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Reading Success in the Primary Years: An Evidence-Based Interdisciplinary Approach to Guide Assessment and Intervention

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This open access book describes the Reading Success project, in which a 5-step, assessment-to- intervention process, based on the Simple View of Reading, was used within a primary school setting in Australia to better support those students who struggle with reading. It provides an easily accessible overview of each step of the process involved in implementing this approach and highlights the crucial importance of collaboration between professionals involved in the teaching of reading within a school setting. It focuses on the decision-making processes used, such as rich dialogue with the leadership team and teachers, and shares participants’ perspectives gathered throughout the project. Using case studies, the book describes how the 5-step approach assists in creating detailed profiles of students’ strengths and weaknesses in spoken and written language skills that can be used to guide targeted intervention This book offers valuable insights for educators, speech pathologists, researchers, and pre-service teacher education students interested in the teaching of reading
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... At all stages of reading development, both word recognition and oral language comprehension are required for successful RC (see Tunmer & Hoover, 2019). Considering the important bidirectional relationship between oral language competence and reading proficiency, speech-language pathologists play a crucial role in the management of children with reading disorders (Snow, 2016), including thorough assessment of the spoken and written language skills needed for detailed goal setting and intervention planning (Westerveld, Armstrong, & Barton, 2020). This study investigated if students with identified RC difficulties differed from their peers with typical reading skills in expository discourse, an advanced type of oral language skill that is highly relevant for school-age students (Nippold, 2007;Westerveld & Moran, 2011). ...
... Of the 94 students enrolled in year 4 at the time, 78 parents (83%) provided written informed consent for their child to participate. Full details of the larger cohort are reported by Westerveld et al. (2020). ...
... For example participant 09 (low RC/low LC group) produced a sample of adequate length (compared to participant 78) but scored very low (minimal/immature) on all elements of the ESS. This student may benefit from expository intervention as described in Clarke et al. (2010), drawing on a range of evidence-based techniques including explicit targeting of expository text structure elements and using graphic organisers (see also Westerveld et al., 2020). Following intervention, the M-FGS task could be re-administered to monitor progress. ...
Article
Purpose: The ability to produce expository discourse (the use of language to convey information) is important for classroom participation and access to the curriculum, particularly during the middle school years. This study investigated the spoken expository discourse skills of students with reading comprehension (RC) difficulties compared to their peers with average reading skills.Method: In this study, we administered a modified favourite game or sport (M-FGS) task developed by Heilmann and Malone to 48 students who were in their fifth year of schooling (9.33 - 11.11 years of age). Expository language samples were transcribed and analysed on measures of (a) microstructure: syntax (MLU in words) and vocabulary (number of different words [NDW]); and (b) macrostructure (Expository Scoring Scheme [ESS]).Result: Compared to their peers with average RC skills, students with RC difficulties demonstrated significant difficulties at the micro- and macro-structure levels. Subgroup analysis revealed the importance of spoken language comprehension proficiency (at text level) for expository discourse skills.Conclusion: The results from this small-scale investigation demonstrated the usefulness of the M-FGS task in describing challenges in expository discourse of students with RC difficulties, with clear implications for intervention.
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This investigation suggests that children should be comprehensively assessed in early foundational components including vocabulary. With this knowledge, teachers can apply the appropriate methods and strategies that support that target vocabulary. Findings can inform teachers of vocabulary interventions including strategies that enhance the foundational knowledge and usage of prior knowledge, vocabulary strategies, and building self-esteem and confidence. The data also can help teachers create an instructional program that utilizes explicit vocabulary instruction and vocabulary usage including Latin affixes.
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This study investigated the feasibility of a teacher implemented intervention to accelerate phonological awareness, letter, and vocabulary knowledge in 141 children (mean age 5 years, 4 months) who entered school with lower levels of oral language ability. The children attended schools in low socioeconomic communities where additional stress was still evident 6 years after the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011. The teachers implemented the intervention at the class or large group level for 20 h (four 30-min sessions per week for 10 weeks). A stepped wedge research design was used to evaluate intervention effects. Children with lower oral language ability made significantly more progress in both their phonological awareness and targeted vocabulary knowledge when the teachers implemented the intervention compared to progress made when teachers implemented their usual literacy curriculum. Importantly, the intervention accelerated children’s ability to use improved phonological awareness skills when decoding novel words (treatment effect size d = 0.88). Boys responded to the intervention as well as girls and the skills of children who identified as Māori or Pacific Islands (45.5% of the cohort) improved in similar ways to children who identified as New Zealand European. The findings have important implications for designing successful teacher-implemented interventions, within a multi-tier approach, to support children who enter school with known challenges for their literacy learning.
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The simple view of reading (SVR) proposes that performance in reading comprehension is the result of decoding and linguistic comprehension, and that each component is necessary but not sufficient for reading comprehension. In this study, the joint and unique predictive influences of decoding and linguistic comprehension for reading comprehension were examined with a group of 757 children in Grades 3 through 5. Children completed multiple measures of each construct, and latent variables were used in all analyses. Overall, the results of our study indicate that (a) the two constructs included in the SVR account for almost all of the variance in reading comprehension, (b) there are developmental trends in the relative importance of the two components, and (c) the two components share substantial predictive variance, which may complicate efforts to substantially improve children’s reading comprehension because the overlap may reflect stable individual differences in general cognitive or linguistic abilities.
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In this article, I highlight the impact that the simple view of reading (SVR) has had on the field of reading over the last 30 years. I argue that the SVR has led to many significant advancements in our understanding of reading comprehension. I also contend that it has contributed to some false impressions concerning comprehension that impact research and practice in important ways.
Article
The recasting of education as an economic rather than a social good means that governments around the world will continue to pursue agendas to show that schooling systems are effective in raising standards. Literacy is a key area of comparison on the world stage, placing literacy educators under enormous pressure to perform in this culture of accountability and visibility. We use Archer’s theory of reflexivity and morphogenesis to identify the work of nine literacy teachers and leaders in Australia as both enabling and constraining with personal, structural and cultural emergent properties needing to be constantly negotiated. Our findings show that mediation of these emergent properties occurred in different ways. Mostly teachers acted in ways that accepted ‘the way things are’ rather than mobilising as corporate agents or social actors to enact change. We argue that literacy educators can find ways to harness enablements to reclaim their professional autonomy.
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This study aimed to investigate if a universal 24-week oral language and emergent literacy programme delivered to students in the first year of schooling positively impacts reading performance 2-years post intervention. Eighty-nine participants were second grade students from three primary schools in low socio-economic status areas. Using a controlled trial, the original study findings revealed larger gains in oral narrative, receptive vocabulary, and phonological awareness amongst students who received the intervention compared to those who received regular classroom instruction. At follow-up, student reading performance was compared using a standardised reading assessment. There were no differences between students who received the intervention and those who did not. To further investigate these findings, the oral language and emergent literacy skills of “average” and “below average” readers at the end of the first year of schooling were compared to assist in tailoring follow-up interventions. The implications for universal classroom-based programmes are discussed.
Article
Purpose Compared to children with typical development, children with dyslexia, developmental language disorder (DLD), or both often demonstrate working memory deficits. It is unclear how pervasive the deficits are or whether the deficits align with diagnostic category. The purpose of this study was to determine whether different working memory profiles would emerge on a comprehensive battery of central executive, phonological, visuospatial, and binding working memory tasks and whether these profiles were associated with group membership. Method Three hundred two 2nd graders with typical development, dyslexia, DLD, or dyslexia/DLD completed 13 tasks from the Comprehensive Assessment Battery for Children–Working Memory ( Gray, Alt, Hogan, Green, & Cowan, n.d. ) that assessed central executive, phonological, and visuospatial/attention components of working memory. Results Latent class analyses yielded 4 distinct latent classes: low overall (21%), average with high number updating (30%), average with low number updating (12%), and high overall (37%). Children from each disability group and children from the typically developing group were present in each class. Discussion Findings highlight the importance of knowing an individual child's working memory profile because working memory profiles are not synonymous with learning disabilities diagnosis. Thus, working memory assessments could contribute important information about children's cognitive function over and above typical psychoeducational measures.
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Effective inclusion of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in multi-grade classrooms is complex, depending on the ability of teachers to meet challenges posed in delivering a broad and balanced curriculum while simultaneously meeting the often quite specific needs of pupils with SEN. This paper details the findings of research which investigated perceptions of mainstream teachers in relation to how they meet the needs of pupils with SEN in multi-grade classrooms. It focuses on adaptations to the instructional practices used in multi-grade classrooms which facilitate the education of pupils with SEN with their peers. This research has highlighted great similarity between multi-grade classrooms and inclusive classroom practices reported in the literature. Flexibility of grouping and teaching practices, differentiation, and planning emerge as valuable in facilitating the effective inclusion of pupils with SEN in multi-grade settings.
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A framework for conceptualizing the development of individual differences in reading ability is presented that synthesizes a great deal of the research literature. The framework places special emphasis on the effects of reading on cognitive development and on “bootstrapping” relationships involving reading. Of key importance are the concepts of reciprocal relationships—situations where the causal connection between reading ability and the efficiency of a cognitive process is bidirectional-and organism-environment correlation—the fact that differentially advantaged organisms are exposed to nonrandom distributions of environmental quality. Hypotheses are advanced to explain how these mechanisms operate to create rich-get-richer and poor-get-poorer patterns of reading achievement. The framework is used to explicate some persisting problems in the literature on reading disability and to conceptualize remediation efforts in reading.