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PS2011 & PS2016 Cognitive Psychology. Dr John Beech Learning to read.

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Presentation on theme: "PS2011 & PS2016 Cognitive Psychology. Dr John Beech Learning to read."— Presentation transcript:

1 PS2011 & PS2016 Cognitive Psychology. Dr John Beech Learning to read

2 2 Learning to read: phonology There is a link between problems in processing sounds in words and subsequent reading, as will be seen. Early work simply looked at correlations between reading and phonology. E.g. Rosner & Simon (1971). Phonology: “Steam without the /s/ = team”. At various levels of difficulty. From 6 yrs on, ranged between r =.59 to.84 with reading. Persisted even when effects of IQ subtracted. Thus a connection between the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in words and the ability to read. There are now hundreds of studies showing connections between various types of language abilities, especially at the level of processing phonemes and reading. The results are very consistent.

3 3 Learning to read: phonology Some have suggested that sensitivity to rhyming and the use of analogy is important, based on work by Goswami & Bryant (1990). They suggest early experiences with nursery rhyme leads to the use of this knowledge in reading. However, several studies (e.g. Nation & Hulme, 1997) show that children do not use rhyming and rarely use analogy in order to read.

4 4 Learning to read: phonology Stuart & Coltheart (1988) tested children before going to school on their phonology and letter-sound knowledge. These were significant predictors of reading age. Wagner (1988): meta-analysis on 16 longitudinal and training studies. All tested reading and phonology at kindergarten. Found: 1. IQ was not important 2. training phonological skills improved reading 3. The following skills had a causal influence on subsequent word analysis skills: Analysis of phonemes (segmenting words); blending phonemes; working memory.

5 5 Learning to read: phonology Bradley & Bryant (1983) chose 65 out of 400 who had poor phonemic awareness at 4-5yrs. Then put in 4 groups: 1. Training on sound categorisation 2. Training on sound category+plastic letters 3. Placebo control - trained on semantic classes 4. Control - just left alone Groups 1-3 trained 40 x 15 min over 2 yrs. Found that Group 1 ahead of 3, but not sig. Group 2 were 8 mth ahead and sig diff from Group 3. [Thus rank order: 2 > 1 > 3 > 4] Thus need to train sounds and connections with letters.

6 6 Learning to read: phonology Lundberg et al. (1988) in Sweden found intensive training for 8 mth of just phonemic awareness, before learning to read, did improve reading later relative to controls. But in Sweden spelling is regular. Cunningham (1990) compared 2 methods of teaching phonemic awareness and letter-sound coding. Compared “skill and drill” method with one involving explaining the context of such skills. The “metalinguistic” method better than skill and drill.

7 7 Summary so far There is a good correlation between awareness of the sounds in words and reading performance. However, reading does not appear to be connected with early rhyming. Also analogy is rarely used. Evidence that training phonological skills improves reading. Bradley & Bryant showed that training letter- sound knowledge is important. Cunningham showed that it is better to show children the context in which letter-sound connections should be used.

8 8 Theories of reading: stage models A stages view of reading Several theorists have suggested reading develops in stages: e.g. Frith (1985), Ehri (1994, 2002). Frith suggested 3 stages: 1.Logographic (or whole word) skills 2.Alphabetic skills 3.Orthographic skills. She suggested that they followed in strict order.

9 9 1. Logographic stage Marsh et al (1981) “Glance and guess” phase. Frith (1985): memorises important features, but letter order ignored. Discrimination in limited set easy until 2 very similar words (house and horse). Marsh et al suggested “discrimination net guessing” and viewed this as a second phase.

10 10 1. Logographic stage Seymour & Elder (1986): Examined a class of children taught by “whole word” method with no phonics for a year. But when presented vertical or zigzagged words – e.g: c or a p p l e a t …most of them were only mildly disrupted – indicating that they didn’t store visual “gestalts”. But some children were very disrupted suggested that in contrast, these did store words as gestalts. Seymour and Elder also suggested that analysis covers word length, shape of about 12 letters and their position. Could discriminate large vocabulary on this basis.

11 11 1. Logographic stage Henderson & Chard (1980) Grade 2 & 4 in a lexical RT task sensitive to positional letter frequency in non-words, as well as to presence of vowels. E.g. shrnld has high positional frequency, but dtscfk is low. This suggests that even 6-yr olds aware of spelling structure.

12 12 2. Alphabetic stage As we have seen mastering phonic (letter-sound) skills improves reading. Having this skill means that one can decode unfamiliar words when reading text. Snowling (1980) argued that children with dyslexia have poor phonic skills, but develop sight vocabulary despite this, but slowly. Those with dyslexia were worse reading non-words compared with RA controls. Campbell & Butterworth (1985) tested a developmental phonological dyslexic: problems reading non-words. She’d learned to read but with problems in phonemic processing and impaired grapheme-phoneme conversion (GPC).

13 13 3. Othographic stage Automatic analysis of orthographic units without phonological conversion. Frith suggests we have morphemic units (e.g. ride, riding). These morphemes are represented by abstract string of letters. The orthographic phase is not visual, but involves abstract codes. Once established the previous strategies become less accessible.

14 14 Dual route theory Two independent routes to reading (e.g. Coltheart, 1978). Lexical route and one translating letters to sounds. Use of the 2 routes depends on skill. E.g. a regular frequent word (e.g. get): learner uses GPC, expert uses lexical route. Highly irregular word (e.g. choir) might only be lexical for both. The lexical route could be considered to be like logographic initially. But eventually automated. Letter-to-sound route called grapheme-to- phoneme conversion (GPC). Because sometimes not simple 1-to-1 (e.g. ch, th, sh).

15 15 Dual route theory Spelling regularity and words vs nonwords are ways to examine operation of 2 routes. (e.g. regular - singer; irregular - yacht; clarf - nonword) Non-words read by GPC alone. Words are read by a combination of 2 routes. Predicts irregular read more slowly than regular. The two routes generate 2 different phonological codes for irregular words. In terms of reading development, reading begins with the lexical route, but helped increasingly by the GPC route. It all depends on the method of teaching, of course.

16 16 Dual route theory Stuart & Coltheart (1988) - mentioned before - found letter-sound knowledge before learning to read predicts later reading age. This challenges Frith’s model of processing in strict stages. Here GPC knowledge was helping reading, not just logographic knowledge. Evidence from acquired reading disorders suggest selective impairment of either a visual/lexical route or to a GPC.

17 17 Evaluation The Frith model has similarities to the dual-route model as both proposed a GPC route and a lexical route. However, the Frith model subdivides lexical processing between a logographic process and later, an orthographic one. Frith is probably incorrect to assume that there is a strict sequence of stages. It is likely that the alphabetic (or GPC) phase runs in parallel. Frith makes a valuable contribution on the nature of the early stages of word recognition, which she calls “logographic”. It is difficult to produce the definitive model as reading is a collection of skills and these skills may well depend on the strategies of the learner and the learning environment.

18 18 Evaluation Connectionist modellers have challenged the dual-route model arguing that the distinctions produced by spelling regularity and by words vs non-words can be explained by frequency of usage effects. Irregular spelling patterns are encountered infrequently. However, the dual-route model probably provides a good working model for educators. It shows that children need to develop a sight vocabulary (a lexicon) and also need to develop skills for the GPC. Furthermore, dual route theory gives a good account of the acquired dyslexias.

19 19 Summary so far Training letter-sound skills improves reading. The improvement is even better if context explained. Frith has suggested: logographic, alphabetic and orthographic stages in reading occurring in strict order. But it is more likely that alphabetic processes occur early on, depending on the learning environment. Dual route theory suggests a lexical route and a GPC route which operate independently and change according to the level of skill. Connectionist theorists suggest frequency of usage may be a more likely explanation of some differences found when manipulating spelling regularity and words vs non- words. Dual-route theory is still likely to be useful for educators.

20 20 Vision and reading There has been a lot of research on this and generally there is not much of a connection between visual problems and reading. Raynor (1985) had poor readers read easy text and found no eye movement problems, but erratic patterns with harder material. Then, testing good readers with difficult material, their patterns became erratic as well. Thus erratic patterns due to level of difficulty. Small minority have problems with binocular fusion (keeping both eyes in focus). Stein & Fowler (1993) had group with severe reading problems matched in RA (Reading Age) to younger good readers. The older group had binocular fusion problems and visual training by itself improved reading.

21 21 Vision and reading Aasved (1989) comprehensively tested 2,590 children, 259 of whom had dyslexia. He concluded no connection between visual problems and reading and spelling problems. However, in 1% of the sample he examined he found children with visual memory and visual processing problems. They had problems in spelling, copying and identifying letters and visual confusions when reading text. Normal in phonological tasks. Connecting visual memory to reading problems can be difficult because of the intervention of phonological processes.

22 22 Teaching reading What are the implications for teaching reading? Most children use active strategies but these vary in effectiveness. Also, they don’t all do what their teachers tell them. They may also find their parents contradict their teachers when they come home. It is important to establish systematic subskills. “Look and say” and “real book” methods may not teach some important skills systematically. They may be too haphazard.

23 23 Skills to learn Here are some early examples of useful skills to learn: 1. Discrimination of letter shapes. By exercises and by copying them by hand. 2. Putting letter shapes in the correct sequence from left to right across the page. 3. Developing awareness of all the phonemic sounds (43 in English roughly). May require kinaesthetic (awareness of positions of muscles) awareness. 4. Matching letters-to-sounds and vice versa. 5. Knowing that a letter stands for the same sound anywhere in the word (e.g. f in fog, in offer and off) etc.

24 24 Problems and solutions Traditional phonic teaching can have problems. E.g. children given spelling lists of similar groups of words (Bill, Jill, hill) which out of context may appear to the child as having little relevance. Attention span in some children can be problematic. When a proportion of children fall behind, they know that their class mates are fully aware of this. Slowly slipping behind their mates and a feeling of lack of success can lead to behaviour problems. The majority of children with attention difficulties have serious problems in reading or something else. Reinforcers have some merits, but “tributes” which inform a child about his competence is more useful (Katz, 1987).

25 25 Problems and solutions It seems that it is easier to help young poor readers (6- 7yrs) than older ones. Alphabetic rules are learned more easily and persist for longer as long as back in class they are taught in the same way. Unfortunately assessments for dyslexia do not typically start until the age of 7 years upwards. Older readers tend to develop habits of memorising only by sight, or parts of words, which can be dysfunctional. Children learn much faster in one-to-one sessions than in small groups (Slavin, 1996)

26 26 Problems and solutions Children labelled “dyslexic” or “reading disabled” may have low expectations foisted on them by parents and teachers. One of the most popular of reading programs is Reading Recovery developed by Marie Clay. This targets 20% of the poorest readers in the first year. It has “real books” in a graded series, training in sound to letter correspondences in writing. 60 hrs of training at 30 min/day is required to get any gain. Assessment on this program has been methodologically very weak. E.g. testing is on the same materials the children learned from. Drop out rates are very high at 38%. It is an expensive program, which when tested objectively does not appear to work (e.g. Center et al, 1995)

27 27 Final summary Generally there is not really a connection between visual problems and reading problems. 1% have problems in visual memory and processing, including having visual confusions when reading text. Systematic teaching of subskills is important. This particularly applies to teaching phonic subskills. It is better to start at an early stage teaching these systematic skills. Attention difficulties associated with reading are probably an effect of reading problems rather than a cause. One-to-one learning produces faster results than small group learning.


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