This study addresses the predictive effects of reading aloud and silent reading on the fourth grade level English language learner (ELL) children. Reading aloud was recommended as a teaching practice to develop phonological awareness, an essential skill for meaningful reading comprehension. However, according to the theories of second language acquisition, ELL children at intermediate grade may transfer their first language reading skills in English reading and they may have outgrown the intensive training of phonological awareness by the fourth grade. Therefore, I contend that silent reading is more effective for intermediate grade level ELL children to develop English reading comprehension. The quantitative analyses of data collected from two large datasets, PIRLS and NAEP, indicate that reading aloud predicts negative effect while silent reading predicts positive predictive effect on ELL children’ reading performance at fourth grade. My study suggests that at intermediate or higher grades ELL children should be encouraged to read silently.
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