Measures and References: Foundational Reading Skills

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Numerous measures exist to gain a full picture of a student's learning strengths and challenges. Following are examples of measures used to assess this Learner Factor. These measures should be administered and interpreted by experienced professionals.

Woodcock-Johnson® III NU Tests of AchievementWoodcock-Johnson® III NU Tests of Achievement _ (Woodcock et al., 2001): This multi-battery assessment measures various components of literacy in adults, including word reading, fluency, letter identification, and reading comprehension.


Alamprese, J. A., MacArthur, C. A., Price, C., & Knight, D. (2011). Effects of a structured decoding curriculum on adult literacy learners' reading development. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4(2), 154-172.

Binder, K., & Borecki, C. (2008). The use of phonological, orthographic, and contextual information during reading: A comparison of adults who are learning to read and skilled adult readers. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 21(8), 843-858

Binder, K.S., Chace, K. H., & Manning, M. C. (2007). Sentential and discourse context effects: adults who are learning to read compared with skilled readers. Journal of Research in Reading, 30(4), 360-378.

Braze, D., Tabor, W., Shankweiler, D. P., & Mencl, W. E. (2007). Speaking up for vocabulary: Reading skill differences in young adults. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(3), 226-243.

Calhoon, M. B., Scarborough, H. S., & Miller, B. (2013). Interventions for struggling adolescent and adult readers: Instructional, learner, and situational differences._ Reading and Writing, 26, _489-494.

Carrell, P. L. (1983). Three components of background knowledge in reading comprehension. Language Learning, 33(2), 183-203.

Cavalli, E., Duncan, L. G., Elbro, C., El Ahmadi, A., & Cole, P. (2017). Phonemic—Morphemic dissociation in university students with dyslexia: An index of reading compensation?. Annals of Dyslexia, 67(1), 63-84.

Cockcroft, K., & Israel, N. (2011). The Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices: A comparison of relationships with verbal ability tests. South African Journal of Psychology, 41(3), 363-372.

Davidson, K.E., & Strucker, J. (2002). Patterns of word-recognition errors among adult basic education native and nonnative speakers of English. Scientific Studies of Reading, 6(3), 299-316.

Edwards, J. D., Walley, A. C., & Ball, K. K. (2003). Phonological, visual and temporal processing in adults with and without reading disability. Reading and Writing, 16(8), 737-758.

Ferrara, A. M., & Panlilio, C. C. (2020). The role of metacognition in explaining the relationship between early adversity and reading comprehension. Children and Youth Services Review, 112, 104884.

Freel, B. L., Clark, M. D., Anderson, M. L., Gilbert, G. L., Musyoka, M. M., & Hauser, P. C. (2011). Deaf individuals' bilingual abilities: American Sign Language proficiency, reading skills, and family characteristics. Psychology, 2(01), 18-23.

Grabe, W. (2014). Key issues in L2 reading development. In Proceedings of the 4th CELC Symposium for English Language Teachers-Selected Papers (pp. 8-18).

Grace, A., Kemp, N., Martin, F. H., & Parrila, R. (2014). Undergraduates' text messaging language and literacy skills. Reading and Writing, 27(5), 855-873.

Greenberg, D. (2013). Adult literacy: The state of the field. Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 39(2), 9-11.

Greenberg, D., Wise, J., Frijters, J., Morris, R., Fredrick, L., Rodrigo, V., & Hall, S. (2013). Persisters and nonpersisters: Identifying who stays and who leaves from adult literacy interventions. Reading and Writing, 26(4), 495-514.

Greenberg, D., Wise, J. C., Morris, R., Fredrick, L. D., Rodrigo, V., Nanda, A. O., & Pae, H. K. (2011). A randomized control study of instructional approaches for struggling adult readers. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4(2), 101-117.

Gu, C., & Bi, H. Y. (2020). Auditory processing deficit in individuals with dyslexia: A meta-analysis of mismatch negativity. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 116, 396-405.

Hamalainen, J. A., Salminen, H. K., & Leppanen, P. H. (2013). Basic auditory processing deficits in dyslexia: Systematic review of the behavioral and event-related potential/field evidence. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46(5), 413-427.

Harrison, G. L. (2009). The component reading and writing skills of at-risk undergraduates with writing difficulties. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 7(2), 59-72.

Hall, R., Greenberg, D., Laures-Gore, J., & Pae, H. K. (2014). The relationship between expressive vocabulary knowledge and reading skills for adult struggling readers. Journal of Research in Reading, 37(S1), S87-S100.

Hock, M. F., & Mellard, D. F. (2011). Efficacy of learning strategies instruction in adult education. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4(2), 134-153.

Johnson, R. E. (2003). Aging and the remembering of text. Developmental Review, 23(3), 261-346.

Kemper, S., Kynette, D., Rash, S., O'Brien, K., & Sprott, R. (1989). Life-span changes to adults' language: Effects of memory and genre. Applied Psycholinguistics, 10(1), 49-66.

Klein, C., DeRouin, R.E., and Salas, E. (2006). Uncovering workplace interpersonal skills: A review, framework, and research agenda. In G.P. Hodgkinson and J.K. Ford (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (vol. 21, pp. 80-126). John Wiley & Sons.

Kurvers, J., Van Hout, R., & Vallen, T. (2009). Print awareness of adult illiterates: A comparison with young pre-readers and low-educated adult readers. Reading and Writing, 22(8), 863-887.

Leikin, M., & Hagit, E. Z. (2006). Morphological processing in adult dyslexia. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 35(6), 471-490.

Lipnevich, A., & Beder, H. (2007). Self-esteem among adult literacy learners. Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, 1(2), 73-82.

MacArthur, C.A., & Lembo, L. (2009). Strategy instruction in writing for adult literacy learners. Reading and Writing, 22(9) 1021-1039.

Mano, Q. R., Williamson, B. J., Pae, H. K., & Osmon, D. C. (2016). Stroop interference associated with efficient reading fluency and prelexical orthographic processing. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 38(3), 275-283.

Mellard, D. F., & Fall, E. (2012). Component model of reading comprehension for adult education participants. Learning Disability Quarterly, 35(1), 10-23.

Mellard, D. F., Woods, K. L., & Lee, J. H. (2016). Literacy profiles of at-risk young adults enrolled in career and technical education. Journal of Research in Reading, 39(1), 88-108.

Miller, L.M.S., and West, R.L. (2009). The effects of age, control beliefs, and feedback on self-regulation of reading and problem solving. Experimental Aging Research, 36(1), 40-63.

Miranda, A., Mercader, J., Fernandez, M. I., & Colomer, C. (2017). Reading performance of young adults with ADHD diagnosed in childhood: Relations with executive functioning. Journal of Attention Disorders, 21(4), 294-304.

Mol, S. E., & Bus, A. G. (2011). To read or not to read: a meta-analysis of print exposure from infancy to early adulthood. Psychological Bulletin, 137(2), 267-296.

Nalavany, B. A., Logan, J. M., & Carawan, L. W. (2017). The relationship between emotional experience with dyslexia and work self‐efficacy among adults with dyslexia. Dyslexia, 24(1), 17-32.

Nanda, A., Greenberg, D., Morris, R. (2014). Reliability and validity of the CTOPP Elision and Blending Words subtests for struggling adult readers. Reading and Writing, 27(9), 1603-1618.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Highlights of the 2017 U.S. PIAAC Results Web Report (NCES 2020-777). U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved December 11, 2019 from

Nelson, J. M., & Liebel, S. W. (2018). Socially desirable responding and college students with dyslexia: implications for the assessment of anxiety and depression. Dyslexia, 24(1), 44-58.

Ng, S., Payne, B. R., Stine-Morrow, E. A., & Federmeier, K. D. (2018). How struggling adult readers use contextual information when comprehending speech: Evidence from event-related potentials. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 125, 1-9.

Pae, H., Greenberg, D., & Morris, R. (2012). Construct validity and measurement invariance of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test performance of struggling adult readers. Language Assessment Quarterly, 9(2), 152-171.

Pae, H. K., Greenberg, D., & Williams, R. S. (2012). An analysis of differential response patterns on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-IIIB in struggling adult readers and third-grade children. Reading and Writing, 25(6), 1239-1258.

Park, J., Yang, J., & Hsieh, Y. C. (2014). University level second language readers' online reading and comprehension strategies. Language Learning & Technology, 18(3), 148-172.

Patterson, M.B., & Mellard, D.F (2007). Program characteristics that predict improved learner outcomes. Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, 1(2), 83-92.

Rodrigo, V, Greenberg, D., Segal, D. (2014). Changes in reading habits by low literate adults through extensive reading. Reading in a Foreign Language, 26(1), 73-91.

Ronen, M., Lifshitz-Ben-Basat, A., Taitelbaum-Swead, R., & Fostick, L. (2018). Auditory temporal processing, reading, and phonological awareness among aging adults. Acta Psychologica, 190, 1-10.

Sabatini, J. P., Shore, J., Holtzman, S., Scarborough, H. S. (2011). Relative effectiveness of reading intervention programs for adults with low literacy. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4(2), 118-133.

Sadusky, A., Reupert, A. E., Freeman, N. C., & Berger, E. P. (2021). Diagnosing adults with dyslexia: Psychologists' experiences and practices. Dyslexia, 27(4), 468-485.

Sage, K., Augustine, H., Shand, H., Bakner, K., & Rayne, S. (2019). Reading from print, computer, and tablet: Equivalent learning in the digital age. Education and Information Technologies, 24(4), 2477-2502.

Sage, K., Piazzini, M., Downey IV, J. C., & Masilela, L. (2020). Reading from print, laptop computer, and e-reader: Differences and similarities for college students' learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 1-20.

Saiegh-Haddad, E. (2003). Bilingual oral reading fluency and reading comprehension: The case of Arabic/Hebrew (L1)-; English (L2) readers. Reading and Writing, 16(8), 717-736.

Scarborough, H. S., Sabatini, J. P., Shore, J., Cutting, L. E., Pugh, K., & Katz, L. (2013). Meaningful reading gains by adult literacy learners. Reading and Writing, 26(4), 593-613.

Sherratt, S., & Bryan, K. (2019). Textual cohesion in oral narrative and procedural discourse: the effects of ageing and cognitive skills. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 54(1), 95-109.

Silvestri, J. A. (2016). An analysis of the reading strategies used by deaf and hearing adults: Similarities and differences in phonological processing and metacognition [Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University].

St. Clair, R. (2008). Reading, writing, and relationships: Human and social capital in family literacy programs. Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, 2(2), 84-93.

Talwar, A., Greenberg, D., & Li, H. (2020). Identifying profiles of struggling adult readers: relative strengths and weaknesses in lower-level and higher-level competencies. Reading and Writing, 1-17.

Talwar, A., L. Tighe, E., & Greenberg, D. (2018). Augmenting the simple view of reading for struggling adult readers: A unique role for background knowledge. Scientific Studies of Reading, 22(5), 351-366.

Taylor, N., Greenberg, D., Laures-Gore, J., & Wise, J. (2012). Exploring the syntactic skills of struggling adult readers. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25(6), 1385-1402.

Tighe, E. L., & Schatschneider, C. (2016). Examining the relationships of component reading skills to reading comprehension in struggling adult readers: A meta-analysis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(4), 395-409.

Tindall, E., & Nisbet, D. (2010). Exploring the essential components of reading. Journal of Adult Education, 39(1), 1-9.

Thompkins, A.C., & Binder, K. S. (2003). A comparison of the factors affecting reading performance of functionally illiterate adults and children matched by reading level. Reading Research Quarterly, 38(2), 236-258.

Wilson, A. J., Andrewes, S. G., Struthers, H., Rowe, V. M., Bogdanovic, R., & Waldie, K. E. (2015). Dyscalculia and dyslexia in adults: Cognitive bases of comorbidity. Learning and Individual Differences, 37, 118-132.

Windisch, H. C. (2016). How to motivate adults with low literacy and numeracy skills to engage and persist in learning: A literature review of policy interventions. International Review of Education, 62(3), 279-297.

Woodcock, R. W., McGrew, K. S., & Mather, N. (2001). Woodcock-Johnson® III NU Tests of Achievement. Rolling Meadows, IL: Riverside.

Wrigley, H.S., Chen, J., White, S., & Soroui, J. (2009) Assessing the literacy skills of adult immigrants and adult English language learners. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2009(121), 5-24.