The goal of this study was to investigate whether a brief cognitive training intervention results in a specific performance increase in the trained task, and whether there are transfer effects to other nontrained measures. A computerized, adaptive working memory intervention was conducted with 9- to 11-year-old typically developing children. The children considerably improved their performance in the trained working memory task. Additionally, compared to a matched control group, the experimental group significantly enhanced their reading performance after training, providing further evidence for shared processes between working memory and reading.
Two cohorts of mainstream children (grades 2–5) and one cohort of children with learning disabilities (LD; grades 3–5), all Arabic speaking children in Kuwait, were given measures of reading comprehension fluency and orthographic discrimination to assess the relationship between the two. Additional measures of phonological processing (decoding and awareness), speed of processing (rapid naming) and memory (visual as well as phonological/verbal tasks) were included either because these have been found to be predictive of Arabic literacy or to provide an assessment of alternative interpretations of any influence of the orthographic task. The findings indicated that the orthographic measure predicted variability in the comprehension fluency over-and-above that predicted by the other measures in the study. This was significant in the older mainstream children (grades 4 and 5) when controlling for phonological processing, but was not in the younger grades (2 and 3) where experience text that incorporating short vowel markers is dominant. The LD group showed little evidence of an influence of phonological processing but did of orthographic processing. The findings are discussed in terms of the skills required to process Arabic literacy and potential causes of literacy learning difficulties among Arabic children. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Conclusion: Data from the current study revealed that many struggling readers and writers on school-based SLPs’ caseloads are not receiving services from their SLPs. Implications for SLPs’ preservice preparation, continuing education, and doctoral preparation are discussed.
This paper reviews the evidence on sight word instruction as a method of teaching students with autism and significant cognitive and verbal limitations to read printed words. Nine single-subject studies were rated using Reichow et al.’s (J Autism Dev Disord 38:1311–1319, 2008) evaluative method for identifying evidence-based practice, and studies with at least adequate methodology were analyzed to identify common intervention features. Results yielded evidence in support of a massed trials approach featuring student response to a succession of items, differential positive reinforcement, systematic prompting, and use of visual supports. Across studies, students learned to identify printed words, even those with limited oral language and no prior reading instruction. However, no studies addressed the effects of sight word instruction on broad literacy outcomes.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that variation in language skill in NS is closely related to cognitive, perceptual, and motor factors. It does not appear that specific aspects of language are selectively affected in this syndrome.
Disentangling the social threads within a communicative environment: a cacophonous tale of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC)
Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) technology is being increasingly recognised as an important means of fostering the literacy of students with significant disabilities. However, the coordinated use of AAC technology continues to challenge professionals, families and users leading to dissonant meanings and fragmented use. This paper is an attempt to inquire into, and disentangle some of, the social threads that made up the communicative environment of one first-grade student with significant disabilities – Trevor – for whom augmentative communication technology was procured. The ethnographic study reported in this paper documents the conflicting meanings of access and participation that surfaced among the multiple participants under whose guidance Trevor was required to use AAC. The paper discloses the assumptions implicit in these practices and in the conceptions of literacy enacted by different professionals. The paper notes the significance of these issues for Trevor’s narrative construction of himself and concludes with implications for practitioners.
The authors examine the implications and limitations of the National Early Literacy Panel report on the early care of young children who are dual-language learners (DLLs). They examine the relevance of the report for DLLs, particularly the practice in this and other national synthesis reports of extrapolating implications for the education of young DLLs based on a broader population of children. The article addresses the existing gaps in knowledge about literacy practices—knowledge that is central to the development of sound and appropriate educational policies and practices that support DLLs’ full development as language and literacy learners.
The National Early Literacy Panel (2008) report identified early predictors of reading achievement as good targets for instruction, and many of those skills are related to decoding. In this article, the authors suggest that the developmental trajectories of rapidly developing skills pose problems for traditional statistical analyses. Rapidly developing skills yield correlations with later reading success that change with learning, so the predictive strengths are temporary and unstable. The correlations are strong only briefly, when children demonstrate partial learning of a skill that they will master completely later. Thus correlations with rapidly developing skills exaggerate the strength of the relation to later achievement, ignore the transient developmental window, and inflate effect sizes of interventions.
This rejoinder provides responses to the conceptual concerns expressed in the nine critiques published in this issue of Educational Researcher of the 2008 National Early Literacy Panel report. It explains the necessity of adhering to clearly established study selection parameters in conducting trustworthy meta-analyses and the need to be cautious in claims made on the basis of empirical evidence. The rejoinder summarizes the report’s extensive analyses of language development data and highlights substantial empirical evidence that contradicts the critics’ claims about alphabetic code-related skills. Also included are pointed discussions of the critics’ conceptual arguments concerning shared reading activities, parent/home literacy programs, English-language learners, and early childhood education.
Although the National Early Literacy Panel report provides an important distillation of research, the manner in which the data are reported underrepresents the importance of language. Unlike other predictors with moderate associations with later reading, language exerts pervasive and indirect influences that are not described by the effect sizes used in the meta-analysis. Also, unlike code-related skills that develop rapidly during the years studied, language develops over an extended time span. Because it is relatively difficult to devise interventions that dramatically alter children’s language abilities, the authors of this response are concerned that schools will target the more malleable code-based skills. They warn against such a move.
This article summarizes Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel, which was published in 2008. That report provides an extensive meta-analysis of approximately 300 studies showing which early literacy measures correlate with later literacy achievement. It also provides a series of meta-analyses of a comprehensive collection of experimental and quasi-experimental studies of ways of teaching early literacy (preschool and kindergarten) that have been published in refereed journals. These analyses examine the effects of code-based instruction, shared book reading, home/parent interventions, preschool/kindergarten interventions, and early language teaching.
Perceptual skills and Arabic literacy patterns for mathematically gifted children with specific learning difficulties
Phonological awareness is a key factor in the development of literacy, and frequently presents itself as an area of weakness in pupils with reading difficulties. In this article, Anies Al-Hroub of the American University of Beirut sets out to define a distinguishing pattern of characteristics that supports the identification of pupils with specific learning difficulties who are gifted in mathematics and reports the assessment of the pupils’ visual and auditory perceptual skills, including phonological awareness. The assessments were designed to measure auditory and visual memory skills, auditory and visual analysis skills, speed of information processing and spoken language (receptive and expressive). Furthermore, aspects of language learning such as reading, writing, spelling and parts of listening ability were all assessed for mathematically gifted pupils with specific learning difficulties who scored above the cut-off score of 120 on the WISC-III-Jordan. The article closes with recommendations for further research
from the British Journal of Special Education
Conclusions: The results inform theories on the relationship between DVAR and literacy achievement and suggest a more complex explanation of how nonmainstream American English dialect use might influence how young children learn to read.
The authors investigated four spelling scoring metrics: total words correct, correct letter sequences, correct sounds, and phonological coding scoring (developed by Tangel and Blachman) across two studies with children in kindergarten. The relationships between spelling scores and measures of reading, phonological awareness, and writing skills were studied. The scores from each metric were highly correlated. There were moderate to strong relationships between each spelling score and word reading, phonological awareness, letter name fluency, nonsense word fluency, and writing skills. Additionally, each spelling metric was sensitive to growth across 2-month intervals. The results suggest that these scoring metrics provide an equivalent index of spelling skill at a single assessment point and that phonological coding is most sensitive to growth over time.