Reading Intervention

Reading intervention

Many students who are referred for academic concerns or diagnosed with learning disabilities have problems with reading. Reading intervention is one way to address these difficulties.

Educators must consider a range of factors when selecting an intervention program for children who struggle with reading. Ideally, these decisions should stem from systematic data collection that allows for informed decision-making.

Phonological Recoding

Phonological recoding is the ability to segment an unknown word into its constituent sounds, blend those sounds together, and read the word (share, 1995). It is a prerequisite for orthographic learning, because it enables children to apply their knowledge of sound-symbol correspondences to decode words from print.

To address this, we developed and evaluated a web-based intervention delivered via teletherapy, called WordDriver, that targets the phonological recoding component of reading. Participants were five children who, despite previous intervention using a systematic, synthetic phonics approach, still had persistent word recognition impairment.

The primary outcomes were the researcher-developed WordDriver-1 and WordDriver-2 AxNW Lists, which measured change in decoding accuracy over time during the intervention. A standardised assessment of nonword reading was also administered, to examine whether gains in decoding were reflected in performance on this measure. Each list consists of 35 items with 1:1 grapheme-phoneme correspondence that vary in difficulty (two-, three-, four-, and five-letter items). The presentation of these items was adaptive to participant error, with easier items presented following an incorrect response and harder items following a correct response.

Orthographic Processing

Orthographic Processing is the process where students link the sounds of words they already know (the phonemes) with their spellings to become fluent readers. When this has happened, students can instantly recognize a word when it is presented to them. These words are known as sight words and allow for reading to be fast, accurate and fluent.

Typically developing students have to see a word one to four times before it is permanently stored in their memory and becomes an instantly recognizable word, called a sight word. This is a vital part of becoming a skilled reader and research shows that interventions that improve students’ orthographic pattern knowledge lead to increased single word reading speed.

It has been found that students have to use a combination of both phonological and orthographic processes to read. This is because they have to use their phonological decoding skills to break down the word into its sound components and then link these with the spellings of those letters, as well as their meanings.

Word Recognition

Word recognition is the ability to recognize a word and instantly recognize its pronunciation. It is a critical component of reading, and one that requires significant practice to achieve automaticity.

To build strong word recognition skills, children must receive phonics instruction that allows them to decode words and letter-sound correspondences (i.e., understand the alphabetic principle that letters represent the sounds that we say).

In addition to focusing on sound-letter patterns, this type of instruction also helps children learn to look for visual cues in unfamiliar words. For example, the shape of a word can help readers recognize it, as for instance, the word “cat” has three straight lines while the word “dog” has two curved lines. The use of word walls, a limited set of common sight words that are regularly spelled, and reading aloud all provide opportunities for students to practice these strategies. Eye movement monitoring, such as electrooculography (EOG), is helpful in identifying the neural responses that occur during reading.

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension involves understanding the meaning of written text. It requires students to have a large vocabulary, but it also involves making connections between what they read and what they already know. Comprehension strategies include activating prior knowledge, asking questions during reading and following up with open-ended questions that ask children to think deeply about what they read.

It is easy to mistakenly think that children who can decode words are good readers, but it takes more than decoding to comprehend a text. Students must have strategies for interpreting what they read and understanding the relationship between the author’s purpose, text structure, and genre.

Reciprocal teaching is an approach that has been shown to help delayed readers catch up to and even exceed their peers. It places heavy emphasis on teacher-student interactions in a cognitive apprenticeship fashion. The teacher introduces new strategies and skills such as predicting, questioning, and summarizing, and models them with student partners. As students become proficient, the amount of direct instruction decreases and the responsibilities for learning are transferred to the student.

Reading Intervention
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