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The role of vocabulary, working memory and inference making ability in reading comprehension in Down syndrome

Thirteen children and young adults with Down syndrome (DS) completed tests of language and reading and their performance was compared to that of three control groups. Reading comprehension was confirmed to be a specific deficit in DS and found to be strongly correlated with underlying language skills. Although reading comprehension was more strongly related to language ability in the DS group, this was shown to be a function of more advanced word recognition rather than a characteristic of DS per se. Individuals with DS were found to have greater difficulty with inferential comprehension questions than expected given their overall comprehension ability and the reading profile associated with DS was found to be similar to that of children known as poor comprehenders. It is recommended that oral language training programs, similar to those that have been shown to improve reading comprehension in poor comprehenders, be trialed with children who have DS.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities

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The role of vocabulary, working memory and inference making ability in reading comprehension in Down syndrome

Thirteen children and young adults with Down syndrome (DS) completed tests of language and reading and their performance was compared to that of three control groups. Reading comprehension was confirmed to be a specific deficit in DS and found to be strongly correlated with underlying language skills. Although reading comprehension was more strongly related to language ability in the DS group, this was shown to be a function of more advanced word recognition rather than a characteristic of DS per se. Individuals with DS were found to have greater difficulty with inferential comprehension questions than expected given their overall comprehension ability and the reading profile associated with DS was found to be similar to that of children known as poor comprehenders. It is recommended that oral language training programs, similar to those that have been shown to improve reading comprehension in poor comprehenders, be trialed with children who have DS.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities

Orthographic processing and reading comprehension among Arabic speaking mainstream and LD children

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.

from Dyslexia

Examining the Efficacy of an Intervention to Improve Fluency and Reading Comprehension in Spanish Children with Reading Disabilities

The main goal of the present study was to examine the efficacy of a multi-component programme to improve reading fluency and text comprehension in Spanish children with reading disabilities (RD). Special needs teachers were trained in the application of the programme, which included repeated reading plus phonological awareness training and grapheme-phoneme decoding training. Instruction was delivered one to one. Participants were 22 students with RD, aged 10-13, distributed in two groups: one with 12 children who received the intervention (experimental group), and the other with 10 children who received no intervention (comparison group). The effects of the training programme were evaluated using gains in scores on word and pseudo-word reading and text reading fluency, as well as on a text comprehension test. Results of analyses of covariance comparing the two groups with age as a covariate showed that children who participated in the intervention obtained statistically significant gains on the reading measures used, with the exception of text comprehension. Results are discussed with regard to effective interventions for students with reading disabilities. Reflections on the study’s limitations provide a basis for recommending future lines of research.

from the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education

Phonological, Orthographic, and Syntactic Awareness and their Relation to Reading Comprehension in Prelingually Deaf Individuals: What Can We Learn from Skilled Readers?

This study seeks to provide new insight into the phonemic, orthographic, and syntactic awareness of individuals with prelingual deafness and the way those contribute to reading. Two tests were used: one designed for the assessment of phonemic/orthographic awareness (PO/OA) and another examining reading comprehension (RC) in contexts where prior knowledge was either helpful or not. Participants were 83 prelingually deaf individuals (DIs): 21 primary school, 36 high school, and 26 university students. The control group consisted of 85 hearing individuals (HIs) from parallel education levels (29 primary school, 29 high school, 27 university). Contrary to predictions made by current reading theories, findings imply that the failure of DIs to develop sensitivity to the phonological properties of words may not underlie their reading difficulties. Rather, this weakness seems to reflect a processing deficit at the supra-lexical (sentence) level where the final meaning of single words is elaborated by its integration based upon syntactic (structural) knowledge.

from the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

Perceptual organization, phonological awareness, and reading comprehension in adults with and without learning disabilities

It is not clear from research whether, or to what extent, reading comprehension is impaired in adults who have learning disabilities (LD). The influence of perceptual organization (PO) and phonological awareness (PA) on reading comprehension was investigated. PO and PA are cognitive functions that have been examined in previous research for their roles in nonverbal LD and phonological dyslexia, respectively. Nonverbal tests of PO and non-reading tests of PA were administered to a sample of adults with postsecondary education. Approximately two thirds of the sample had previously been diagnosed as having LD. In a multiple regression analysis, tests of PO and PA were used to predict scores for tests of reading comprehension and mechanics. Despite the nonverbal nature of the perceptual organizational test stimuli, PO strongly predicted reading comprehension. Tests of PA predicted decoding and reading speed. Results were interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that integrative processes usually characterized as nonverbal were nonetheless used by readers with and without disabilities to understand text. The study’s findings have implications for understanding the reading of adults with learning disabilities, and the nature of reading comprehension in general.<p><p>from the <a href=”http://www.springerlink.com/content/y83306115473467u/”><em>Annals of Dyslexia</em></a></p>

Contribution of discourse and morphosyntax skills to reading comprehension in Chinese dyslexic and typically developing children

This study aimed at identifying important skills for reading comprehension in Chinese dyslexic children and their typically developing counterparts matched on age (CA controls) or reading level (RL controls). The children were assessed on Chinese reading comprehension, cognitive, and reading-related skills. Results showed that the dyslexic children performed significantly less well than the CA controls but similarly to RL controls in most measures. Results of multiple regression analyses showed that word-level reading-related skills like oral vocabulary and word semantics were found to be strong predictors of reading comprehension among typically developing junior graders and dyslexic readers of senior grades, whereas morphosyntax, a text-level skill, was most predictive for typically developing senior graders. It was concluded that discourse and morphosyntax skills are particularly important for reading comprehension in the non-inflectional and topic-prominent Chinese system.

from the Annals of Dyslexia

Predicting individual differences in reading comprehension: a twin study

We examined the Simple View of reading from a behavioral genetic perspective. Two aspects of word decoding (phonological decoding and word recognition), two aspects of oral language skill (listening comprehension and vocabulary), and reading comprehension were assessed in a twin sample at age 9. Using latent factor models, we found that overlap among phonological decoding, word recognition, listening comprehension, vocabulary, and reading comprehension was primarily due to genetic influences. Shared environmental influences accounted for associations among word recognition, listening comprehension, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Independent of phonological decoding and word recognition, there was a separate genetic link between listening comprehension, vocabulary, and reading comprehension and a specific shared environmental link between vocabulary and reading comprehension. There were no residual genetic or environmental influences on reading comprehension. The findings provide evidence for a genetic basis to the “Simple View” of reading.

from the Annals of Dyslexia

The Relationship Between Different Measures of Oral Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension in Second-Grade Students Who Evidence Different Oral Reading Fluency Difficulties

Results of this study indicate that real-word oral reading fluency was the strongest predictor of reading comprehension and suggest that real-word oral reading fluency may be an efficient method for identifying potential reading comprehension difficulties.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

Kindergarten Predictors of Second Versus Eighth Grade Reading Comprehension Impairments

Multiple studies have shown that kindergarten measures of phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge are good predictors of reading achievement in the primary grades. However, less attention has been given to the early predictors of later reading achievement. This study used a modified best-subsets variable-selection technique to examine kindergarten predictors of early versus later reading comprehension impairments. Participants included 433 children involved in a longitudinal study of language and reading development. The kindergarten test battery assessed various language skills in addition to phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, naming speed, and nonverbal cognitive ability. Reading comprehension was assessed in second and eighth grades. Results indicated that different combinations of variables were required to optimally predict second versus eighth grade reading impairments. Although some variables effectively predicted reading impairments in both grades, their relative contributions shifted over time. These results are discussed in light of the changing nature of reading comprehension over time. Further research will help to improve the early identification of later reading disabilities.

from the Journal of Learning Disabilities

Basic reading skills in Swedish children with late developing language and with or without autism spectrum disorder or ADHD

Reading skills at age 7–8 years were examined in a community-representative sample of 21 screened and clinically examined children with language delay (LD) followed prospectively from 2.5 years of age. The present study aimed to (1) determine whether these children with a history of LD had deficits in basic reading skills, i.e. decoding and comprehension, compared to the age norms of standardized tests, (2) analyze if there was a relationship between reading outcome and neuropsychiatric diagnosis by comparing three subgroups of children, LD pure, LD + ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and LD + ADHD, and, (3) determine what language measures at age 6 years were associated with the 7–8-year reading outcome. Both decoding and comprehension of single word reading were significantly below the norm for the whole LD group, where children with LD + ASD scored lowest, and children with LD highest. However, the differences between the three groups did not reach significance. Two reader groups were identified according to the results of word decoding and comprehension, respectively, resulting in the same 7 children. ANOVA revealed that the only differences on the 6-year language tests between the two groups were found on color naming and word memory. This study has shown that children with LD and subsequently identified neurodevelopmental problems such as ASD and ADHD experience continued deficits, demonstrated also in reading skills and that the picture of the reading problems seemed to resemble those of typically developing children.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities

Suppressing irrelevant information from working memory: Evidence for domain-specific deficits in poor comprehenders

Previous research has suggested that children with specific reading comprehension deficits (poor comprehenders) show an impaired ability to suppress irrelevant information from working memory, with this deficit detrimentally impacting on their working memory ability, and consequently limiting their reading comprehension performance. However, the extent to which these suppression deficits are specific to the verbal domain has not yet been explored. Experiment 1 examined the memory profiles of poor comprehenders and demonstrated a memory deficit specific to working memory, and the verbal domain within working memory. Experiment 2 compared the same poor comprehenders and controls on both verbal and non-verbal versions of a proactive interference task designed to assess their ability to suppress no-longer-relevant information from working memory. The poor comprehenders showed domain-specific suppression deficits, demonstrating impairments relative to the controls only in the verbal version of the task. Experiment 3 replicated these findings after the response modes of the verbal and non-verbal tasks were equated, confirming the domain specificity of our sample of poor comprehenders’ suppression deficits.

from the Journal of Memory and Language

The role of attribution beliefs, motivation and strategy use in Chinese fifth-graders’ reading comprehension

Conclusions: These findings suggest that the Chinese children who considered intelligence and ability as controllable were more likely to be intrinsically motivated to learn to read and to use various reading strategies to tackle problems when constructing meaning from text, resulting in a better understanding of text. However, as all the participants in the present study came from one Hong Kong primary school, caution should be exercised in generalising the findings of the present study to all Chinese primary students.

from Educational Research

A Path Analysis of Reading Comprehension for Adults With Low Literacy

Adult literacy interventions often rely on models of reading validated with children or adult populations with a broad range of reading abilities. Such models do not fully satisfy the need for intervention research and development for adults with low literacy. Thus, the authors hypothesized that a model representing the relationship between reading component skills would be predictive of reading comprehension for an adult population with low literacy and beneficial to adult literacy researchers. Using data from 174 adults participating in adult basic education and secondary education programs, the authors performed a path analysis of component skills’ contribution to reading comprehension. The findings are clear that existing reading models do not describe this population. The implications are discussed in terms of instructional and curricular interventions.

from the Journal of Learning Disabilities

Teaching Children with Autism to Read for Meaning: Challenges and Possibilities

The purpose of this literature review is to examine what makes reading for understanding especially challenging for children on the autism spectrum, most of whom are skilled at decoding and less skilled at comprehension. This paper first summarizes the research on reading comprehension with a focus on the cognitive skills and processes that are involved in gaining meaning from text and then reviews studies of reading comprehension deficits in children on the spectrum. The paper concludes with a review of reading comprehension interventions for children on the spectrum. These children can especially benefit from interventions addressing particular cognitive processes, such as locating antecedent events, generating and answering questions, locating referents, and rereading to repair understanding.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders