Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Taps a Mechanism That Places Constraints on the Development of Early Reading Fluency

Lervag, A., & Hulme, C. (2009). Rapid automatized naming (RAN) taps a mechanism that places constraints on the development of early reading fluency. Psychological Science, 20, 1040-1048.

This study explored the relationship between the ability to rapidly name items (RAN) and to learn to read. Three possible relationships were postulated: RAN may tap causal mechanisms for differences in learning to read; differences in learning to read might be the cause of differences in RAN; there might be a bidirectional causal relationship.

A group of 233 unselected, grade 1 children from Norway completed RAN tasks at 5 time points over a 37-month period. The first and second testing time points were compared for the children before and after reading instruction, and text reading fluency was also measured at time points 2-5.

Structural equation modeling examined how well Time 2 RAN and reading were predicted from Time 1 RAN. Results revealed that reading fluency, phoneme awareness, and RAN at Time 2 were strongly predicted from Time 1 RAN measures. Additionally, rapid naming of letters and numbers was strongly predicted by RAN for nonalphanumeric items. RAN was found to be an important predictor of later text-reading fluency. In latent growth curve analysis, nonaphanumeric RAN predicted the non-linear growth of text-reading fluency over all time points.

The results showed that nonalphanumeric RAN is a good predictor of later variations in reading skill, and that early variations in reading ability are not good predictors of later variations in RAN. Therefore, after reading instruction has started, RAN continues to exert an influence on the development of reading fluency over the next 2 years. However, there is no evidence of a reciprocal influence of reading fluency on the growth of RAN skill. Later in development, once literacy skills had started to develop, alphanumeric RAN predicted the further growth of text-reading fluency. However, text-reading fluency did not predict growth in RAN. Therefore, RAN and reading do not show reciprocal influences on one another.

From these findings, the researchers suggested that RAN may underlie a child’s word-recognition abilities but acknowledged previous findings that RAN related training has had limited success.

Jenna Coady is completing an independent study examining RAN, phonemic awareness, and reading in young children. She is finishing her final year in the Masters of Clinical Science program in Speech Language Pathology.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Risk for Poor Performance on a Language Screening Measure for Bilingual Preschoolers and Kindergartens

Pena, E.D., Gillam, R.B., Bedore, L.M., & Bohman, T. M. (2011). Risk for Poor Performance on a Language Screening Measure for Bilingual Preschoolers and Kindergartens. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 302-314.

This study examines the relationship between language experience and Latino children’s performance on Bilingual measures (English and Spanish). The primary purpose of the study is to examine whether preschooler and kindergarteners children who are learning two languages at the same time present with risk for language impairment more than the monolingual children. Also, this study explored the relationship between maternal education and length of exposure in both languages (English and Spanish).

A total of 1,029 children completed subtests assessing semantics and morphsyntax in both languages (English and Spanish) of the Bilingual English Spanish Oral Screener (BESOS; currently in development). From parental report the study identified each child to be in one of five groups of languages: (1) functionally monolingual English (FME), (2) bilingual English dominant (BED), (3) balanced bilingual (BL), (4) bilingual Spanish dominant (BSD), and (5) functionally monolingual Spanish (FMS). The bilingual not-at-risk group scored lower than the monolingual and language dominant groups in both languages. In addition, in English subtest tasks, the balance bilingual with no risk earned the same scores as the English monolingual at risk group. Moreover, the two bilingual dominant groups had the same score as their bilingual groups in their stronger language.

The study reported that bilingual children might be at risk for poor performance on language measures. However, bilingualism is not related to increased risk for language impairment because performance of the at-risk groups did not differ significantly for across all five language groups. In sum, the study found that monolingual and bilingual child had the same overall language knowledge provided measures in both languages were included for the bilingual groups. The results underlined the problem of assessing bilingual children in only one language.

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