The complex nature of text reading difficulties: The case of bilingual children.

Raphiq Ibrahim, Suha Shibel, Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research examined the effect of nature of orthography on the development of reading acquisition among children acquiring Arabic and Hebrew. Speed and accuracy measures were examined in reading texts in Arabic and in Hebrew. It was found that Arabic speakers showed an almost equal control in reading both languages. Furthermore, it was found that the speed of reading texts in Arabic among Arabic speakers was 3 times slower than reading Hebrew texts among Hebrew readers. These findings confirm that there is difficulty in identifying and decoding visual stimuli in Arabic. Furthermore, findings of the present research paper emphasizes that reading in Hebrew is faster and more precise than reading in Arabic, beyond mother tongue groups (Arab and Hebrew speakers). In addition, Hebrew readers showed a significant difference in reading in favor of reading in their mother tongue (both in accuracy and speed). In conclusion, findings of the present research suggest that there is an objective difficulty in acquiring reading of the Arabic language, and there is need for systematic intervention among those who face difficulties in the learning process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1911-1921
Number of pages11
Issue number16
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2014


  • *Bilingualism
  • *Childhood Development
  • *Orthography
  • Reading Development


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