Reconsidering the Simple View of Reading in an Intriguing Case of Equivalent Models: Commentary on Tunmer and Chapman (2012)

Richard K. Wagner*, Sarah K. Herrera, Mercedes Spencer, Jamie M. Quinn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Recently, Tunmer and Chapman provided an alternative model of how decoding and listening comprehension affect reading comprehension that challenges the simple view of reading. They questioned the simple view’s fundamental assumption that oral language comprehension and decoding make independent contributions to reading comprehension by arguing that one component of oral language comprehension (vocabulary) affects decoding. They reported results from hierarchical regression analyses, exploratory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling to justify their conclusion. Their structural equation modeling results provided the strongest and most direct test of their alternative view. However, they incorrectly specified their simple view model. When correctly specified, the simple view of reading model and an alternative model in which listening comprehension affects decoding provide identically good fits to the data. This results from the fact that they are equivalent models. Although Tunmer and Chapman’s results do not support their assertion that a model in which oral language comprehension affects decoding provides a better fit to their data, the presence of equivalent models provides an ironic twist: The mountain of evidence that supports the simple view of reading provides equivalent support to their alternative interpretation. Additional studies are needed to differentiate these two theoretical accounts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 13 2015


  • comprehension
  • individual difference predictors of reading
  • quantitative
  • reading
  • research method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Health Professions(all)


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