Researchers

The Iowa Reading Research Center has compiled the following research articles and publications that specifically apply to researchers.

By Deborah K. Reed

A Comparison of General and Content-Specific Literacy Strategies for Learning Science Content

Abstract

This study employed an adapted alternating treatments single-case design to explore students’ learning of biology content when using a general note-taking (GNT) strategy and a content-specific graphic organizer (CGO) to support reading high school biology texts. The 4 focal participants were 15–18-year-olds committed to a moderate risk juvenile justice facility. Lessons were delivered once a week for 7 weeks with CGO delivered first in odd weeks and GNT first in even weeks. When students were unfamiliar with the strategies or experiencing emotional or health problems, their weekly quiz scores tended to be higher on whichever lesson was delivered first. After stabilizing, an average ability reader did better on CGO lessons, and a student with below-average reading ability did better on GNT lessons. CGO took more time to prepare but an average of 11 minutes less than each GNT lesson to implement. CGO also was associated with more student-initiated responses and more self-reported student preferences.

Reed, D.K., Whalon, K., Lynn, D., Miller, N., & Smith, K. (2016). A Comparison of General and Content-Specific Literacy Strategies for Learning Science Content. Exceptionality. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09362835.2016.1196441 | Article Link

An examination of text complexity as characterized by readability and cohesion

Abstract

To better understand dimensions of text complexity and their impact on the comprehension of adolescents, 103 high school seniors were randomly assigned to four groups. Each group read versions of the same two informational passages and answered comprehension test items targeting factual recall and inferences of causal content. Group A passages had a challenging readability level and high cohesion; Group B passages had an easier readability and low cohesion; Group C passages had a challenging readability level and low cohesion; and Group D passages had an easier readability and high cohesion. Students in Group D significantly outperformed students in Group C (g = 0.78). Although the effect sizes of comparisons among all groups ranged from g = 0.13 to 0.73, no other comparisons were statistically significant. Results indicate that adolescents’ reading comprehension is dually influenced by a text’s readability and cohesion. Implications for matching readers to instructional text are discussed.

Reed, D.K., & Kershaw-Herrera, (2015). An examination of text complexity as characterized by readability and cohesion.
Journal of Experimental Education, 84, 75-97. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2014.963214

A Synthesis of peer mediated academic interventions for secondary struggling learners

Abstract

A synthesis of the extant research on peer-mediated reading and math interventions for students in regular or alternative education settings with academic difficulties and disabilities in Grades 6 to 12 (ages 11–18) is presented. Interventions conducted between 2001 and 2012 targeting reading and math were included if they measured effects on at least one academic outcome measure. A total of 13 intervention studies were synthesized in which 10 studies employed an experimental or quasi-experimental design and three studies used a single-case design. Findings from the 13 studies revealed mostly moderate to high effects favoring peer mediation, particularly when implementing a peer-mediated feedback component. In addition, findings suggest such interventions have social validity among adolescents and teachers. More rigorous research on secondary peer-mediated math interventions, peer-mediated interventions in alternative settings, and effective ways to pair dyads to incorporate a structured feedback component is warranted. Implications for peer-mediated instruction for academically struggling adolescents are discussed.

Wexler, J. A., Reed, D.K., Pyle, N., Mitchell, M., Barton, E. E., (2015). A Synthesis of peer mediated academic interventions for secondary struggling learners. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48, 451-470. doi: 10.117/0022219413504997

Reading practices in the juvenile correctional facility setting: Incarcerated adolescents speak out

Abstract

This multi-phasic, qualitative study explored the perceptions and provision of research-based reading instruction in the juvenile correctional facility setting. In three settings in two states, we interviewed students (n D 17), teachers (n D 5), and administrators (n D 3); and conducted two focus groups (n D 8), student surveys (n D 49), and seven observations of reading instruction. Our purposes were to (a) examine students’ perceptions of themselves as readers, (b) their perceptions regarding the importance of reading, and (c) the reading practices implemented with juvenile offenders. Findings suggest that a majority of incarcerated students view reading as an important skill, but there is a large disparity in the amount and type of reading instruction they are provided.

Wexler, J., Reed, D. K., & Sturges, K. (2015). Reading practices in the juvenile correctional facility setting: Incarcerated adolescents speak out. Exceptionality, 23, 100-123. doi: 10.1080/09362835.2014.986602

Examiner error in curriculum-based measurement of oral reading

Abstract

Abstract Although curriculum based measures of oral reading (CBM-R) have strong technical adequacy, there is still a reason to believe that student performance may be influenced by factors of the testing situation, such as errors examiners make in administering and scoring the test. This study examined the construct-irrelevant variance introduced by examiners using a cross-classified multilevel model. We sought to determine the extent of variance in student CBM-R scores attributable to examiners and, if present, the extent to which it was moderated by students' grade level and English learner (EL) status. Fit indices indicated that a cross-classified random effects model (CCREM) best fits the data with measures nested within students, students nested within schools, and examiners crossing schools. Intraclass correlations of the CCREM revealed that roughly 16% of the variance in student CBM-R scores was associated between examiners. The remaining variance was associated with the measurement level, 3.59%; between students, 75.23%; and between schools, 5.21%. Results were moderated by grade level but not by EL status. The discussion addresses the implications of this error for low-stakes and high-stakes decisions about students, teacher evaluation systems, and hypothesis testing in reading intervention research.

Cummings, K., Biancarosa, G., Schaper, A., & Reed, D. K. (2014). Examiner error in curriculum-based measurement of oral reading. Journal of School Psychology, 52, 361-375. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2014.05.007

Assessment fidelity in reading intervention research: A synthesis of the literature

Abstract

Recent studies indicate that examiners make a number of intentional and unintentional errors when administering reading assessments to students. Because these errors introduce construct-irrelevant variance in scores, the fidelity of test administrations could influence the results of evaluation studies. To determine how assessment fidelity is being addressed in reading intervention research, we systematically reviewed 46 studies conducted with students in Grades K–8 identified as having a reading disability or at-risk for reading failure. Articles were coded for features such as the number and type of tests administered, experience and role of examiners, tester to student ratio, initial and follow-up training provided, monitoring procedures, testing environment, and scoring procedures. Findings suggest assessment integrity data are rarely reported. We discuss the results in a framework of potential threats to assessment fidelity and the implications of these threats for interpreting intervention study results.

Reed, D. K., Cummings, K. D., *Schaper, A., & Biancarosa, G. (2014). Assessment fidelity in reading intervention research: A synthesis of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 84, 275-321. doi: 10.3102/0034654314522131

The relative effects of teacher read-alouds and student silent reading on predominantly bilingual high school seniors’ learning and retention of social studies content

Abstract

Teacher read-alouds (TRA) are common in middle and high school content area classes. Because the practice of reading the textbook out loud to students is often used out of concern about students’ ability to understand and learn from text when reading silently (SR), this randomized controlled trial was designed to experimentally manipulate text reading while blocking on all other instructional elements to determine the relative effects on learning content. Predominantly Spanish–English bilingual twelfth-graders (n = 123) were randomly assigned to either a TRA or SR condition and provided 1 week of high quality instruction in US history. Daily lessons included teaching key terms in the passage, previewing text headings, and conducting comprehension checks. Results of immediate, 1-week delayed, and 1-month delayed assessments of content learning revealed no significant differences between the two groups. Students were also asked to rate the method of reading they believed best helped them understand and remember information. Students in the SR condition more consistently agreed that reading silently was beneficial. Findings suggest low performing adolescents of different linguistic backgrounds can learn content as well when reading appropriately challenging text silently as when the teacher reads the text aloud to them.

Reed, D. K., Swanson, E. A., Petscher, Y., & Vaughn, S. (2014). The relative effects of teacher read-alouds and student silent reading on predominantly bilingual high school seniors’ learning and retention of social studies content. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27, 1119-1140. doi 10.1007/s11145-013-9478-8

The effects of explicit instruction on the reading performance of adolescent English language learners with intellectual disability

Abstract

This study sought to determine the effects of explicit phonics instruction and sight word instruction on the letter-sound identification and word reading of 13- to 15-year-old English language learners in the eighth grade who were identified as having intellectual disabilities (ID). Using a randomized single-subject design, four Hispanic students with mild ID who were native Spanish speakers and receiving free or reduced-price lunch were assigned to receive either phonics or sight word instruction. Both treatments were taught explicitly to the pair of students in the condition and included scaffolding and multiple practice opportunities. Sessions took place every other day for 20 minutes over 8 weeks, totaling 400 minutes of intervention. All students demonstrated increased rates of improvement in identifying letter-sounds and untaught words on the Basic Phonics Skills Test III. Although students in the sight word condition were not explicitly taught letter-sound correspondences, they correctly identified the sounds of all 26 letters by posttest. All students progressed in their ability to read untaught words of increasing complexity. Results suggest that adolescents with mild cognitive impairments attending schools taught in a nonnative language can still profit from explicit instruction in foundational reading skills.

Reed, D. K. (2013). The effects of explicit instruction on the reading performance of adolescent English language learners with intellectual disability. TESOL Quarterly, 47, 743-761. doi: 10.1002/tesq.94

An examination of assessment fidelity in the administration and interpretation of reading tests

Abstract

Researchers have expressed concern about implementation fidelity in intervention research but have not extended that concern to assessment fidelity, or the extent to which pre-/posttests are administered and interpreted as intended. When studying reading interventions, data gathering heavily influences the identification of students, the curricular components delivered, and the interpretation of outcomes. However, information on assessment fidelity is rarely reported. This study examined the fidelity with which individuals paid to be testers for research purposes were directly observed administering and interpreting reading assessments for middle school students. Of 589 testing packets, 45 (8% of the total) had to be removed from the data set for significant abnormalities and another 484 (91% of the remaining packets) had correctable errors only found in double scoring. Results indicate reading assessments require extensive training, highly structured protocols, and ongoing calibration to produce reliable and valid results useful in applied research.

Reed, D. K., & Sturges, K. M. (2013). An examination of assessment fidelity in the administration and interpretation of reading tests. Remedial and Special Education, 34, 259-268. doi: 10.1177/0741932512464580

The ecological and population validity of reading interventions for adolescents: Can effectiveness be generalized?

Abstract

This article examined the ecological and population validity of research on reading interventions for adolescents in Grades 6 through 12. The 26 studies meeting selection criteria were analyzed to determine the characteristics of the students, interventionists, classroom structures, and school environments used, as well as whether there were differential effects of treatments across those characteristics. In the 20+ years since the calls by the Council for Learning Disabilities and National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities for greater specificity in descriptions of study participants and contexts, the findings of this study suggest that researchers have provided greater detail on participants, but many questions remain about the extent to which findings can be generalized. Specifically, gaps in the research exist with regard to African American and Native American students; English language learners; students in suburban, rural, and adjudicated schools; students in high school; interventions delivered by regular classroom teachers; interventions focused on vocabulary; and interventions in large groups and general education classrooms.

Reed, D. K., Sorrells, A. M., Cole, H. A., & Takakawa, N. N. (2013). The ecological and population validity of reading interventions for adolescents: Can effectiveness be generalized? Learning Disability Quarterly, 36, 131-144. doi: 10.1177/0731948712451976

<h3>The influence of testing prompt and condition on middle school students’ retell performance

Abstract

This study examined whether the type of prompt or the method of passage reading had an effect on the retell performance of 6th–8th graders randomly assigned to one of four retell testing conditions. Both the type of prompt and the use of follow-up prompting were significantly related to the percentage of predetermined idea units retold. Effect sizes were approximately moderate (d = .44–.62) when one change was made to the prompt but were strong (d = .96–1.05) with a combination of changes. The addition of silent reading did not significantly improve performance.

Reed, D. K., & Petscher, Y. (2012). The influence of testing prompt and condition on middle school students’ retell performance. Reading Psychology, 33, 562-585. doi: 10.1080/02702711.2011.557333

Retell as an indicator of reading comprehension

Abstract

The purpose of this narrative synthesis is to determine the reliability and validity of retell protocols for assessing reading comprehension of students in grades K-12. Fifty-four studies were systematically coded for data related to the administration protocol, scoring procedures, and technical adequacy of the retell component. Retell was moderately correlated with standardized measures of reading comprehension and, with older students, had a lower correlation with decoding and fluency. Literal information was retold more frequently than inferential, and students with learning disabilities or reading difficulties needed more supports to demonstrate adequate recall. Great variability was shown in the prompting procedures, but scoring methods were more consistent across studies. The influences of genre, background knowledge, and organizational features were often specific to particular content, texts, or students. Overall, retell has not yet demonstrated adequacy as a progress monitoring instrument.

Reed, D. K., & Vaughn, S. (2012). Retell as an indicator of reading comprehension. Scientific Studies of Reading, 16, 187-271. doi: 10.1080/10888438.2010.538780

The validity of a holistically-scored retell protocol for determining the reading comprehension of middle school students

Abstract

In this study, the authors examined the validity of a holistically scored retell within a confirmatory factor analysis framework by comparing the fit of a three-factor model of reading with the data from a diverse sample of seventh and eighth graders. The final model demonstrated adequate fit, χ(2)(32) = 97.316; comparative fit index = .96; Tucker-Lewis index = .94; and root mean square error of approximation = .08. Retell's chi-square difference, Δχ(2)(1) = 16.652, p < .001, and factor loading (.250, p < .001) were higher for the comprehension construct. Similarly, retell's correlation to comprehension measures (r = .155-.257, p < .01) was stronger than its relationship to measures of fluency (r = .158-.183, p < .01) or word identification (r = .132,

Reed, D. K., Vaughn, S., & Petscher, Y. (2012). The validity of a holistically-scored retell protocol for determining the reading comprehension of middle school students. Learning Disability Quarterly, 35, 76-89. doi: 10.1177/0731948711432509

A review of the psychometric properties of retell instruments

Abstract

This narrative synthesis reviews the psychometric properties of commercially and publicly available retell instruments used to assess the reading comprehension of students in grades K–12. Eleven instruments met selection criteria and were systematically coded for data related to the administration procedures, scoring procedures, and technical adequacy of the retell component. High variability was evident in the prompting conditions and the use of quantitative and qualitative scoring mechanisms. Because no two instruments shared the same features, their retell scores are likely not equitable. None of the measures provided sufficient information to substantiate their reliability and validity. Many were lacking data on critical psychometric aspects, such as passage equivalency and construct validity, and nearly all had insufficient or ill-defined norming samples.

Reed, D. K. (2011). A review of the psychometric properties of retell instruments. Educational Assessment Journal, 16(3), 123-144. doi: 10.1080/10627197.2011.604238

A synthesis of professional development on the implementation of literacy strategies for middle school content area teachers

Abstract

This paper synthesized studies of professional development for middle school content area teachers and the teachers’ subsequent implementation of literacy strategies. Four studies were identified as having a majority of participants teaching English/reading, mathematics, science, and social studies in grades 6 through 8. Articles meeting the criteria included two qualitative studies of the impact of professional development on implementation of literacy strategies, one ethnographic study of the characteristics of content area teachers with strong implementation of literacy strategies, and one quasi-experimental study of the impact of professional development on student reading performance. Findings indicate that ongoing school wide initiatives that are responsive to teachers’ perceived needs hold promise for increasing literacy instruction across the curriculum and improving some student reading skills.

Reed, D. K. (2009). A synthesis of professional development on the implementation of literacy strategies for middle school content area teachers. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 32(10), 1-12.

A synthesis of morphology interventions and effects on reading outcomes for students in grades K-12

Abstract

This article synthesized the morphology intervention studies conducted in English with students in kindergarten through 12th grade between 1986 and 2006. Seven studies were identified as focusing primarily on morphology instruction, including roots and affixes, and measuring one or more reading-related outcomes (e.g., word identification, spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension). Of those studies meeting the criteria, three studies were focused on word identification, three were focused on vocabulary acquisition, and one was focused on spelling. Although there was a wide range in effect sizes computed for the various outcome measures (−.93 to 9.13), findings indicated that stronger effects were associated with root word instruction (as opposed to affixes alone) and with morphology instruction that targeted students' reading developmental level in an age of acquisition pattern. In addition, results suggested that morphology could successfully be combined with training in other skills without adding instructional time.

Reed, D. K. (2008). A synthesis of morphology interventions and effects on reading outcomes for students in grades K-12. Learning Disability Research & Practice, 23(1), 36-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5826.2007.00261.v

Improving comprehension for middle and high school students

Abstract

The focus of this Springer Literacy Edition is to provide the most current research regarding instruction in the area of comprehension for middle and high school students. Each author of the first four chapters will focus on a core subject area in middle and high school and discuss the current research along with instructional implications for this particular population. Core subject areas are defined as social studies/history, science, English language arts, and mathematics. Three additional chapters on special education, English language learners, and assessment will describe the current practices to ensure academic achievement remains the central focus for the all learners.

BOOKS (+=Peer Reviewed)

+Santi, K. L., & Reed, D. K. (Eds.). (2015). Improving comprehension for middle and high school students. New York, NY: Springer.

The Contribution of Vocabulary Knowledge and Spelling to the Reading Comprehension of Adolescents Who Are and Are Not English Language Learners

Abstract

This study examined the contributions of vocabulary and spelling to the reading comprehension of students in grades 6–10 who were and were not classified as English language learners. Results indicate that vocabulary accounted for greater between-grade differences and unique variance (ΔR 2 = .11–.31) in comprehension as compared to spelling (ΔR 2 = .01–.09). However, the contribution of spelling to comprehension was higher in the upper grade levels included in this cross-sectional analysis and functioned as a mediator of the impact of vocabulary knowledge at all levels. The direct effect of vocabulary was strong but lower in magnitude at each successive grade level from .58 in grade 6 to .41 in grade 10 while the indirect effect through spelling increased in magnitude at each successive grade level from .09 in grade 6 to .16 in grade 10. There were no significant differences between the language groups in the magnitude of the indirect impact, suggesting both groups of students relied more on both sources of lexical information in higher grades as compared to students in lower grades

Reed, D.K., Petscher, Y., & Foorman, B.R. (2016). The contribution of vocabulary knowledge and spelling to the reading comprehension of adolescents who are and are not English language learners. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 29, 633-657. doi: 10.1007/s11145-015-9619-3

Examining potential bias in screening measures for middle school students by special education and low socioeconomic status subgroups

Abstract

To provide timely and effective supports for students reading below grade level, schools require methods for quickly and accurately identifying those students in need. One method for identifying those students is through universal screening. Assessments such as oral reading fluency (ORF) and Maze reading comprehension are commonly used as screening assessments in middle grades. The current study examined ORF and Maze for evidence of bias across two subgroups known to be at increased risk for failure in reading: (a) students with learning disabilities and (b) students from low-income households. Data from 4,215 students in the sixth (n = 1,126), seventh (n = 1,361), and eighth grades (n = 1,728) were analyzed. Results indicate no significant differences in predictive validity for students from low-income households compared to students from middle and upper income households. For students with learning disabilities only 8th grade scores showed any evidence of bias compared to students without diagnosed disabilities. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Stevenson, N., Reed, D.K., & Tighe, E. (2016). Examining potential bias in screening measures for middle school students by special education and low socio-economic status. Psychology in the Schools, 53, 533-547. doi: 10.1002/pits.21919

The Contribution of General Reading Ability to Science Achievement

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between the reading ability and science achievement of students in grades 5, 8, and 9. Reading ability was assessed with four measures: word recognition, vocabulary, syntactic knowledge, and comprehension (23% of all passages were on science topics). Science achievement was assessed with state criterion–referenced measures. Both the reading and the science measures included inference items. Using multiple-group structural equation modeling, a general factor of reading ability (composed of the two specific factors of discourse comprehension and word comprehension) was found to account for 70% of the variance in grades 5 and 8 science performance and 64% of the variance in grade 9 science performance. Quantile regressions revealed that the relationship between reading and science was stable across ability levels at grade 5 and mostly stable at grade 8, with a slightly stronger relation for eighth graders at low levels of science ability. At grade 9, lower reading ability was more strongly associated with lower science performance, which was statistically significantly different from the comparatively weaker associations at higher ends. Taken together, results suggest that literacy is critical to learning and demonstrating knowledge of science concepts, regardless of ability level.

Reed, D.K., Petscher, Y., & Truckenmiller, A.J. (in press). The contribution of general reading ability to science achievement. Reading Research Quarterly. doi: 10.1002/rrq.158




By Jessica S. Folsom

Evaluating the dimensionality of first grade written composition

Abstract

Purpose: This study examined dimensions of written composition by using multiple evaluative approaches such as an adapted 6 + 1 trait scoring, syntactic complexity measures, and productivity measures. It further examined unique relations of oral language and literacy skills to the identified dimensions of written composition. Method: A large sample of 1st-grade students (N = 527) was assessed on their language, reading, spelling, letter writing automaticity, and writing in the spring. Data were analyzed using a latent variable approach, including confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Results: The seven traits in the 6 + 1 trait system were best described as two constructs: substantive quality and spelling and writing conventions. When the other evaluation procedures such as productivity and syntactic complexity indicators were included, four dimensions emerged: substantive quality, productivity, syntactic complexity, and spelling and writing conventions. Language and literacy predictors were differentially related to each dimension in written composition. Conclusion: These four dimensions may be a useful guideline for evaluating developing beginning writers' compositions.

Kim, Y-S., Al Otaiba, S., Folsom, J. S., Greulich, L., & Puranik, C. (2014). Evaluating the dimensionality of first grade written composition. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57, 199-211. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0152)

The contributions of vocabulary and letter writing automaticity to word reading and spelling for kindergartners

Abstract

In the present study we examined the relation between alphabet knowledge fluency (letter names and sounds) and letter writing automaticity, and unique relations of letter writing automaticity and semantic knowledge (i.e., vocabulary) to word reading and spelling over and above code-related skills such as phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge. These questions were addressed using data from 242 English-speaking kindergartners and employing structural equation modeling. Results showed letter writing automaticity was moderately related to and a separate construct from alphabet knowledge fluency, and marginally (p = .06) related to spelling after accounting for phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge fluency, and vocabulary. Furthermore, vocabulary was positively and uniquely related to word reading and spelling after accounting for phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge fluency, and letter writing automaticity.

Kim, Y-S., Al Otaiba, S., Puranik, C., Folsom, J. S., & Greulich, L. (2014). The contributions of vocabulary and letter writing automaticity to word reading and spelling for kindergartners. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27 (2), 237-253.

The componential model of reading: Predicting first grade reading performance of culturally diverse students from ecological, psychological, and cognitive factors assessed at kindergarten entry

Abstract

This study, framed by the component model of reading (CMR), examined the relative importance of kindergarten-entry predictors of first grade reading performance. Specifically, elements within the ecological domain included dialect, maternal education, amount of preschool, and home literacy; elements within the psychological domain included teacher-reported academic competence, social skills, and behavior; and elements within the cognitive domain included initial vocabulary, phonological, and morpho-syntactic skills, and alphabetic and word recognition skills. Data were obtained for 224 culturally diverse kindergarteners (58% Black, 34% White, and 8% Hispanic or other; 58% received free or reduced-price lunch) from a larger study conducted in seven predominantly high poverty schools (n = 20 classrooms) in a midsized city school district in northern Florida. Results from a hierarchical multiple regression (with variables in the ecological domain entered first, followed by the psychological and cognitive domains) revealed a model that explained roughly 56% of the variance in first grade reading achievement, using fall-of-kindergarten predictors. Letter-word reading and morpho-syntactic skill were the strongest significant predictors. The findings largely support the CMR model as a means to understand individual differences in reading acquisition and, in turn, to support data-based instructional decisions for a wider range of children.

Ortiz, M., Folsom, J. S., Al Otaiba, S., Greulich, L., Thomas-Tate, S., & Connor, C. (2012). The componential model of reading: Predicting first grade reading performance of culturally diverse students from ecological, psychological, and cognitive factors assessed at kindergarten entry. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(5), 406-417. doi: 10.1177/0022219411431242

Differentiating literacy growth of ELL students with LD from other high-risk subgroups and general education peers: Evidence from grades 3-10

Abstract

The authors used a large data set (N = 1,011,549) to examine literacy growth over a single school year comparing general education (GenEd) students to three high-risk subgroups: English language learners (ELL), those with a specific learning disability (LD), and those identified as both LD and ELL (LD-ELL) in students in Grades 3-10. The authors were particularly interested in whether variability existed between initial status and the growth trajectories of the three high-risk groups on measures of spelling, fluency, and reading comprehension across the school year and whether this variability was differentiated because of socioeconomic status (SES) as defined by free and reduced lunch (FRL) status. Results indicate that all high-risk groups began the year at substantially lower levels than their GenEd peers, with the largest differences seen between the LD-ELL students and the other subgroups. Further results suggest that students who are in the high-risk subgroups and also qualify for FRL perform significantly worse than their peers in similar risk status groups who do not qualify for FRL, demonstrating the significant impact of SES on academic outcomes for all groups.

Solari, E., Petscher, Y., & Folsom, J. (2012). Differentiating literacy growth of ELL students with LD from other high-risk subgroups and general education peers: Evidence from grades 3-10. Journal of Learning Disabilities, XX(X), 1-20. doi: 10.1177/0022219412463435

Predicting first grade reading performance from kindergarten response to instruction

Abstract

Many schools are beginning to implement multi-tier response to intervention (RTI) models for the prevention of reading difficulties and to assist in the identification of students with learning disabilities (LD). The present study was part of our larger ongoing longitudinal RTI investigation within the Florida Learning Disabilities Center grant. This study used a longitudinal correlational design, conducted in 7 ethnically and socio-economically diverse schools. We observed reading instruction in 20 classrooms, examined response rates to kindergarten Tier 1 instruction, and predicted students' first grade reading performance based upon kindergarten growth and end of year reading performance (n = 203). Teachers followed an explicit core reading program and overall, classroom instruction was rated as effective. Results indicate that controlling for students' end of kindergarten reading, their growth across kindergarten on a variety of language and literacy measures suppressed predictions of first grade performance. Specifically, the steeper the students' trajectory to a satisfactory outcome, the less likely they were to demonstrate good performance in first grade. Implications for future research and RTI implementation are discussed.

Al Otaiba, S., Folsom, J. S., Schatschneider, C., Wanzek, J., Greulich, L., Meadows, J., & Li, Z. (2011). Predicting first grade reading performance from kindergarten response to instruction. Exceptional Children, 77 (4), 453-470.

Componential skills of beginning writing: An exploratory study at the end of kindergarten

Abstract

The present study examined the components of end of kindergarten writing, using data from 242 kindergartners. Specifically of interest was the importance of spelling, letter writing fluency, reading, and word- and syntax-level oral language skills in writing. The results from structural equation modeling revealed that oral language, spelling, and letter writing fluency were positively and uniquely related to writing skill after accounting for reading skills. Reading skill was not uniquely related to writing once oral language, spelling, and letter writing fluency were taken into account. These findings are discussed from a developmental perspective.

Kim, Y.-S., Al Otaiba, S., Puranik, C., Folsom, J., Greulich, L. & Wagner, R. (2011). Componential skills of beginning writing: An exploratory study at the end of kindergarten. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(5), 517-525. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2011.06.004

Predicting kindergartners' end of year spelling ability from their reading, alphabetic, vocabulary, and phonological awareness skills, and prior literacy experiences

Abstract

This study examined the role of home literacy, parental education, and demographic factors in addition to conventional literacy skills at the beginning and end of kindergarten in predicting end-of-kindergarten spelling achievement. The study involved 9 schools and 29 classrooms serving an economically and ethnically diverse population (N = 288). Students spelled three types of words: sight words, decodable real words, and decodable pseudowords; spellings were scored to allow partial credit for invented spelling. Results from a three-step hierarchical regression indicated the variables accounted for 66% of the variance in spelling scores, with the single strongest spring predictor being a 1-minute letter-sound fluency test. Implications for instruction and for identifying students at risk for spelling and reading difficulties are discussed.

Al Otaiba, S., Puranik, C., Rouby, D. A., Greulich, L., Folsom, J. S., & Lee, J. (2010). Predicting kindergartners' end of year spelling ability from their reading, alphabetic, vocabulary, and phonological awareness skills, and prior literacy experiences. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 33(3), 171-184.

How to Make Handwriting a Part of Early Literacy Instruction

Datchuk, S. (2016). How to make handwriting a part of early literacy instruction. Iowa City, IA: Iowa Reading Research Center. Retrieved from: www.iowareadingresearch.org/documents/Handwriting-Paper.pdf