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EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN WITH READING/LEARNING DISABILITIES

EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN WITH READING/LEARNING DISABILITIES,Joseph R. Jenkins,Rollanda E. O'Connor

EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN WITH READING/LEARNING DISABILITIES   (Citations: 22)
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We can all agree that reading is one of the principal tools for understanding our humanity, for making sense of our world, for advancing the democratic ideal, and for generating personal and national prosperity. We can agree that ability to read allows us to achieve three important goals: building knowledge (e.g., learning about the physical world); acquiring information for accomplishing tasks (e.g., installing a VCR); and deriving pleasure and feeding our interests (e.g., how our favorite athletic team has fared). Lacking reading ability, our lives would be very different. They would not be as rich. Students with reading/learning disabilities (R/LDs) face enormous challenges learning to read. Many never reach a level of reading proficiency that allows them to build knowledge, acquire information, feed their interests, or enrich their lives. In some cases, their attempts to read result in such a degree of discouragement and frustration that reading subtracts rather than adds to their lives. For students with R/LDs, their early struggles in learning to read are a harbinger of dismal educational outcomes. Overall, students with learning disabilities leave elementary school with severely deficient reading and writing skills (deBettencourt, Zigmond, & Thornton, 1989; Deshler, Schumaker, Alley, Warner, & Clark, 1982) and leave secondary school with little or no improvement in these areas (Zigmond, 1990), with many dropping out before graduation (deBettencourt & Zigmond, 1990). This is why early identification and prevention of reading difficulties is important. This paper summarizes (a) our current understanding of the difficulties encountered by children with R/LDs as they start down the road to reading and (b) research on early identification and intervention. The focus is children in kindergarten through second grade, although research on older children is included when it informs the understanding of problems in early reading acquisition. The paper is divided into four sections: background on skilled reading and reading disability (RD); early identification of children with R/LDs; intervention research on this population; and final thoughts on intervention approaches. We also offer short lists of sensible actions for practitioners working in this field. BACKGROUND: SKILLED READING AND READING DISABILITY Comprehension is the immediate goal of reading. Successful reading comprehension sits atop three essential pillars: the ability to read words; the ability to comprehend language; and the ability to access background and topical knowledge relevant to specific texts. Lacking any one of these foundations, reading comprehension suffers. Having an R/LD means having trouble with one or more of the foundation skills. Reading, language skills, knowledge, and word reading ability are all mutually dependent and reciprocally related (Stanovich, 1986). Weakness anywhere in the system can spell trouble for growth in the other foundation skills, and for reading development. Reading Comprehension and Word Reading Students with an R/LD may have weaknesses in any of the three foundation areas. However, during the beginning stages of learning to read, the most salient characteristic of these students is difficulty in acquiring efficient word-level reading skill. Thus, this paper focuses on assessment and treatment of word- level reading problems. Two aspects of word reading are important for comprehension: accuracy and speed. Accurate word reading is critical to reading comprehension because the meanings that readers construct from text come via the words. No words, no meaning. If individuals cannot read words accurately, their comprehension suffers. Speed of word recognition is also strongly related to reading comprehension; individuals skilled in reading comprehension can read single words faster than individuals with poor reading comprehension (Perfetti &
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    • ...Recent work documenting the classification accuracy of early literacy screening measures has shown that these measures have a tendency toward overprediction of at-risk readers, also known as false-positive risk classifications (Catts, Fey, Zhang, & Tomblin, 2001; Hintze et al, 2003; Jenkins & O'Connor, 2002; O'Connor & Jenkins, 1999; Torgesen, 2002)...

    Athena Lentini McAlenneyet al. Identifying At-Risk Students for Early Reading Intervention: Challenge...

    • ...The results of the synthesis support the recommendation for early intervention that has shown promise for reducing reading difficulties (Francis, Shaywitz, Stuebing, Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1996; Jenkins & O'Connor, 2002; Juel, 1988)...

    Jeanne Wanzeket al. Tier 3 Interventions for Students With Significant Reading Problems

    • ...(e.g., Ikeda, Tilly, Stumme, Volmer, & Allison, 1996; Marston, Muyskens, Lau, & Canter, 2003)...

    Sharon Vaughnet al. Response to intervention with older students with reading difficulties

    • ...Procedures for determining RD risk have typically relied on practitioners who measure beginning word reading skills in late kindergarten or early first grade and apply cut-points to distinguish risk and non-risk groups (see Jenkins, 2003; O’Connor & Jenkins, 1999)...
    • ...A classification process that produces many false negatives weakens intervention efforts by depriving at-risk children of the early intervention they require (Jenkins, 2003; Torgesen, 2002a)...
    • ...For RTI to work effectively and efficiently, procedures for determining RD risk must be developed that yield a high percentage of true positives (e.g., sensitivity rates above 90% (Jenkins, 2003)), while producing a manageable pool of false positives...

    Douglas Fuchset al. Making “secondary intervention” work in a three-tier responsiveness-to...

    • ...Early intervention and prevention practices increase the probability that students at risk will meet or exceed academic expectations in the future (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2004) and demonstrate proficiency on statewide tests (Good, Simmons, & Kame’enui, 2001; Hintze & Silberglitt, 2005; Stage, 2001)...

    Scott P. Ardoinet al. Evaluating Curriculum-Based Measurement Slope Estimates Using Data Fro...

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