript in preparation.
Comeau, L., Cormier, P., Grandmaison, E., & Lacroix, D. (1999).A longitudinal study of phonological processing skills in children learning to read in a second language. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 29-43.
Cummins, J., Carson, D. (Eds.). (1997). Bilingual education. Dordrecht: The Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
de Bot, K. (2000). An early start for foreign languages in the Netherlands. In R.D. Lambert, E. Goldberg Shohamy, A.R. Walton (eds.). Language Policy and Pedagogy: Essays in Honor of A. Ronald Walton
           (pp. 129-138). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
de Courcy, M., & Burston, M. (2000). Learning mathematics through French in Australia. Language and Education, 14 (2), 75-95.
Denckla, M. B., & Rudel R. (1974). Rapid automatized naming of pictured objects, colors, letters and numbers by normal children. Cortex, 10,186–202.
Denton, C.A., Hasbrouck, J. E., Weaver, L. R. & veRiccio, C.A. (2000). What do we know about Phonological Awareness in Spanish? Reading Psychology, 21, 335–352.
Donaldson. C., (1989). A comparison of the French and English reading skills of grade four students enrolled in two French immersion programs. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Simon Fraser University.
Durgunoglu, A. Y., Nagy, W. E., & Hancin-Bhatt, B. J. (1993). Cross-language transfer of Phonological Awareness. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(3), 453−465.
Genesee, F. (1992).Second/foreign language immersion and at-risk English-speaking children. Foreign Language Annals, 25, 199–213.
Genesee, F., (1979).A comparison of early and late immersion programs. McGill University, Montreal (mimeo).
Geva, E., & Wang, M. (2001). The development of basic reading skills in children: A cross-language perspective. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, 182-204.
Goswami, U., & Bryant, P. (1990). Phonological skills and learning to read. United Kingdom: Erlbaum.
Gupta, A.F. (1994). The step-tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.
Kirby, J. R., Parrila, R., & Pfeiffer, S.L. (2003). Naming speed and Phonological Awareness as predictors of reading development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 453–464.
Lapkin, S., Hart, D., & Turnbull, M. (2003).Grade 6 French immersion students’ performance on large-scale reading, writing and mathematics tests: Building explanations. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 49, 6-23.
Li, M. (2008).Cognitive predictors of reading achievement in Chinese English immersion students. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Queens University.
Lyster, R. (2007). Learning and teaching languages through content: a counterbalanced approach. Philadelphia: John Benjamin’s Publishing Company.
Neuhaus, G. E., & Swank, P. R. (2002). Understanding the relations between RAN letter subtest components and word reading in first-grade students. Journal of Learning Disability, 35,158–74.
McBride-Chang, C., Bialystok, E., Chong, K. K. Y., & Li, Y. P. (2002).Levels of Phonological Awareness in three cultures. Experimental Child Psychology, 89, 93- 111.
Manis, F. R., Seidenberg, M.S., & Doi, L. M., (1999). See Dick Ran: Rapid naming and the longitudinal prediction of reading sub-skills in first and second graders. Scientific Studies of Reading 3, 129–157.
Qiang, H. Y., Siegel, L. (2004). Introduction of the development of second language immersion program in Canada. Comparative Education Review, 7, 1-7.
Richards, J.C., & Rogers, T. S. (2001). Approach and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.
Rubin, L. B., (2011). Phonological processing. Retrieved June 25, 2011 from
Rubin, H., & Turner, A. (1989). Linguistic awareness skills in grade one children in a French immersion setting. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1, 73–86.
Scarborough, H. S. (1998). Early identification of children at risk for reading disabilities: Phonological awareness and some other promising predictors. In B. K. Shapiro, P. J. Accardo, & A. J. Capute (Eds.). Specific reading disability: A view of the spectrum (pp. 75–119). Timonium, MD: York Press.
Shankweiler, D.P., Lundquist, E., Katz, L., Stuebing, K.K., Fletcher, J.M., Brady, S., Fowler, A., Dreyer, L.G., Marchione, K.E., Shaywitz, S.E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (1999). Comprehension and decoding: Patterns of association in children with reading difficulties. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 69-94.
Share, D. (2008). On the anglocentricities of current reading research and practice: The perils of overreliance on an “outlier” orthography. Psychological Bulletin, 134(4), 584−615.
Stanovich, K. E. (1991). Cognitive science meets beginning reading. Psychological Science, 2, 70–81.
Torgesen, J. K., Wagner, R. K., & Rashotte, C.A. (1997). Prevention and remediation of sever reading disabilities: keeping the end in mind. Scientific studies of reading, 1, 217-370.
Torgesen, J. K., Wagner, R. K., Rashotte, C.A., Burgess, S., Hecht, S. (1997). Contributions of Phonological Awareness and rapid automatic naming ability to the growth of word-reading skills in second-to fifth-grade children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 1, 161-185.
Turnbull, M., Lapkin, S., & Hart, D. (2001). Grade 3 immersion students’ performance in literacy and mathematics: Province-wide results from Ontario (1989–1999). The Canadian Modern Language Review, 58, 9–26.
Wade-Woolley, L., & Geva, E. (2000).Processing novel phonemic contrasts in the acquisition of L2 word reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 4, 295-312.
Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J., Rashotte, C., Hecht, S., Barker, T., Burgess, S., Donahue, J., & Garon, T. (1997). Changing relations between phonological processing abilities and word-level reading as children develop from beginning to skilled readers: A 5-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 33, 468-479.
Wagner, R. K., & Barker, T. A. (1994). The development of orthographic processing ability. In V. W. Berninger (Ed.). The varieties of orthographic knowledge. I: Theoretical and developmental issues (pp. 243–276). Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J. K., & Rashotte, C.A. (1994). Development of reading related phonological processing abilities: New evidence of bidirectional causality from a latent variable longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 30, 73-87.
Wagner, R., & Torgesen, J. K. (1987). The nature of phonological processing and its causal role in the acquisition of reading skills. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 192−212.
Wolf, M., & Bowers, P.G. (1999).The double-deficit hypothesis for the developmental dyslexia. Journal of Education Psychology, 91, 415–38.
Yelland, G. W., Polland, J., & Mercuri, A. (1993). The metalinguistics benefits of limited contact with a second language. Applied Psycholinguistics, 14, 423-444.