Korean EFL Children’s Working Memory, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension: A Path Analysis Approach

Jiwon Shin


This study aims to investigate the relationships among working memory, vocabulary acquisition, and reading comprehension for young English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners in South Korea. To identify children’s working memory, receptive vocabulary knowledge, and reading comprehension skills, the conceptual span task, picture vocabulary size test, and STAR reading test were conducted with 88 children. The results of this study are as follows. First, the influence of vocabulary acquisition on reading comprehension was found to be significant. Second, working memory had a direct effect on vocabulary acquisition but not on reading comprehension. These results imply that working memory should be considered as one of the several factors that can influence vocabulary acquisition. Furthermore, it is necessary to reduce the working memory requirement to prevent learners’ memories from being overloaded.


young learners; working memory; vocabulary acquisition; reading comprehension

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