Percentile Norms for an Early Reading Assessment in Malay

Keywords: percentile norms; transparent orthography; Malay language; young children; reading difficulties; early reading; assessment battery


The study aimed to develop percentile norms on early reading proficiency among young elementary school children. These percentile norms were derived from a suite of early reading assessments in Malay administered to 866 Primary One (Grade 1 equivalent) school children from multilingual and multi-ethnic backgrounds. During testing, the children (462 males and 404 females) were approximately seven years old. The early reading assessment battery included measures such as letter writing, letter name knowledge, letter name fluency, rapid automatised naming, phonological awareness comprising elision, phonological memory, spelling, word reading accuracy, word reading efficiency, oral reading fluency, reading comprehension, vocabulary comprising expressive vocabulary and receptive vocabulary, and listening comprehension. These percentile norms are useful for the early identification and intervention of young children with reading difficulties and reading disabilities from multilingual communities whose languages include Malay, a transparent orthography. The implications of using the norms data for the diagnosis and classification of children with reading difficulties are discussed.

Author Biographies

Julia Ai Cheng Lee, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Associate Professor Dr Julia Lee obtained her PhD in Special Education from Florida State University. Her research interests include children with specific learning disabilities, inclusive education, early language and literacy interventions for pre-schoolers and children with reading disabilities.


Seung-Jin Lee, Sehan University

Dr Seung-Jin Lee is an Assistant Professor. She obtained her PhD in Statistics and Measurement from Florida State University. Her research interests include the application of statistical methodology in the areas of education and psychology and the effects of educational toys on children’s achievement.

Puay Hoon Ong, Dyslexia Association of Sarawak

Dr Ong Puay Hoon obtained her PhD in Cognitive Science from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She is the President of Dyslexia Association of Sarawak.


Zaimuariffudin Shukri bin Nordin, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Associate Professor Zaimuariffudin Shukri bin Nordin obtained his PhD in Education from University of Exeter. His research interests are in sustainability and education.

Nur Fatihah Mat Yusoff, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Nur Fatihah Mat Yusoff obtained her MSc in Statistics from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interest is in teaching and learning of mathematics.


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How to Cite
LEE, J. A. C., Lee, S.-J., Ong, P. H., Nordin, Z. S., & Mat Yusoff, N. F. (2022). Percentile Norms for an Early Reading Assessment in Malay. Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, 8(1), 1-17.