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Understanding risk for reading difficulties in children with language impairment

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to retrospectively examine the preschool language and early literacy skills of kindergarten good and poor readers, and to determine the extent to which these skills predict reading status. Method: Participants were 136 children with language impairment enrolled in early childhood special education classrooms. On the basis of performance on a word recognition task given in kindergarten, children were classified as either good or poor readers. Comparisons were made across these 2 groups on a number of language and early literacy measures administered in preschool, and logistic regression was used to determine the best predictors of kindergarten reading status. Results: Twenty-seven percent of the sample met criterion for poor reading in kindergarten. These children differed from good readers on most of the skills measured in preschool. The best predictors of kindergarten reading status were oral language, alphabet knowledge, and print concept knowledge. Presence of comorbid disabilities was not a significant predictor. Classification accuracy was good overall. Conclusion: Results suggest that risk of reading difficulty for children with language impairment can be reliably estimated in preschool, prior to the onset of formal reading instruction. Measures of both language and early literacy skills are important for identifying which children are likely to develop later reading difficulties. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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