Blog Archives

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


Genetic Variation in the KIAA0319 5′ Region as a Possible Contributor to Dyslexia

Reading disabilities (RD) have been linked and associated with markers on chromosome 6p with results from multiple independent samples pointing to KIAA0319 as a risk gene and specifically, the 5′ region of this gene. Here we focus genetic studies on a 2.3 kb region spanning the predicted promoter, the first untranslated exon, and part of the first intron, a region we identified as a region of open chromatin. Using DNA from probands with RD, we screened for genetic variants and tested select variants for association. We identified 17 DNA variants in this sample of probands, 16 of which were previously reported in public databases and one previously identified in a screen of this region. Based on the allele frequencies in the probands compared to public databases, and on possible functional consequences of the variation, we selected seven variants to test for association in a sample of families with RD, in addition to four variants which had been tested previously. We also tested two markers 5′ of this region that were previously reported as associated. The strongest evidence for association was observed with alleles of the microsatellite marker located in the first untranslated exon and haplotypes of that marker. These results support previous studies indicating the 5′ region of the KIAA0319 gene as the location of risk alleles contributing to RD.

from Behavior Genetics

Dyslexic children show deficits in implicit sequence learning, but not in explicit sequence learning or contextual cueing

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling abilities. The absence of other high level cognitive deficits in the dyslexic population has led some authors to propose that non-strategical processes like implicit learning could be impaired in this population. Most studies have addressed this issue by using sequence learning tasks, but so far the results have not been conclusive. We test this hypothesis by comparing the performance of dyslexic children and good readers in both implicit and explicit versions of the sequence learning task, as well as in another implicit learning task not involving sequential information. The results showed that dyslexic children failed to learn the sequence when they were not informed about its presence (implicit condition). In contrast, they learned without significant differences in relation to the good readers group when they were encouraged to discover the sequence and to use it in order to improve their performance (explicit condition). Moreover, we observed that this implicit learning deficit was not extended to other forms of non-sequential, implicit learning such as contextual cueing. In this case, both groups showed similar implicit learning about the information provided by the visual context. These results help to clarify previous contradictory data, and they are discussed in relation to how the implicit sequence learning deficit could contribute to the understanding of dyslexia.

from the Annals of Dyslexia

A meta-analysis of morphological interventions: effects on literacy achievement of children with literacy difficulties

This study synthesizes 79 standardized mean-change differences between control and treatment groups from 17 independent studies, investigating the effect of morphological interventions on literacy outcomes for students with literacy difficulties. Average total sample size ranged from 15 to 261 from a wide range of grade levels. Overall, morphological instruction showed a significant improvement on literacy achievement ( = 0.33). Specifically, its effect was significant on several literacy outcomes such as phonological awareness ( = 0.49), morphological awareness ( = 0.40), vocabulary ( = 0.40), reading comprehension ( = 0.24), and spelling ( = 0.20). Morphological instruction was particularly effective for children with reading, learning, or speech and language disabilities, English language learners, and struggling readers, suggesting the possibility that morphological instruction can remediate phonological processing challenges. Other moderators were also explored to explain differences in morphological intervention effects. These findings suggest students with literacy difficulties would benefit from morphological instruction.

from the Annals of Dyslexia

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

Cognitive Profile of Children with Neurofibromatosis and Reading Disabilities

A large percentage of children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1(NF-1) have learning disabilities, often in the realm of reading. Previous studies have indicated that children with NF-1 show a neuropsychological profile similar to idiopathic reading disabilities (IRD); however, studies typically have not subdivided children with NF-1 into those who do and do not have RD (NF+RD and NFnoRD, respectively). The current study examined the cognitive profile of children with NF-1 with and without RD and compared them to children with IRD as well as to typically developing readers (Controls). Findings showed that children with NF+RD performed similarly to children with IRD on phonological, rapid naming, and reading comprehension measures; however, children with NF+RD displayed pronounced visual-spatial deficits as compared to IRD and Control groups. In addition, when comparing the NF-1 groups to each other as well as to the control and IRD groups, the current study reported that there were no oral language differences; lack of findings in the realm of oral language was attributed to the fact that groups were equated on IQ. Overall, findings suggest that a more refined classification of children with NF-1 may be helpful for tailoring academic interventions.

from Child Neuropsychology

Subtyping Children’s Reading Disabilities Using a Comprehensive Neuropsychological Measure

This study examined subtypes of children with reading disabilities using the NEPSY (series of Neuropsychological tests authored by Marit Korkman, Ursula Kirk and Sally Kemp). Multiple methods of cluster analysis were performed with 80 elementary school-age children identified as reading disabled. Students completed the NEPSY Language Domain and the NEPSY Memory and Learning Domain. Three clusters emerged which were interpreted as: (1) a No Language or Memory Deficit Subtype, (2) a Global Language and Memory Deficit Subtype, and (3) a Global Memory Deficit Subtype. This study suggested that memory-related processes, not exclusively phonologically related processes, might contribute to reading difficulties. This investigation supported the utility of a neuropsychological approach to subtyping children’s reading disabilities.

from the Journal of Neuroscience

Rapid Automatized Naming and Learning Disabilities: Does RAN Have a Specific Connection to Reading or Not?

This work is an extension of a study by Waber, Wolff, Forbes, and Weiler (2000) in which the specificity of naming speed deficits to reading disability (RD) was examined. One hundred ninety-three children (ages 8 to 11) evaluated for learning disabilities were studied. It was determined how well rapid automatized naming (RAN) discriminated between different diagnostic groups (learning impaired [LI] with and without RD) from controls and from each other. Whereas Waber et al. concluded that RAN was an excellent tool for detecting risk for learning disabilities in general, the results of the present study point to a more specific connection between RAN and RD.

from Child Neuropsychology

Applications of Responsiveness to Intervention and the Speech-Language Pathologist in Elementary School Settings

This article addresses ways in which speech-language pathologists can play a proactive and substantive part in school-wide language and reading disability prevention and intervention efforts within the responsiveness to intervention framework. Within a collaborative working paradigm, specific student-focused instructional targets are presented in the areas of oral language, metacognition, and reading comprehension. A discussion of professional development focuses on enhancing teacher-student communication interaction, a critical yet often undervalued component of teacher training.

from Seminars in Speech and Language

Effects of fluency, oral language, and executive function on reading comprehension performance

Abstract Reading disability (RD) typically consists of deficits in word reading accuracy and/or reading comprehension. While it is well known that word reading accuracy deficits lead to comprehension deficits (general reading disability, GRD), less is understood about neuropsychological profiles of children who exhibit adequate word reading accuracy but nevertheless develop specific reading comprehension deficits (S-RCD). Establishing the underlying neuropsychological processes associated with different RD types is essential for ultimately understanding core neurobiological bases of reading comprehension. To this end, the present study investigated isolated and contextual word fluency, oral language, and executive function on reading comprehension performance in 56 9- to 14-year-old children [21 typically developing (TD), 18 GRD, and 17 S-RCD]. Results indicated that TD and S-RCD participants read isolated words at a faster rate than participants with GRD; however, both RD groups had contextual word fluency and oral language weaknesses. Additionally, S-RCD participants showed prominent weaknesses in executive function. Implications for understanding the neuropsychological bases for reading comprehension are discussed.

from Annals of Dyslexia

Working Memory, Short-Term Memory, and Reading Disabilities

The purpose of the present study was to synthesize research that compares children with and without reading disabilities (RD) on measures of short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM). Across a broad age, reading, and IQ range, 578 effect sizes (ESs) were computed, yielding a mean ES across studies of —.89 (SD = 1.03). A total of 257 ESs were in the moderate range for STM measures (M = —.61, 95% confidence range of —.65 to —.58), and 320 ESs were in the moderate range for WM measures (M = —.67, 95% confidence range of —.68 to —.64). The results indicated that children with RD were distinctively disadvantaged compared with average readers on (a) STM measures requiring the recall of phonemes and digit sequences and (b) WM measures requiring the simultaneous processing and storage of digits within sentence sequences and final words from unrelated sentences. No significant moderating effects emerged for age, IQ, or reading level on memory ESs. The findings indicated that domain-specific STM and WM differences between ability groups persisted across age, suggesting that a verbal deficit model that fails to efficiently draw resources from both a phonological and executive system underlies RD.

from the Journal of Learning Disabilities

The pars triangularis in dyslexia and ADHD: A comprehensive approach

Limited research has been conducted on the structure of the pars triangularis (PT) in dyslexia despite functional neuroimaging research finding it may play a role in phonological processing. Furthermore, research to date has not examined PT size in ADHD even though the right inferior frontal region has been implicated in the disorder. Hence, one of the purposes of this study was to examine the structure of the PT in dyslexia and ADHD. The other purposes included examining the PT in relation to overall expressive language ability and in relation to several specific linguistic functions given language functioning often is affected in both dyslexia and ADHD. Participants included 50 children: 10 with dyslexia, 15 with comorbid dyslexia/ADHD, 15 with ADHD, and 10 controls. Using a 2 (dyslexia or not) × 2 (ADHD or not) MANCOVA, findings revealed PT length and shape were comparable between those with and without dyslexia. However, children with ADHD had smaller right PT lengths than those without ADHD, and right anterior ascending ramus length was related to attention problems in the total sample. In terms of linguistic functioning, presence of an extra sulcus in the left PT was related to poor expressive language ability. In those with adequate expressive language functioning, left PT length was related to phonological awareness, phonological short-term memory and rapid automatic naming (RAN). Right PT length was related to RAN and semantic processing. Further work on PT morphology in relation to ADHD and linguistic functioning is warranted.

from Brain and Language

Predictive Validity of Early Literacy Indicators From the Middle of Kindergarten to Second Grade

Research has emphasized the importance of phonological awareness, phonemic decoding, and automaticity in reading development. Special and general education teachers need valid, efficient, and effective early literacy indicators for schoolwide screening and monitoring that adequately predict reading outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the interrelationships and predictiveness of kindergarten early literacy indicators from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) within the context of a path analysis. The results support the validity of kindergarten DIBELS in predicting ever more complex reading skills in a developmental progression from the middle of kindergarten to second grade.

from the Journal of Special Education

Gene link to poor reading skills

from the BBC

A common genetic variant may be partly to blame for poor reading ability, research suggests.

Early home-based intervention in the Netherlands for children at familial risk of dyslexia

from Dyslexia

Dutch children at higher familial risk of reading disability received a home-based intervention programme before formal reading instruction started to investigate whether this would reduce the risk of dyslexia. The experimental group (n=23) received a specific training in phoneme awareness and letter knowledge. A control group (n=25) received a non-specific training in morphology, syntax, and vocabulary. Both interventions were designed to take 10 min a day, 5 days a week for 10 weeks. Most parents were sufficiently able to work with the programme properly. At post-test the experimental group had gained more on phoneme awareness than the control group. The control group gained more on one of the morphology measures. On average, these specific training results did not lead to significant group differences in first-grade reading and spelling measures. However, fewer experimental children scored below 10th percentile on word recognition. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.