Developing and validating an instrument to assess reading readiness in Egyptian kindergartners
Reading is a fundamental skill which all children need to acquire. Some youngsters struggle to learn to read. Research has shown that if children with reading difficulties are identified at an early age, preferably before grade 1, then the reasons behind their problem may be identified and an early intervention program implemented. In order to achieve early identification of reading problems,instruments have been developed for assessing individual abilities and skills in a number of countries, although not in Egypt. The purpose of this study was to develop a valid and reliable instrument to assess reading readiness in Egyptian kindergartners. Based on the literature review and the examination of English reading readiness instruments, an Arabic instrument (The Egyptian Reading Readiness Screening Profile, ERRSP) was developed and used in the present study. The ERRSP included the following sub-tests: print awareness, rapid letter naming, letter sound association, phonological awareness and orthographic processing. The ERRSP was administered to 60 Egyptian students at the end of their second year of kindergarten along with an English instrument (the Phonological Awareness Test, PAT) and an Arabic word reading test (AWRT). In addition, each classroom teacher rated the overall reading ability of each student on a 20-point scale. The students' scores on the ERRSP were correlated with their reading scores on the AWRT and with their teacher rating to determine the diagnostic validity of the ERRSP. The ERRSP correlated significantly with AWRT (.72, pe.01) and with the teacher rating (.61, pe.01). Furthermore, ERRSP correlated significantly with PAT (.60, p<.Ol) In addition, several regression analyses were carried out. The results of the regression analyses revealed that rapid letter naming, phonological awareness, print awareness and orthographic processing contributed significantly to the variation in the reading scores on AWRT. The research findings are compared to those of previous studies. The conclusions, limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.