ALSPAC – Age 9 – Neale Analysis Of Reading Ability (NARA II)

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The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 9 sweep (Focus@9) using the Neale Analysis Of Reading Ability (NARA II) measure.

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


Domain:Verbal (reading ability)
Measures:Lexical Knowledge
Communication Ability
Verbal comprehension
Verbal expression
Reading speed
Reading decoding
CHC:Gc (Crystallized Intelligence
Grw (Reading/Writing)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; clinical setting; oral answers
Procedure:The Neale Analysis of Reading Ability (NARA II) was used to assess reading comprehension. The child was presented with a booklet containing short passages of text (accompanied with illustrations). They were asked to read each passage and then asked a series of questions about the story they had just read. The test involved three stories of increasing difficulty (level 1-3). A practice trial was administered first, and if the child made more than 17 errors on the practice passage, they were not asked the comprehension questions and the tester moved straight on to the level one story. All other children moved on to the level two story unless the tester felt that they had particular difficulty with reading the practice passage. If the child made less than three errors on the level two story the tester proceeded to level three. If, however, the child made 3 or more errors on level two, the comprehension questions were administered but the tester moved down to the level one story. For the remaining test passages the child was not asked the comprehension questions if they made more than 16 errors (20 on level six) and the session was ended. The comprehension questions were asked as soon as the child had finished reading. For each question, the child was given 10 to 12 seconds to respond.
Link to questionnaire:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/researchers/our-data/clinical-measures/ (opens in new tab)
Scoring:The time taken, number of passages read, number of errors and comprehension scores were recorded. Standardised scores were calculated based on 1546 children (750 boys and 796 girls) in school years 1 to 7 in the UK (Neale, 1997).
Item-level variable(s):f9sn700 - f9sn707a
Total score/derived variable(s):f9sn800, f9sn801, f9sn802
Descriptives:Words per minute (raw)Accuracy (raw)Comprehension (raw)
N = 6,918N = 6,937N = 6,937
Range = 14 - 394Range = 0 - 100Range = 0 - 44
Mean = 80.69Mean = 66.03Mean = 24.95
SD = 27.71SD = 20.56SD = 7.84
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Words per minute (standardised)Accuracy (standardised)Comprehension (standardised)
N = 6,918N = 6,937N = 6,937
Range = 69 - 131Range = 69 - 131Range = 69 - 131
Mean = 105.10Mean = 103.64Mean = 99.86
SD = 12.55SD = 13.68SD = 11.90
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Age of participants:Mean = 118.49 months, SD = 3.89, Range = 105 - 140
Other sweep and/or cohort:None
Source:Neale, M.D. (1997). Neale Analysis of Reading Ability-Revised: Manual for schools. Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Paracchini D Phil, S., Steer, C. D., Buckingham, L. L., Morris, A. P., Ring, S., Scerri D Phil, T., ... & Monaco, A. P. (2008). Association of the KIAA0319 dyslexia susceptibility gene with reading skills in the general population. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165(12), 1576-1584.
Bath, S. C., Steer, C. D., Golding, J., Emmett, P., & Rayman, M. P. (2013). Effect of inadequate iodine status in UK pregnant women on cognitive outcomes in their children: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The Lancet, 382(9889), 331-337.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.