The present study investigated the moderating role of orthographic consistency on the development of reading comprehension in four language groups (English, n = 179; Spanish, n = 188; Czech, n = 135; Slovak, n = 194) from kindergarten to Grade 2. In all languages, early variations in phoneme awareness/letter knowledge, rapid automatised naming, and emerging decoding skills, but not oral language, predicted variations in decoding skills at the end of Grade 1; these in turn predicted reading comprehension in Grade 2. For the three consistent orthographies (Spanish, Slovak, and Czech), kindergarten language skills were another significant predictor of Grade 2 reading comprehension. This effect was absent in the English sample, where variations in decoding skills were a more powerful predictor. These results provide the first longitudinal evidence for effects of orthographic consistency on the development of reading comprehension and provide support for the simple view of reading.