Study suggests intervention for overcoming reading-comprehension difficulties in children

August 2, 2010, Association for Psychological Science

Effective reading requires recognizing words and also understanding what they mean. Between 7-10 percent of children have specific reading-comprehension difficulties. These children can read text aloud accurately but do not understand what they have just read. A new study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, identifies a training program which may help children overcome reading-comprehension difficulties.

Psychological scientists Paula J. Clarke, Margaret J. Snowling, Emma Truelove, and Charles Hulme from the University of York in the United Kingdom conducted a study to see which of three intervention programs is most effective in improving children's . Children (8- and 9-year olds) with reading-comprehension difficulties participated in one of three intervention programs: Text Comprehension training (TC), which emphasized metacognitive strategies (for example, re-reading and visualization) and involved working with written texts; Oral Language training (OL), which emphasized vocabulary and exclusively involved spoken language; and TC and OL training combined (COM) that integrated components from both training programs. Children's performance was assessed before they started the training program, during the program, and 11 months after they completed their program.

The results showed that while all three of the training programs helped to improve reading comprehension, the largest long-term gains occurred for children who were in the OL training group. According to the authors, "The OL and COM groups also showed improvements in knowledge of the meanings of words that they had been taught and these improvements, in turn, helped to account for these children's improved reading comprehension skills." That children in the OL training group showed more improvement than did children in the COM training group indicates that the total amount of time devoted to oral-language training (the COM training program relied on half as much oral-language training than did the OL intervention) may be crucial for overcoming reading-comprehension difficulties. The authors note their findings suggest that "deficits in oral vocabulary may be one important underlying cause of children's reading-comprehension problems."

The results of this study have important implications for education and may help guide teachers in helping overcome problems in reading comprehension.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study with infants suggests language not necessary for reasoning ability

March 16, 2018
A team of researchers from Spain, Hungary and Poland has found via a study with infants that language may not be a necessity for the ability to reason. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes ...

Hep C compounds alcoholism's effect on brain volume

March 16, 2018
(HealthDay)—Alcohol dependence has deleterious effects on frontal cortical volumes that are compounded by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and drug dependence, according to a study published online March 14 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Older adults' difficulties with focusing can be used to help put a face to a name

March 16, 2018
Everyone has experienced the awkward situation of meeting someone and then forgetting their name shortly after. Among older adults, this happens more often than not.

Study casts doubt on ketamine nasal sprays for depression

March 16, 2018
Researchers from the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney have questioned the efficacy and safety of intranasal ketamine for depression, with their pilot trial stopped early due to poor side effects in patients.

A little anger in negotiation pays

March 16, 2018
During negotiations, high-intensity anger elicits smaller concessions than moderate-intensity anger, according to a new study by management and business experts at Rice University and Northwestern University.

Research reveals brain mechanism involved in language learning

March 15, 2018
Learning a new language may be more of a science than an art, a University of Sussex study finds.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.