Sabrina Piccinin Serena Dal Maso

Investigating factors affecting reading comprehension in second-generation pupils: the role of morphological skills

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Most of the foreign pupils attending school in Italy are secondgeneration migrants, i.e., children who were born and raised in Italy by immigrant parents and who often grow as bilingual. Although such children typically develop native-like communication skills in Italian and perform better in school compared to their first-generation peers. their outcomes are often significantly different from those of their native peers, with most difficulties being found in textual comprehension. In our study, we propose to evaluate the role of some of the potential factors affecting the reading comprehension performances of middle school second-generation pupils in Italian, with a special focus on the role of a less studied factor, i.e., knowledge of derivational morphology. Participants were assessed in reading comprehension, word and nonword reading, receptive vocabulary, grammar knowledge, and morphological knowledge, i.e., morphological structure awareness and morphological analysis. Our findings on Italian are in line with the literature on English and other languages in confirming the robust association between morphological knowledge and reading comprehension skills. In particular, it was found that, among the variables related to morphological knowledge, only morphological analysis made a unique contribution to reading comprehension.


  • childhood bilingualism
  • Italian
  • reading comprehension
  • morphological awareness
  • morphological analysis


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