Blog Archives

Which Tasks Best Discriminate between Dyslexic University Students and Controls in a Transparent Language?

The need for a battery for testing adult dyslexia, and especially university students, is being increasingly recognized in view of the increased number of adult requests for a dyslexia examination in relation to both assistance and protection from discrimination. The present study examines the discriminative validity of a battery we have developed—the Battery for the Assessment of Reading and Writing in Adulthood—through comparison of the performance of 24 university students with a history of severe developmental dyslexia and 99 controls. All the reading, writing, lexical decision and spelling tasks of the battery, except omissions in a lexical decision task and reading comprehension, showed a good discriminatory power. In addition, use of just two of these tasks (fluency in reading a text and spelling under articulatory suppression) gave 87% sensitivity and 97% specificity. Our results confirm that in transparent languages, measures of phonological automaticity are the best indexes of reading decoding competence, particularly in adults. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

from Dyslexia

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The Effect of Pleasure Reading on Japanese University EFL Learners’ Reading Rates

Few second-language (L2) reading studies have examined the relationship between reading large amounts of text and fluency, and those studies that have tend to be problematic in terms of their designs and/or analyses. In order to address this lack of empirical L2 reading fluency research, this study investigates the effects of a 1-year pleasure reading program on the reading rate development of first-year Japanese university students (N = 97). The reading rates and reading comprehension of an Intensive Reading Group and three Pleasure Reading Groups were measured at the beginning and end of the academic year. All Pleasure Reading Groups made greater gains than the Intensive Reading Group, and the two Pleasure Reading Groups that read the most made greater reading rate gains than the Pleasure Reading Group that read the least. Reading one book every 2 weeks or more was the most effective means for promoting reading rate gains for the majority of learners. An additional finding was that reading comprehension was consistently high on both the pretest and posttest; thus, the increased reading rates did not come at the expense of passage comprehension. A final finding was that reading simplified rather than unsimplified texts resulted in greater reading rate gains.

from Language Learning

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

Dyslexia in regular orthographies: manifestation and causation

This article summarizes our research on the manifestation of dyslexia in German and on cognitive deficits, which may account for the severe reading speed deficit and the poor orthographic spelling performance that characterize dyslexia in regular orthographies. An only limited causal role of phonological deficits (phonological awareness, phonological STM, and rapid naming) for the emergence of reading fluency and spelling deficits is inferred from two large longitudinal studies with assessments of phonology before learning to read. A review of our cross-sectional studies provides no support for several cognitive deficits (visual–attention deficit, magnocellular dysfunction, skill automatization deficit, and visual–sequential memory deficit), which were proposed as alternatives to the phonological deficit account. Finally, a revised version of the phonological deficit account in terms of a dysfunction in orthographic–phonological connectivity is proposed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

from Dyslexia

Reading fluency and speech perception speed of beginning readers with persistent reading problems: the perception of initial stop consonants and consonant clusters

This study investigated the role of speech perception accuracy and speed in fluent word decoding of reading disabled (RD) children. A same-different phoneme discrimination task with natural speech tested the perception of single consonants and consonant clusters by young but persistent RD children. RD children were slower than chronological age (CA) controls in recognizing identical sounds, suggesting less distinct phonemic categories. In addition, after controlling for phonetic similarity Tallal’s (Brain Lang 9:182–198, 1980) fast transitions account of RD children’s speech perception problems was contrasted with Studdert-Kennedy’s (Read Writ Interdiscip J 15:5–14, 2002) similarity explanation. Results showed no specific RD deficit in perceiving fast transitions. Both phonetic similarity and fast transitions influenced accurate speech perception for RD children as well as CA controls.

from the Annals of Dyslexia

Enhancing the Reading Fluency and Comprehension of Children With Reading Disabilities in an Orthographically Transparent Language

Breznitz (2006) demonstrated that Hebrew-speaking adults with reading disabilities benefited from a training in which reading rate was experimentally manipulated. In the present study, the authors examine whether silent reading training enhances the sentence reading rate and comprehension of children with reading disabilities and whether results found in Hebrew equally apply to an orthographically transparent language. Training results of 59 Dutch children with reading disabilities and normally achieving children show that children with reading disabilities are able to increase their sentence reading rate with high comprehension levels when pushed to do so with accelerated reading training. Posttest results show that transfer to routine reading is less strong for both accelerated and unaccelerated reading. Only accelerated training allows children with reading disabilities to read at high speed while maintaining high comprehension levels.

from the Journal of Learning Disabilities

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

Predictors of word decoding and reading fluency across languages varying in orthographic consistency.

from the Journal of Educational Psychology

Very few studies have directly compared reading acquisition across different orthographies. The authors examined the concurrent and longitudinal predictors of word decoding and reading fluency in children learning to read in an orthographically inconsistent language (English) and in an orthographically consistent language (Greek). One hundred ten English-speaking children and 70 Greek-speaking children attending Grade 1 were examined in measures of phonological awareness, phonological memory, rapid naming speed, orthographic processing, word decoding, and reading fluency. The same children were reassessed on word decoding and reading fluency measures when they were in Grade 2. The results of structural equation modeling indicated that both phonological and orthographic processing contributed uniquely to reading ability in Grades 1 and 2. However, the importance of these predictors was different in the two languages, particularly with respect to their effect on word decoding. The authors argue that the orthography that children are learning to read is an important factor that needs to be taken into account when models of reading development are being generalized across languages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

Training reading fluency among poor readers of German: many ways to the goal

from Annals of Dyslexia

Abstract Outcomes of two training programs aimed at improving reading speed for 39 German-speaking poor readers in grades 2 and 4 were evaluated. During a 6-week training period, a specific target for children in a computer group was to improve reading of word-initial consonant clusters by practice in associating an orthographic unit with a corresponding phonological unit. Children in a paired reading group read books with an adult tutor. The results showed that, in reading words in which the computer-trained sublexical items were included, both groups exhibited similar improvement. A post hoc analysis suggested that computer training was associated with better reading skills with respect to the trained sublexical items; however, this improvement did not show large generalization effects to the words with the sublexical items. The paired reading group showed a more rapid gain in global word reading fluency than the computer group. Neither of the groups improved their pseudoword reading.