Reading (literacy) and language are basic tools of learning and proficiency. Through centuries the content of school systems changed, whereas reading remains the most important part of literacy and as means of learning the basic component of all school programmes. Reading is influenced by various perceptive, cognitive, social-cultural and emotionally-motivational factors. The educating teacher has in addition to all named factors also to consider the pupils circumstances which among others bilingualism is part of.
Reading has an important role during education. Pupils are involved in a planned process of becoming literate promptly after starting school, where the development of basic reading abilities is one of the main learning activities. Researches show that delays in the automatization and decoding skills achieved during the first educational period are durable and these pupils never catch up with their peers during education. Monitoring of the development of reading abilities is therefore one of the essential activities of teachers and advisory workers.
In the Master's thesis research we determined the reading abilities of monolingual pupils compared with bilingual (also considering among those pupils, if their first language/mother tongue is Slovenian or Hungarian). The purpose of the research was to determine whether the reading abilities of monolingual pupils differ from the reading abilities of bilingual pupils and to determine the nature of the differences. In the research we used the descriptive and causal nonexperimental method of pedagogic research and quantitative research approach. The sampling method was non-random, purposive sampling. We included 46 fourth grade pupils into the sample from two primary schools in Prekmurje. We used two standardised measuring instruments to determine the profile of reading abilities, "The reading test" and "The reading abilities evaluation scheme" to evaluate the reading abilities of 3rd grade pupils. We found out that the reading abilities of monolingual pupils differ from the abilities of bilingual pupils, differences in their reading abilities also occur among pupils with Slovenian or Hungarian language as first language within the bilingual school. Pupils at monolingual schools and those with Slovenian as first language achieved better results. The differences were statistically significant on the indicators of quality of loud reading and motivation for reading loud. The results of the pupils with Hungarian as first language were significantly lower also in silent reading speed and reading comprehension.
The research results will contribute to a better understanding of the influence of bilingualism on learning to read and planning working methods for bilingual pupils to reach reading fluency with an adequate level of reading comprehension. It will also help special and rehabilitation pedagogues, who will identify pupils at risk easier, get in touch with the teachers and support them with strategies of good teaching practice and finally develop an individual educational plan and training for the development of reading abilities.