This longitudinal study investigated the relationship between oral language abilities and phonological awareness in 85 typically developing, Spanish-English preschool children (average age in preschool was 3 years, 9 months). Receptive language skills in Spanish and English were assessed in the autumn and spring during the children's 2 years in Head Start for a total of four measurement occasions. Phonological awareness was assessed during the spring of children's kindergarten year. Results indicated that English receptive vocabulary at the end of preschool predicted English phonological awareness abilities in kindergarten, whereas Spanish vocabulary was observed to have a negative predictive relationship with children's English phonological awareness abilities. However, after controlling for English vocabulary, Spanish vocabulary no longer had an effect on English phonological awareness. Broad receptive language abilities in English and Spanish did not predict later English phonological awareness skills.
This study examined expressive vocabulary and its relationship to reading skills for 232 native English-speaking adults who read between the third- and fifth-grade levels. The Boston Naming Test (BNT; Kaplan, Goodglass, & Weintraub, 2001) was used to measure expressive vocabulary. Participants scored lower than the normative sample of adults on all aspects of the test; they had fewer spontaneously correct answers, and were not helped by stimulus or phonemic cues. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that expressive vocabulary accounted for significant variance in both reading comprehension and exception word reading, but not for general word reading or nonword reading.
Previous research indicates that removing initial strokes from Chinese characters makes them harder to read than removing final or internal ones. In the present study, we examined the contribution of important components to character configuration via singular value decomposition. The results indicated that when the least important segments, which did not seriously alter the configuration (contour) of the character, were deleted, subjects read as fast as when no segments were deleted. When the most important segments, which are located in the left side of a character and written first, were deleted, reading speed was greatly slowed. These results suggest that singular value decomposition, which has no information about stroke writing order, can identify the most important strokes for Chinese character identification. Furthermore, they also suggest that contour may be correlated with stroke writing order.
This article details a study which predicted that across a wide range of print sizes dyslexic reading would follow the same curve shape as skilled reading, with constant reading rates across large print sizes and a sharp decline in reading rates below a critical print size. It also predicted that dyslexic readers would require larger critical print sizes to attain their maximum reading speeds, following the letter position coding deficit hypothesis. Reading speed was measured across twelve print sizes ranging from Snellen equivalents of 20/12 to 20/200 letter sizes for a group of dyslexic readers in Grades 2 to 4 (aged 7 to 10 years), and for non-dyslexic readers in Grades 1 to 3 (aged 6 to 8 years). The groups were equated for word reading ability. Results confirmed that reading rate-by-print size curves followed the same two-limbed shape for dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers. Dyslexic reading curves showed higher critical print sizes and shallower reading rate-by-print size slopes below the critical print size, consistent with the hypothesis of a letter-position coding deficit. Non-dyslexic reading curves also showed a decrease of critical print size with age. A developmental lag model of dyslexic reading does not account for the results, since the regression of critical print size on maximum reading rate differed between groups.
Standardised tasks and a repeat design were used to investigate development in narrative writing by 112 primary schoolchildren. The scripts comprised the NFER Literacy Impact Writing Test B, completed near the end of the children's second terms in Year 5 and Year 6. The test includes a narrative task using content of appeal to both genders. The scripts were rated by specially trained panels, using a numeric scheme applied to five constituents of writing, and text-level and technical accuracy rating scales derived from relevant sources. All constituents of writing showed an improvement, although analysis of text-level ratings showed that there were substantial proportions of children whose writing included a feature in Year 5 but not in Year 6, as well as vice versa. Qualitative analysis revealed common features within attainment subgroups in content, language use, technical accuracy and overall effectiveness of the writing. The study provides findings that may contribute to the discourse of literacy education and also raises issues of interest for further comparative studies.
Some languages have simple grapheme-phoneme codes in which there is a one-to-one mapping, making them easy to teach and learn, while others have more complicated structures and are more difficult for teachers and students. There is now an increasing number of studies which demonstrate that readers in more transparent orthographies such as Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Greek and German have little difficulty in decoding written words, while English children have many more problems. Increasingly, lack of orthographic transparency in English is seen as having a powerful negative effect on the development of literacy skills in English-speaking children.
In the present study, the word factors associated with poor spelling in 5 school year-groups (ages 7 to 11 years) are identified as: (a) frequency of the word in the English language, (b) length of the word and (c) a measure of the phoneticity of the word. The concept of word phoneticity is explored and data is presented illustrating the predictive model of spelling. The implications the model has for teaching and learning English are discussed, with particular reference to the beneficial effects that greater orthographic transparency would have for children.
The aim of the present study was to examine the spelling development of Greek-speaking children in the early school grades. Although Greek orthography is regular for reading, it is much less transparent as far as spelling is concerned. Spelling development was investigated using a word spelling task designed to explore the effects of word length, familiarity and spelling regularity. One hundred and fifty normally developing primary school children living in Cyprus took part in the study. Results suggest that the children employed both phonological and lexical strategies in spelling Greek words. Results indicated that sub-lexical procedures were more marked for younger children, whereas lexical processing was employed more widely by older children. The findings are interpreted in terms of stage developmental models.
Eight and 11 year old good and poor readers carried out a lexical decision task, in which the accuracy of responding to nonwords and pseudohomophonic nonwords was assessed. Nonwords such as?loast', are meaningless but conform to the rules of English spelling. Pseudohomophones, such as?poast', are a special category of nonword as they sound like real words. In this study, the two classes of nonwords were closely matched for visual similarity,?poast?and?loast', for example, differing only in the initial consonant. All the groups were more prone to misclassify pseudo?homophones as words than nonwords. Poor readers of average and below average IQ, and their reading age controls, performed very similarly. It was concluded that the poor readers were equally as able to generate phonological information from nonwords as their reading age controls, and that there was no evidence to suggest that the poor readers suffered primarily from a phonological dysfunction. Both the average and below average intelligence poor readers showed a pattern of performance indicative of a delay or an arrestment in reading development, rather than a deficit in generating and utilising phonological information.
The Nelson Denny Reading Test (Brown, Fishco & Hanna, 1993) provides measures of comprehension, reading rate and vocabulary. It is widely used in research studies with high school and undergraduate students and for assessment purposes in the USA. No widely used test of this kind exists for adults in the UK. The present paper reports data from 197 undergraduates from the University of Essex on the Nelson Denny test. Analyses were carried out of the data in terms of degree type and year of study. The scores obtained with the present sample were higher than those reported in the manual of the Nelson Denny test for a subset of the standardisation sample. Possible reasons for this difference are discussed. Overall, the results suggest that the Nelson Denny test is suitable for use with UK undergraduate students.
Recently, Goswami (1999) reviewed available evidence for and against the role of phonological rime awareness and analogy theory, concluding that both rhyme awareness and orthographic rime analogy are causally related to reading acquisition. On inspection, however, much of this evidence best fits an alternative (non-rime) interpretation. Furthermore, in a number of studies, key facts and analyses were not reported. A fuller re-analysis of the literature reviewed by Goswami reveals that: 1) the nature of the relationship between phonological rhyme awareness and reading remains controversial; 2) significant doubt remains about the nature and relevance of demonstrations of analogy use in early reading; 3) such training studies as currently exist suggest that rime use is not important compared to the use of phonemes or other sub-syllabic units. Implications from this evidence for teaching and the role rime analogy should play in the National Curriculum are explored.
Reading literacy of fourth-grade students in Hong Kong showed a remarkable improvement from 2001 to 2006 as shown by international PIRLS studies. This study identified various aspects of the teacher factor contributing to the significant improvement among students. A total of 4,712 students and 144 teachers from 144 schools were randomly selected using probability proportional-to-size technique to receive the Reading Assessment Test and complete the Teacher's Questionnaire, respectively. A number of items pertaining to teachers' instructional strategies and activities, opportunities for students to read various types of materials, practices on assessment, and professional preparation and perception, were found to be significantly correlated with the outcome of students' reading literacy. Stepwise regression procedure revealed four significant predictors for students' overall reading achievement. The most powerful predictor was the use of materials from other subjects as reading resources. Suggestions to improve quality of teaching of reading and further studies are made.
This study investigated the use of text-message abbreviations (textisms) in Australian adolescents and young adults, and relations between textism use and literacy abilities. Fifty-two high school students aged 13–15 years, and 53 undergraduates aged 18–24 years, all users of predictive texting, translated conventional English sentences into textese using two methods: writing messages down and typing them into mobile phones. Participants produced a variety of textisms, and in both translation methods, adolescents and young adults used textisms in nearly identical ways. This was true for the proportion and types of textisms used, textism categories produced and consistency with which textisms were spelled. The use of textisms was negatively correlated with scores for reading, nonword reading, spelling and morphological awareness, but some of these relationships were accounted for by participants' usual text-messaging frequency. For these age groups, concerns that frequent texting may mask or even contribute to poor linguistic skills cannot be dismissed.
The purpose of this study was to compare a range of reading–related abilities in two groups of college freshmen with higher and lower reading comprehension abilities. Reading comprehension ability groups were formed using American College Test reading scores. The groups were compared on measures of oral language vocabulary and syntax, phonemic awareness and print decoding skills. Results indicated that abilities that appear to relate to reading comprehension include recognition of the order of phonemes in spoken syllables, recognition of words that are good semantic and syntactic fits for sentence frames, recall of meanings for spoken words and conversion of printed to spoken words.
This paper investigates Spanish dyslexic spelling abilities: specifically, the influence of syllabic linguistic structure (simple vs consonant cluster) on children's spelling performance. Consonant clusters are phonologically complex structures, so it was anticipated that there would be lower spelling performance for these syllabic structures than in simple ones, because of the poor phonological processing of dyslexic children. The participants were 31 dyslexic children, 31 chronological age-matched children and 31 reading level-matched children. A dictation task with words and pseudowords (with and without consonant clusters) was used. Word lexical frequency was controlled. The results show that the spelling of consonant clusters presents difficulties for dyslexic spelling performance despite this structure being orthographically consistent. Dyslexic children present a higher performance difference in items with consonant clusters than in simple items, compared with typically developing children. The work raises questions about the items used for the identification of dyslexic children's difficulties.
French and Dutch differ regarding the manifestations and lexical functions of the stress pattern of words. The present study examined group differences in stress processing abilities between French-native and Dutch-native listeners, thus extending previous cross-linguistic comparisons involving Spanish-native and French-native adults. The results show that Dutch-native first-graders significantly outperformed French monolinguals, and that French-native listeners schooled in Dutch produced intermediary performances, suggesting that stress-processing abilities are a learnable set of skills. The present study also examined the contribution of stress processing abilities to reading development in Dutch, a stress-based language, compared to that in French, a syllable-based language. Although the expected correlation between stress processing abilities and reading was not observed in the Dutch monolinguals, such correlation was observed in the French-native bilinguals schooled in Dutch and not in the Dutch-native bilinguals schooled in French. This suggests that stress processing abilities influence reading development in a second, stress-based, language. Moreover, the monolinguals and bilinguals schooled in Dutch showed significant associations between lexical development and stress processing abilities. Ways in which prosody might be involved in lexical and reading development are explored and discussed.
A longitudinal study investigated the relationship between cognitive abilities at age four and reading at age seven. Reading ability was significantly positively correlated with knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondence, visual memory, auditory sequential memory, and Draw-a-man scores (intelligence). Once age (20ro) and intelligence (12%) were partialled out, auditory sequential memory scores at age four accounted for 13% of the variance in reading scores with visual sequential memory scores predicting a further 5%. Implications of results are discussed.
This study aims to examine the impact of the linguistic nature of the material to be tracked in a serial reaction time task on the performance of typical readers and children with dyslexia. In doing so, we wished to detect eventual differences in the mobilisation of implicit learning skills between typical readers according to their experience with the written word (8- vs 10-year-olds) on the one hand, and between typical readers and children with dyslexia, on the other hand. Experiment 1 confirms the efficiency of implicit sequence learning in typical readers regardless of the nature of the item being tracked. Experiment 2 indicates that the sequence learning of children with dyslexia is sensitive to the nature of the target. Children with dyslexia show differences in the evolution of response times according to the nature of the item to be tracked.
Erratum. Journal of Research in Reading 29:2, 252
In this article, we discuss two characteristics of the majority of current behaviour- and molecular-genetic studies of reading ability and disability, specifically, the ascertainment strategies and the populations from which samples are selected. In the context of this discussion, we present data that we collected on a sample of Swahili-speaking siblings from Tanzania. With this sample, we (1) explore the efficiency and practicality of the single proband sibpair design and (2) provide data on the predictability of reading and spelling performance using reading-related componential measures in a novel Swahili-speaking sample. Specifically, we present the selection criteria, discuss the pattern of behavioural and behaviour-genetic results obtained on the sample and compare these results with those available in the literature. We report behavioural and behaviour-genetic correlations in this sample that are comparable with other studied samples in other languages, and discuss the similarities and differences. Thus, we demonstrate the suitability and effectiveness of the single sib ascertainment method for genetic analyses of reading ability and disability in novel samples in previously unstudied languages.
This paper reports the follow-up of a randomised control trial study of the ABRACADABRA web-based literacy intervention that contrasted synthetic versus analytic phonics (Comaskey, Savage & Abrami, 2009) in kindergarten children from urban low-SES backgrounds. Participants who received a ‘synthetic’ phonics+phoneme awareness training (n = 26) or an ‘analytic’ phonics+phoneme awareness training literacy intervention (n = 27) were tested on standard measures of literacy 1 year later. Results revealed a significant main effect (p < .01) for the analytic group performing better on passage reading comprehension. Modest advantages for children who received the analytic phonics programme were evident. We obtained an effect size favourably comparable with other studies, after adjusting for intervention duration (ES = .41). It is concluded that analytic phonics programmes may provide modest but significant sustained advantages in literacy for kindergarten children from low-SES backgrounds.
Study-abroad students, products of their own particular academic literacy culture, face the challenge of rapidly integrating into a foreign academic literacy community. This study identifies possible culturally dependent sources of literacy problems in Law and Economics students in Great Britain, France and Spain. Nearly 600 potential European study-abroad candidates (ERASMUS programme) and 169 of their university teachers from 17 universities in the three countries completed a questionnaire on first language (L1) reading practices. Results revealed distinct academic literacy profiles within disciplines across national cultures. Academic reading practices are seen to be more important overall in Britain, significantly less so in Spain, while France shows some characteristics of both British and Spanish approaches. Summarised results of a concurrent investigation into ERASMUS students' foreign language reading skills suggest the influence of L1 literacy traditions on foreign language reading, which points to pedagogical implications and directions for further study.
The level of abstraction of textual material is one factor affecting the difficulty it presents to the reader and so effective ways of assessing it are potentially useful for the teacher and researcher. A ‘new’ measure was compared with an old one and some similarity found in their assessment of science texts. The earlier measure may be the easier one for the non-specialist to use. The results also suggested a rule of thumb which practising teachers might find useful.
Study Objective: To investigate how structural variables influence readers’ construction of meaning from short-text samples of expository prose across different levels of background knowledge, text familiarity and L2 competence.Subjects: 36 Spanish-speaking medical graduates of different L2 proficiency—18 High Intermediate (HI) and 18 Advanced subjects (AD)—were randomly divided into 2 sub-groups of 9 subjects.Design: Rhetorical manipulations were performed on the published versions of three semantically different medical English abstracts (familiar and relatively unfamiliar topics). Each sub-group received one of either version and completed a reading test. A questionnaire elicited background information on the subjects. Self-generated comments on the abstracts were optional.Statistical Treatment of Data: The number of correct answers for each abstract was recorded. Between-group one- and two-way ANOVAs were applied. The questionnaires and self-generated comments were both qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed.Results: Both groups differed in their background knowledge and in their intensity of English reading. The AD subjects outperformed the HI ones in reading performance for all three abstracts together, and for the two relatively unfamiliar abstracts only. No difference was observed for the familiar abstract. In the well structured but relatively unfamiliar abstract, only L2 competence affected reading performance. In the relatively unfamiliar and poorly structured abstract, text structure, L2 competence and the interaction between both variables affected reading comprehension.Conclusions: Textual variables operate differently depending on the extent of the readers’ background knowledge and linguistic competence. Variables such as exposure to reading materials (in L1 and L2), background knowledge and L2 competence seem to outweigh the importance of structural variables.RÉSUMÉLecture de résumés scientifques écrits en anglais: étude de I'interaction des variables structurelles ét de la capacité linguistique (en langue seconde) et conceptuelle du lecteurLe but de cette recherche est de déterminer dans quelle mesure les variables structurelles d'un texte exercent une influence sur la compréhension de la lecture, et ceci à différents niveaux de connaissance (générale antérieure), de familiarité textuelle et de connaissance linguistique en langue seconde (dans ce cas précis, en anglais) du lecteur. Trente-six étudiants en médecine (étudiants de première année de spécialité médicale) participèrent à cette étude. Leur langue maternelle était l'espagnol, et ils venaient tous de terminer un cours d'anglais de spécialité. Nous avons distribué nos 36 sujets en 2 groupes (chacun composé de 18 étudiants) selon la note finale qu'ils avaient obtenue au cours d'anglais: un groupe appelé‘intermédiaire’ et un autre groupe appelé‘avancé'. Nous avons ensuite divisé chaque groupe en 2 sous-groupes de 9 sujets chacun. I1 est important de noter que les étudiants dont la note finale d'anglais reflétait un niveau linguistique insuffisant (en-dessous du seuil de connaissance linguistique minimum) n'ont pas été inch dans notre étude.Chaque sujet a lu trois résumés d'articles scientifiques (bio-médicaux) rédigés en anglais de contenu différent. Ces résumés ont été selectionnés dans des revues de médecine générale et correspondaient à trois différents niveaux de spécificité conceptuelle: un de contenu modérément familier (résumé N° 1)' un de contenu familier (N° 2), et un de contenu relativement peu familier (Ny° 3). Afin de déterminer l'influence des variables structurelles sur la cornprehension de nos sujets, nous avons manipulé (d'un point de vue rhétorique) chaque résumé. Le résumé N° 1 était présenté soit dans une version hautement structurée (selon les recommandations de la plupart des éditeurs de revues médicales spécialisées, c'est á dire que chaque paragraphe était précédé par des ‘sous-titres’ comme par exemple ‘Objectif',‘Méthodes',‘Résultats', etc.), soit sous un format conventionnel (sans sous-titres mais correctement structuré). Le resume N° 2 était présenté soit sous un format conventionnel, soit sous une forme structurellement défectueuse (présentation illogique des différents mouvements du résumé, défaut structurel très fréquent des publications médicales). Le résumé N° 3 était présentésoit sous une forme haute-ment structurée soit sous une forme structurellement défectueuse. Chaque sous-groupe recevait une des deux versions de chaque résumé. Chaque résuméétait accompagné d'une liste de cinq questions (sélection multiple) écrites en espagnol. Par I'intermédiaire d'un questionnaire, nous avons d'autre part obtenu certains renseignements utiles sur chaque étudiant: note obtenue dans les études de médecine, spécialité médicale suivie, fréquence des réunions bibliographiques de leur département respectif, intensité de lecture hebdomadaire de textes rédigés en anglais. Finale-ment, chaque étudiant (s'il en avait le désir) pouvait faire des commentaires (par écrit) sur chacun des résumés qu'il venait de lire.Les variables indépendantes étaient les suivantes: note d'anglais, familiarité avec le contenu textuel et structure du résumé. La variable dépendante était la comprehension de la lecture (évaluée par la note obtenue aux questions de sélection multiple sur chaque résumé). Nous avons employé un test d'analyse de variance (ANOVA) pour comparer les résultats entre groupes. Les questionnaires et les commentaires des sujets sur les résumés ont été qualitativement évalués.L'analyse des questionnaires a montré que nos deux groupes de lecteurs différaient de façon significative en ce qui concernait leur niveau de connaissance générale antérieure (leurs notes obtenues dans les études de médecine différaient de façon significative), leur niveau de connaissance linguistique (en langue seconde), et I'intensité de la lecture hebdomadaire de textes rédigés en anglais. En plus, le groupe avancé avait significativement plus de reunions bibliographiques de département que le groupe intermédiaire. En ce qui concerne les résultats des tests de compréhension de lecture, ils ont révélé que les notes du groupe avancéétaient significativement meilleures que celles du groupe intermédiaire pour les trois résumés considérés globalement, ainsi que pour les deux résumés relativement peu familiers. Par contre, aucune différence statistiquement significative n'a été décelée pour le contexte familier du résumé N° 2. Nos résultats montrent aussi que:1. Dans un texte de contenu familier, bien ou ma1 structuré, ni la connaissance linguistique en langue seconde ni les variables structurelles du texte exercent une influence sur la comprehension de la lecture;2. Dans un contexte de contenu moins familier, seule la connaissance linguistique en langue seconde—mais pas la structure textuelie—exerce une influence significative sur la compréhension de lecture.3. Dans un contexte de contenu familier et structurellement dkfectueux, la structure, la connaissance linguistique en langue seconde et l'interaction entre ces deux variables exercent un effet significatif sur la compréhension de la lecture. Les commentaires émis par nos sujets sur les textes lus montrent en outre que les sujets du groupe avancé se rendent beaucoup plus facilement compte si un texte est bien (ou mal) structuré.Nous concluons donc que les variables structurelles opéerent de façon différente selon l'étendue de la connaissance générale antérieure du lecteur et de sa connaissance linguistique (langue seconde): pour les lecteurs adultes qui possèdent une connaissance linguistique (langue seconde) relativement bonne, les variables telles que I'exposition à des textes écrits (en langue première comme en langue seconde), la connaissance générale antérieure et la connaissance linguistique en langue seconde semblent exercer plus d'influence sur la compréhension de la lecture que les variables structurelles.
Background: Structured abstracts (which contain sub-headings such as this one) have replaced traditional abstracts in most current medical journals. Evaluation studies have shown that such abstracts usually contain more information, are of a higher quality, and facilitate peer review.
Aim: The aim of the studies reported here was to investigate an additional, but as yet unexamined, feature of structured abstracts – namely whether or not they might be easier to read.
Method: Eight studies were carried out. The first two compared the Flesch and the Gunning readability scores of traditional abstracts that were published in particular journals with those of structured ones that were published in the same journals after these journals had moved to using structured abstracts. The next two examined the Flesch and the Gunning readability scores of traditional and structured abstracts when they were written by the same authors. The next two examined the ability of readers to re-construct scrambled versions of abstracts to see if it was easier to re-construct structured abstracts than it was to re-construct traditional ones. The last two examined readers’ judgements of the readability of pairs of traditional and structured abstracts.
Results: The first two studies showed that there were no significant differences in the readability scores of the earlier and the later abstracts. The next two studies showed, however, that when authors revised traditional abstracts to produce structured versions then the structured abstracts had higher readability scores. The next two studies showed that when readers were asked to re-sequence sentences taken from traditional and structured abstracts, they sometimes found this harder to do with traditional abstracts. The last two studies showed that readers rated structured abstracts more readable than traditional ones.
Conclusions: These studies suggest that structured abstracts may be easier to read than traditional ones – sometimes!
Base: Les exposés structurés (qui comportent des sous–titres comme celui–ci) ont remplacéles résumés traditionnels dans la plupart des journaux courants de médecine. Les évaluations ont montréque ces résumés contiennent en général plus d’informations, sont de meilleure qualité, et facilitent l’examen par des pairs.
But: Les études rapportées ici avaient pour but d’examiner une caractéristique supplémentaire des résumés structurés qui n’a pas encore étéétudiée —à savoir leur lisibilité.
Méthode: On a effectuéhuit études. Les études 1 et 2 ont comparéla lisibilitéde résumés traditionnels publiés dans des journaux particuliers avec celle de résumés structurés publiés dans les mêmes journaux après que ces journaux aient changépour publier des résumés structurés. Les études 3 et 4 ont examinéla lisibilitéde résumés traditionnels et structurés écrits par les mêmes auteurs. Les études 5 et 6 ont examiné la capacitédes lecteurs àreconstruire des versions déstructurées de résumés pour voir s’il est plus facile de re–construire des résumés structurés que de re–construire des résumés traditionnels. Enfin, les études 7 et 8 ont testéla perception qu’ont les lecteurs de la lisibilitéde résumés traditionnels et structurés.
Résultats: Les études 1 et 2 ont montréqu’il n’y a pas de différences significatives de lisibilitédes résumés antérieurs et postérieurs. Les études 3 et 4 ont montrécependant que quand les auteurs ont revu des résumés traditionnels pour produire des résumés structurés, il s’est avéréalors que les résumés structurés sont plus faciles àlire. Les études 5 et 6 ont montréque, quand on demande aux lecteurs de reconstruire des résumés traditionnels et structurés, ils trouvent parfois que c’est plus difficile àfaire avec des résumés traditionnels, et que les effets sont plus marqués quand les deux versions sont très différentes par le style et dans le détail. Les études 7 et 8 ont montré que les lecteurs ont évaluédes versions structurées des mêmes résumés comme significativement plus lisibles que les versions traditionnelles.
Conclusions: Ces études suggèrent que les résumés structurés peuvent tre plus faciles àlire que des résumés traditionnels — parfois!
Research on expert performance suggests that deliberate practice provides optimal opportunities for expertise development. This study examined whether the provision of computer-based scaffolding (CBS) guiding deliberate practice facilitates students' development of writing expertise. A CBS environment escribo was designed to externally support expert writing activities, generate feedback and offer opportunities to practise corrected performance in academic writing. There were two testing times. First, the effects of practising writing with escribo were compared with the effects of a practice-only situation without support. Second, a post-test comprised composing an essay discussing an academic position without scaffolding. Results revealed that the escribo group at both testing times wrote essays of better comprehensibility than students in the practice-only group. Furthermore, at both testing times the escribo group expended significantly more time on prewriting. These findings suggest that CBS guiding deliberate practice may be a promising means to facilitate the development of writing expertise.
Second language (L2) reading research suggests that there is a complex interplay between L2 proficiency, first language (L1) reading and L2 reading. However, not much is known about the effect of L1 proficiency on L1 reading, and of L1 reading on L2 reading, or vice versa, in bilingual settings when readers have few opportunities for extensive reading in their L1. The relationships between L1 (Northern Sotho) and L2 (English) proficiency and L1 and L2 reading were examined in Grade 7 learners attending a high-poverty primary school in South Africa, during the course of a year when a reading intervention programme was implemented. The effect that attention to reading and accessibility of books had on the learners' reading proficiency in both languages was examined, and the factors that predicted academic performance were analysed. When the learners were engaged in more reading, L2 reading contributed more variance to L1 reading than L1 proficiency. Reading in both languages also contributed significantly to academic performance. The study highlights the need for more cross-linguistic reading research in different educational settings.
Reading in a foreign language is believed to be both a reading problem and an L2 problem. It is still unclear, however, how the two factors interact in determining the reading results in L2. The study investigates how L2 reading is affected by L2 proficiency as reflected in the learners’ lexical level on the one hand and by hidher general academic ability (including the reading ability in Ll) on the other hand. Sixty four EFL learners took part in the study. For each subject, three scores were compared: vocabulary size in L2, general academic ability, and L2 reading. The results show that 1, with vocabulary size of fewer than 3000 word families (5000 lexical items), no amount of general ability will make the learner read well; 2, with vocabulary size of 5000 word families (8000 lexical items), reading in L2 will be satisfactory whatever the general ability; 3, with vocabulary size of 3000–4000 word families (about 5000–6500 lexical items), L2 reading may or may not be influenced by general ability. Practical implications of the results are suggested.
A comparison was made between prelingually deaf and hearing children matched on reading age (between 7:0 and 7:11 years) in order to examine possible differences in reading performance. The deaf children all had a severe or profound hearing loss and were receiving special education in either a school or a unit for the deaf. The experimental tasks used a lexical decision task involving the reading of single words. The employment of phonology in reading was investigated by comparing reading performance on regular and irregular words and by comparing reading of homophonic versus non–homophonic nonwords. Both tasks revealed that hearing participants were much more affected by regularity and homophony, suggesting a much greater reliance on assembled phonological recoding. These results are discussed in terms of deaf readers relying on lexical access for reading print.
This article presents a developmental framework for interpreting and understanding how new digital technologies have been integrated into literacy instruction and research, and how they might be integrated in the future. The framework borrows the concepts of assimilation and accommodation from Piaget’s classical developmental theory of learning, applying them to how individuals and groups involved in literacy instruction and research conceptualize and implement new digital technologies in their work. It is argued that assimilation and accommodation define a developmental reality that helps explain a variety of issues pertaining to new technologies in relation to literacy research and practice, such as how new technologies come to be used or not used in literacy instruction, and what research questions are asked or not asked by literacy researchers exploring the implications of new technologies for instruction. The influence of this framework on the authors’ own work and on the work of others is illustrated.
This study examined sex differences in reading skill and reading motivation, investigating whether these differences could be better accounted for by sex, or by gender identity. One hundred and eighty-two primary school children (98 males) aged 8–11 completed a reading comprehension assessment, reading motivation questionnaire and a gender role questionnaire. While there were no sex differences in reading skill or extrinsic reading motivation, girls had significantly higher intrinsic reading motivation. However, responses to intrinsic motivation were better explained by gender identity than sex. In addition, a feminine identity was more closely associated with many different aspects of reading motivation than a masculine identity. Implications for our understanding of sex differences in reading are discussed.
Skilled readers were trained to recognise either the oral (n=44) or visual form (n=40) of a set of 32 novel words (oral and visual instantiation, respectively). Training involved learning the ‘meanings’ for the instantiated words and was followed by a visual lexical decision task in which the instantiated words were mixed with real English words and untrained pseudowords, and the instantiated words were to be considered as words. The phonology-to-orthography consistency (feedback consistency) of the instantiated words was manipulated to investigate the role of feedback from phonology in orthographic learning. Masked consonant and vowel-preserving form primes were used in the lexical decision task as probes of orthographic learning. Feedback-consistent instantiated words were recognised significantly faster in lexical decision than feedback-inconsistent instantiated words, and facilitation was significantly greater from consonant-preserving than vowel-preserving primes for orally but not visually instantiated words. The results support the hypothesis that orthographic representations based on a consonant frame can be generated from the speech signal before encountering the printed forms, and that feedback from phonology is involved in the early stages of orthographic learning.
This study investigated the relationships between phonological awareness and reading in Oriya and English. Oriya is the official language of Orissa, an eastern state of India. The writing system is an alphasyllabary. Ninety-nine fifth grade children (mean age 9 years 7 months) were assessed on measures of phonological awareness, word reading and pseudo-word reading in both languages. Forty-eight of the children attended Oriya-medium schools where they received literacy instruction in Oriya from grade 1 and learned English from grade 2. Fifty-one children attended English-medium schools where they received literacy instruction in English from grade 1 and in Oriya from grade 2. The results showed that phonological awareness in Oriya contributed significantly to reading Oriya and English words and pseudo-words for the children in the Oriya-medium schools. However, it only contributed to Oriya pseudo-word reading and English word reading for children in the English-medium schools. Phonological awareness in English contributed to English word and pseudo-word reading for both groups. Further analyses investigated the contribution of awareness of large phonological units (syllable, onsets and rimes) and small phonological units (phonemes) to reading in each language. The data suggest that cross-language transfer and facilitation of phonological awareness to word reading is not symmetrical across languages and may depend both on the characteristics of the different orthographies of the languages being learned and whether the first literacy language is also the first spoken language.
This study was designed to examine the independent contributions of phonological awareness, orthographic processing and morphological awareness on early word reading. English-speaking children in Grades 1 and 3 completed measures of these three constructs, as well as standardised measures of real and pseudoword reading and of vocabulary. Each of the three reading-related variables made an independent contribution to both real and pseudoword reading. Independent contributions of phonological awareness (7–17%) were consistently larger than those of orthographic processing (5–10%) or of morphological awareness (1–2%). In terms of differences between the grades, there was particular evidence of an increase in greater contribution of orthographic processing to pseudoword reading at Grade 3 than at Grade 1. These findings are discussed in light of current models of reading development.
It has previously been reported that exposure to visually presented correctly and incorrectly spelled words has a significant effect on subsequent spelling accuracy. Previous research investigating this process in skilled adult readers has shown very robust effects that encountering a misspelling has a detrimental effect on spelling accuracy whereas encountering a correct spelling has a beneficial effect. This effect is considered to be mediated via an implicit priming mechanism. In the current study, children with a mean age of 10 years were tested using a similar procedure to the experiments with adults but the results revealed a qualitatively different pattern. Children showed a significant beneficial effect following presentation of a correct spelling but no measurable effect of encountering a misspelling on subsequent spelling accuracy. The fact that children's spelling output was also found to be affected by depth of encoding at the point of presentation points towards an explanation of children using explicit rather than implicit processing of prior information.
During the summer vacation children who are economically disadvantaged experience declines in reading achievement, while middle- and high-income children improve. Previous research has demonstrated that the most widely implemented intervention – sending economically disadvantaged students to summer school – has not led to increases in reading achievement. In this longitudinal randomised trial, a randomly assigned group of exiting First-Grade children who were economically disadvantaged was enrolled in a seven-week summer reading day camp. The intervention students' reading achievement was then compared to control group participants at four time points. Results showed noteworthy differences for intervention students in reading comprehension.
Research indicates that cooperative learning with teacher-guided instruction is more effective in helping young children to learn than cooperative learning with minimal guidance. In the present study, two different cooperative learning activities (jigsaw and drama) and a control condition (a traditional teacher-led approach) were compared. The participants were 279 Grade 5 Hong Kong students located in nine classrooms. The two experimental conditions emphasised teachers' cognitive support in helping students to understand a text through both teacher-led and student-led activities. Post-test data included a reading comprehension test and three questionnaires that investigated students' goal orientations, initial level of relative autonomy and perceptions of instructional practices. Findings indicate that students in the jigsaw group outperformed students in both the drama group and the control group in the reading comprehension test. The implications of conducting cooperative learning activities with well-planned teacher guidance are discussed.
UKLA Wiley-Blackwell Reasearch in Literacy Education Award 2013
In a 3-year longitudinal study, we examined the relationships between oral language development, early training and reading acquisition on word-identification and reading-comprehension tests administered to a sample of 687 French children. Hierarchical linear models showed that both phonological awareness and oral comprehension at the age of 4 years were relevant to reading acquisition 2 years later. These two broad skills explained separate parts of the variance on both outcome measures, while revealing opposite effects: phonological skills explained more variance for alphabetic reading skills and oral comprehension explained more variance for reading comprehension. We also assessed the effects of two preschool training programmes focusing on either phonological awareness or comprehension skills. The results showed that phonological awareness training had a positive effect on alphabetic scores, and comprehension training had a positive effect on reading comprehension. These results provide insight into early oral instruction and contribute to the theoretical debate about the linguistic predictors of literacy acquisition.
Vacations may have detrimental effects on maths and spelling performance, but the findings for reading are less conclusive. The purpose of this study was to analyse the effects of summer vacation on early literacy skills of young children. Participants included rising first and second-graders, most of whom were at-risk, struggling readers. No evidence of summer setback was evident for this sample of children; in fact, gains in reading (or, recoupment of any losses) were more common in children performing at lower levels than for those with higher scores at the end of the school year. Our outcomes are different from those reported by other researchers. We explain this with attention to the content of our comparisons, the grade levels investigated and measures used to assess performance, and discuss implications for future research based on our findings.
A meta-analysis of the relationship between attitudes in reading and achievement in reading was conducted to provide a statistical summary to the observed variability in the magnitude of previously reported effect sizes. A total of 32 studies, with a total sample size of 224,615 were used, and included a total of 118 effect sizes. A multi-level approach was used in meta-analysis to determine if variance in the magnitude of effect sizes could be partitioned to study (level 1) and moderator (level 2) levels by using a mixed model approach. Results from the meta-analysis indicated that the mean strength of the relationship between reading attitudes and achievement is moderate (Zr=.32), while stronger for students in elementary school (Zr=.44) when compared with middle school students (Zr=.24). Findings related to selected moderator variables are discussed, with suggestions for future research.
This study investigated the relationships among parents’ self-efficacy beliefs, parents’ gender, children’s reader self-perceptions, reading achievement and gender. This study consisted of 66 students, aged eight and nine, and 92 parents involved in a family literacy project for approximately one year. The study was conducted in a rural area of Eastern Canada. There were three instruments used in this study: a Questionnaire for Parents, a Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS) (Henk & Melnick, 1995), and a standardised reading test (Test of Early Reading Ability-2 – TERA-2) (Reid, Hresko & Hammill, 1989). The Pearson-Product-Moment method and t-tests were used to determine relationships in the data and to identify significant differences in scores on the instruments. Significant positive and negative relationships were found between mothers’ and fathers’ self-efficacy beliefs and children’s reader self-perceptions. Children’s self-perceptions as readers significantly related to their reading achievement. Mothers had stronger beliefs than did fathers in their ability to help improve boys’ reading achievement. Significant differences favouring females were found in children’s reader self-perceptions and their reading achievement. The findings of this study provide a basis for understanding factors related to young children’s reading achievement.
The script-dependence hypothesis was tested through the examination of the impact of Russian and Hebrew literacy on English orthographic knowledge needed for spelling and decoding among fifth graders. We compared the performance of three groups: Russian–Hebrew-speaking emerging triliterates, Russian–Hebrew-speaking emerging biliterates who were not literate in Russian (but only in Hebrew) and Hebrew-speaking emerging biliterates. Based on similarities between Russian and English orthographies, we hypothesised that Russian–Hebrew-speaking emerging triliterates would outperform both other groups on spelling and decoding of short vowels and consonant clusters. Further, we hypothesised that all groups would face similar difficulties with novel orthographic conventions. Russian–Hebrew-speaking emerging triliterates demonstrated advantages for spelling and decoding of short vowels and for decoding of consonant clusters. All three groups experienced difficulty with spelling and decoding the digraph th as well as the split digraph (silent e).
In this article the authors describe the development of an instrument to measure change in teachers’ beliefs about how children acquire early literacy skills and how these skills should be taught. The questionnaire was originally designed for use in the evaluation of affective outcomes for teachers from literacy inservice training and development programmes. The content of the questionnaire has also proved to be of value as a focus for discussion in school staff meetings. Information is provided here on the design, development, validity and reliability of the instrument. The authors invite comment and feedback from researchers who may use the scale. The instrument may be particularly useful in countries where teachers’ beliefs and practices have been influenced to varying degrees by the ‘whole language’ versus ‘skills-based instruction’ debate.
This study investigated the link between phoneme and onset-rime awareness and reading outcomes in children learning to read in a second language (L2). Closely matched phoneme and onset-rime awareness tasks were administered in English and French in the spring of kindergarten to English-dominant children in French immersion programmes (n=98). Regression analyses indicated that English phoneme manipulation was a significant predictor of both English and French reading outcomes after controlling for kindergarten knowledge of letter names and word identification. French onset-rime knowledge measured in kindergarten accounted for significant variance for French reading outcome measures. Results support the existence of a link between English phoneme manipulation in kindergarten and both English and French reading outcomes in Grade 2. Practically, these results provide information about what phonological awareness measures can be used in kindergarten to predict later reading outcomes for children learning to read in an L2.
Acquisition of orthographic knowledge and phonemic sensitivity are processes that are central to early reading development in several languages. The language-specific characteristics of the alphasyllabaries (Bright, 1996), however, challenge the constructs of orthographic knowledge and phonemic sensitivity as discussed in the context of alphabetic scripts. This paper reports a study of 5–10-year-olds in Kannada, an alphasyllabary that represents print in units called akshara. It was hypothesised that in Kannada, when compared with the developmental pace reported in English early reading, (a) akshara knowledge acquisition would take longer and (b) phoneme awareness would be slower to emerge. The study found these hypotheses to hold true across grades and in both low-achieving and effective schools. The paper discusses the nature of the cognitive demands in akshara reading and the akshara-specific characteristics that set a pace of acquisition of orthographic knowledge and phonemic sensitivity that is quite at variance from what has been documented in the alphabetic scripts.
We report two training studies designed to investigate the relation between phonological awareness, sound-to-letter mapping knowledge, and printed word learning in novice five-year-old readers. Effects of visual memory and of teaching methods are also explored.
In our first study, novice five-year-old readers able to segment initial phonemes and with good knowledge of mappings between sounds and letters learned words more easily from repeated exposure to texts. Results suggested that visual memory influenced word learning in non-segmenting but not in segmenting children. Spelling regularity did not affect ease of learning. Nouns were easier to learn than function words.
In the second study, although phonological awareness and sound-to-letter mapping knowledge still exerted a significant influence, all novice five-year-olds were able to learn words more easily if these were taught out-of-context singly on flashcards.
Results support the view that mental representations of printed words are more easily formed by beginners who are able to match at least some of the phonological segments detected in the spoken word to letters in the printed word.
The present study examined the relations of Chinese word reading and writing to both maternal mediation of writing and a number of metalinguistic and cognitive skills in 63 Hong Kong Chinese kindergarteners. The whole process of maternal mediation of writing, in which mothers individually facilitated their children's writing of 12 two-character words in their own ways, was videotaped. This study replicated and extended previous work on the cognitive strategies mothers use to help children in writing Chinese words. Mothers' typical mediation strategies were positively and significantly associated with both children's independent word reading and writing. In addition, maternal mediation of writing was uniquely associated with Chinese word reading, but not word writing, even with metalinguistic and cognitive skills, including phonological awareness, morphological awareness, orthographic processing and visual knowledge, statistically controlled. Findings underscore the importance of mothers' early scaffolding in facilitating children's literacy acquisition.
The acquisition of reading skills is known to rely on early phonological abilities, but only a few studies have investigated the independent contribution of the different steps involved in phonological processing. This 1-year longitudinal study, spanning the initial year of reading instruction, aimed at specifying the development of phonological discrimination, awareness and various aspects of phonological memory and at assessing their respective contributions to early reading acquisition. Our results show an increase in performance at each phonological processing step, but also suggest a qualitative evolution in their relative importance. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that reading skills are mainly predicted by phonological awareness measured at the kindergarten stage and, subsequently, by phonological memory abilities measured at the end of first grade. More precisely short-term memory for serial-order information seems to contribute to the development of decoding abilities, while phonological knowledge stored in long-term memory seems to influence word recognition.