Literacy skills and online research and comprehension: struggling readers face difficulties online

Laura Kanniainen, Carita Kiili, Asko Tolvanen, Mikko Aro, Paavo H.T. Leppänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The present study evaluated the extent to which literacy skills (reading fluency, written spelling, and reading comprehension), together with nonverbal reasoning, prior knowledge, and gender, are related to students’ online research and comprehension (ORC) performance. The ORC skills of 426 sixth graders were measured using a Finnish adaptation of the Online Research and Comprehension Assessment. Results of a structural equation model showed that these ORC skills were divided into six highly correlated factors, and that they formed a common factor in ORC. Altogether, these predictor variables explained 57% of the variance in ORC. Reading comprehension, along with gender, was the strongest predictor for ORC performance. In addition, reading fluency and written spelling explained ORC variance over and above reading comprehension. These findings suggest that struggling readers probably face difficulties online.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2201-2222
Number of pages22
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Comprehension
  • Digital literacy
  • Fluency
  • Information literacy
  • Internet
  • Online reading
  • Struggling readers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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