Learning Difficulties Australia

03 9890 6138
enquiries@ldaustralia.org

Key Research Papers

Learning Difficulties, Disabilities & Dyslexia

Effective Instruction

Response to Intervention

Language & Literacy

Literacy – Reading

Literacy - Writing

Numeracy

Technologies

Editor's Note

This section includes reviews and discussions of issues relating to research, theory, and practice. While some research websites such as ResearchGATE may be free to join, and it is possible to search their Literature site for research papers without joining, some research papers such as those published in professional journals require payment to download. The advantage of a ResearchGATE is that few, if any, of the papers are non-evidence based.

1. Learning Difficulties & Disabilities & Dyslexia

Learning Difficulties & Disabilites

“Just try harder and you will shine”: A Study of 20 Lazy Children – 2009
Authors: Linda Gilmore and Gillian Boulton-Lewis
Queensland University of Technology
Attributions of laziness, reflected in teacher comments such as “just try harder and you will shine” may mask specific cognitive, learning, attentional or emotional problems that could explain low motivation in some children. This paper reports findings from an investigation of 20 children, aged 7 to 10 years, who were regarded as lazy by their parents and teachers. Questionnaire measures provided evidence of low levels of motivation and classroom engagement. Psychometric assessments revealed the presence of a range of difficulties including phonologically-based learning disabilities and significant problems with attention in 17 of the 20 children. The paper concludes that the special needs of an unknown number of children may be overlooked because they are simply presumed to be lazy.
http://eprints.qut.edu.au/29708/1/c29708.pdf

Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers
Authors: Sanne Dekker1, Nikki C. Lee1, Paul Howard-Jones2 and Jelle Jolles1
1Department of Educational Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Education, LEARN! Institute, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
The OECD’s Brain and Learning project (2002) emphasized that many misconceptions about the brain exist among professionals in the field of education. Though these so-called “neuromyths” are loosely based on scientific facts, they may have adverse effects on educational practice. The present study investigated the prevalence and predictors of neuromyths among teachers in selected regions in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
http://www.frontiersin.org/Educational_Psychology/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00429/full


The Appeal of the Brain in the Popular Press
Author: Diane M. Beck
Department of Psychology and Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Since the advent of human neuroimaging, and of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in particular, the popular press has shown an increasing interest in brain-related findings. In this article, I explore possible reasons behind this interest, including recent data suggesting that people find brain images and neuroscience language more convincing than results that make no reference to the brain (McCabe & Castel, 2008; Weisberg, Keil, Goodstein, Rawson, & Gray, 2008). I suggest that part of the allure of these data are the deceptively simply messages they afford, as well as general, but sometimes misguided, confidence in biological data. In addition to cataloging some misunderstandings by the press and public, I highlight the responsibilities of the research scientist in carefully conveying their work to the general public.
http://pps.sagepub.com/content/5/6/762.full

Learning and the Brain
CHERI, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Education Research Institute, Hippocrates and Socrates XVI Conference, September 2011 - Memory and Learning: What Works
Working memory is our ability to store and manipulate information for a brief time. Effective working memory is crucial and necessary to undertake many everyday tasks and learning activities. This conference focused on working memory, how it relates to other cognitive functions, its role in classroom learning and in the acquisition of academic skills. In addition, methods of identifying poor working memory in school aged children and interventions to improve working memory will be presented. Research indicates that working memory is a strong predictor of learning success.
http://www.cheri.com.au/presentations.html
Dr Susan Gathercole explains Working Memory click the link to view video   
http://youtu.be/S65D2oazf8M

Dyslexia

Learning to read in Australia

Authors: Max Coltheart and Margot Prior

The Academy of Social Sciences in Australia
Occasional Paper Number 1 2007
.
Introduction

Learning to read is not easy, and a substantial number of children struggle to do it. Children who read substantially less well than most children of their age may be referred to as exhibiting 'specific learning difficulties' or 'specific reading impairment' or 'developmental dyslexia' ('dyslexia' for short). These different terms are typically used interchangeably. Learning to write and spell is not easy, either, and some children lag behind their peers here, too. The distinction between difficulty in learning to read and difficulty in learning to write and spell is worth making because there are children who are normal readers for their age but poor spellers: these children are dysgraphic (poor at writing and spelling) while not being dyslexic (poor at reading). Children who have had difficulty in learning to read but have managed to catch up with their peers as far as reading is concerned often still exhibit poor writing and spelling.

 http://www.assa.edu.au/publications/occasional_papers/2007_No1.php.   

Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability
Authors: Philip B. Gough, William E. Tunmer
DOI: 10.1177/074193258600700104
To clarify the role of decoding in reading and reading disability, a simple model of reading is proposed, which holds that reading equals the product of decoding and comprehension. It follows that there must be three types of reading disability, resulting from an inability to decode, an inability to comprehend, or both. It is argued that the first is dyslexia, the second hyperlexia, and the third common or garden variety, reading disability.
Remedial and Special Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, 6-10 (1986)
http://rse.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/7/1/6

The Brain Basis of the Phonological Deficit in Dyslexia Is Independent of IQ
Author: Hiroko Tanaka, et al.
Although the role of IQ in developmental dyslexia remains ambiguous, the dominant clinical and research approaches rely on a definition of dyslexia that requires reading skill to be significantly below the level expected given an individual’s IQ. In the study reported here, we used functional MRI (fMRI) to examine whether differences in brain activation during phonological processing that are characteristic of dyslexia were similar or dissimilar in children with poor reading ability who had high IQ scores (discrepant readers) and in children with poor reading ability who had low IQ scores (nondiscrepant readers). In two independent samples including a total of 131 children, using univariate and multivariate pattern analyses, we found that discrepant and nondiscrepant poor readers exhibited similar patterns of reduced activation in brain areas such as left parietotemporal and occipitotemporal regions. These results converge with behavioral evidence indicating that, regardless of IQ, poor readers have similar kinds of reading difficulties in relation to phonological processing.
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/10/17/0956797611419521

Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: evidence from functional MRI
Authors: Elise Temple, Gayle K Deutsch, Russell A Poldrack, Steven L Miller, Paula Tallal,Michael M Merzenich, John D E Gabrieli
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2003).
01/04/200304/2003; 100(5):2860-5.
ISSN: 0027-8424 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0030098100
Developmental dyslexia, characterized by unexplained difficulty in reading, is associated with behavioral deficits in phonological processing.Functional neuro imaging studies have shown a deficit in the neural mechanisms underlying phonological processing in children and adults with dyslexia. The present study examined whether behavioral remediation ameliorates these dysfunctional neural mechanisms in children with dyslexia. Results suggest that a partial remediation of language-processing deficits, resulting in improved reading,ameliorates disrupted function in brain regions associated with phonological processing and produces additional compensatory activation in other brain regions.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10884042-Neural-deficits-in-children-with-dyslexia-ameliorated-by-behavioral-remediation-evidence-from-functional-MRI     

Brain mechanisms in normal and dyslexic readers
Author: Elise Temple
Current opinion in neurobiology 01/05/200205/2002; 12(2):178-83.
ISSN: 0959-4388
Developmental dyslexics, individuals with an unexplained difficulty reading, have been shown to have deficits in phonological processing, the awareness of the sound structure of words, and in some cases, a more fundamental deficit in rapid auditory processing. In addition, dyslexics show a disruption in white matter connectivity between posterior and frontal regions. These results give continued support for a neurobiological etiology of developmental dyslexia. However, more research will be required to determine the possible causal relationships between these neurobiological disruptions and dyslexia.
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/11356877_Brain_mechanisms_in_normal_and_dyslexic_readers

Does Dyslexia Exist?
Authors: Julian G. Elliott and Simon Gibbs
Journal of Philosophy of Education Vol. 42, No. 3-4, 2008
Journal of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
In this paper we argue that attempts to distinguish between categories of dyslexia‚ and Poor reader‚ or Reading disabled‚ are scientifically unsupportable, arbitrary and thus potentially discriminatory. We do not seek to veto scientific curiosity in examining underlying factors in reading disability, for seeking greater understanding of the relationship between visual symbols and spoken language is crucial. However, while stressing the potential of genetics and neuroscience for guiding assessment and educational practice at some stage in the future, we argue that there is a mistaken belief that current knowledge in these fields is sufficient to justify a category of dyslexia as a subset of those who encounter reading difficulties. The implications of this debate for large-scale intervention are outlined.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121657387/abstract

Functional MRI of Sentence Comprehension in Children with Dyslexia: Beyond Word Recognition
Authors: S.L. Rimrodt, A.M. Clements-Stephens, K.R. Pugh, S.M. Courtney, P. Gaur, J.J. Pekar and L.E. Cutting
Cerebral Cortex, doi:10.1093/cercor/bhn092
Sentence comprehension (SC) studies in typical and impaired readers suggest that reading for meaning involves more extensive brain activation than reading isolated words. Thus far, no reading disability/dyslexia (RD) studies have directly controlled for the word recognition (WR) components of SC tasks, which is central for understanding comprehension processes beyond WR. This experiment compared SC to WR in 29, 9ˆ14 year olds (15 typical and 14 impaired readers). The SC-WR contrast for each group showed activation in left inferior frontal and extra striate regions, but the RD group showed significantly more activation than Controls in areas associated with linguistic processing (left middle/superior temporal gyri), and attention and response selection (bilateral insula, right cingulate gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, and right parietal lobe). Further analyses revealed this overactivation was driven by the RD group's response to incongruous sentences. Correlations with out-of-scanner measures showed that better word- and text-level reading fluency was associated with greater left occipitotemporal activation, whereas worse performance on WR, fluency, and comprehension (reading and oral) were associated with greater right hemisphere activation in a variety of areas, including supramarginal and superior temporal gyri. Results provide initial foundations for understanding the neurobiological correlates of higher-level processes associated with reading comprehension.
http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/bhn092v2


Early identification and interventions for dyslexia: a contemporary view
Author: Margaret J. Snowling
Article first published online: 14 OCT 2012  
 DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-3802.2012.01262.
This paper reviews current proposals concerning the definition of dyslexia and contrasts it with reading comprehension impairment. We then discuss methods for early identification and review evidence that teacher assessments and ratings may be valid screening tools. Finally, we argue that interventions should be theoretically motivated and evidence based. We conclude that early identification of children at risk of dyslexia followed by the implementation of intervention is a realistic aim for practitioners and policy-makers.

Scientific research on dyslexia has burgeoned during the past 50 years, and a great deal is now known about its nature, aetiology and assessment. Against this backdrop, it should be possible for educators to recognise the signs which suggest that a child is at risk of reading failure. Such early identification should allow interventions to be implemented before a downward spiral of underachievement, lowered self-esteem and poor motivation sets in. This paper begins by reviewing the new proposals for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual's (DSM-V) definition of dyslexia and proceeds to examine whether children with dyslexia and related literacy difficulties can be identified based on their response to good quality reading instruction. This aspiration was at the core of the recent independent review on dyslexia for UK government, conducted by Sir Jim Rose (2009). The review advocated a three-tier system beginning with high-quality mainstream teaching delivered to all, proceeding with adaptations and catch-up programmes for those at risk and finally individualised teaching for those at greatest need. A growing evidence base of effective interventions suggests that this aim could become a reality.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2012.01262.x/full  


Leading Medical Organizations Issue Revised Policy Statement On Learning Disabilities And Dyslexia
The American Academy of Ophthalmology announced that it has issued a revised policy statement on Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision. The revised  statement, which was issued jointly with the American Academy of Pediatrics  (AAP), the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus  (AAPOS) and the American Association of Certified Orthoptists (AACO), expands upon the previous policy and includes extensive scientific  references. ?The statement also notes that there is no scientific evidence to support the use of vision therapy or tinted lenses or filters as effective direct or indirect treatments for learning disabilities. There is no valid evidence that children participating in vision therapy are more responsive to educational instruction than children who do not participate. "The claim that vision therapy improves visual efficiency cannot be substantiated," the policy states. "Diagnostic treatment and approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy are not endorsed or recommended." The policy statement is available at:
http://www.aao.org/about/policy/upload/Learning-Disabilities-Dyslexia-Vision-2009.pdf   

DysTalk
The dysTalk site is an information sharing enterprise for parents who are looking for information on how to optomise their childÇs learning. dysTGalk provides information on specific learning difficulties that may be undermining a childÇs performance as well as learning strategies that can potentially be applied to all children of all abilities. For example, dysTalk provides lectures by eminent researchers such as Maggie Snowling, on Dyslexia Support and Intervention.
http://www.dystalk.com

Intervention for Dyslexia - A review of published evidence on the impact of specialist dyslexia teaching
Author: Chris Singleton
University of Hull May 2009
In the UK, 'specialist dyslexia teaching' may be regarded as an umbrella term for the approaches that are used by teachers who have undergone specialist training and attained qualifications in the teaching of children and adults with dyslexia. These approaches may be summarised as being systematic, multisensory and phonologically based. Criteria of (a) tuition being additional to that normally provided, and (b) focused directly on developing literacy skills, were also imposed on the review. Accordingly, indirect methods and 'alternative therapies' for dyslexia are not considered here.
http://www.thedyslexia-spldtrust.org.uk/article/13/review-of-international-research-published-by-dr-chris-singleton

Dyslexia at Transition - Scotland
This website is being developed as a result of the Dyslexia at Transition DVD which was launched by Sir Jackie Stewart on May 30th 2007 in Edinburgh. Throughout the summer every school in Scotland will receive a copy of the DVD and a series of Roadshows is currently being arranged for session 07/08 to introduce authorities to the DVD and offer teachers some 'hands on' experience of the disc and its potential.

Rose Report on Dyslexia: Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties
Sir Jim Rose was asked to make recommendations on the identification and teaching of children with dyslexia, and on how best to take forward the commitment in the Children's Plan to establish a pilot scheme in which children with dyslexia will receive Reading Recovery support or one-to-one tuition from specialist dyslexia teachers.
This review aims to help policy makers and providers strengthen practice, and assure parents that provision for children with dyslexia will be as good as possible.
http://www.thedyslexia-spldtrust.org.uk/5/publications/6/index-of-papers
(Editor's note: Rose was required to make recommendations about how to best establish a pilot scheme in which children with dyslexia receive Reading Recovery support. Rose stated that it would not be possible to undertake this proposal with sufficient rigour for any meaningful results to be obtained. This recommendation has been accepted and the proposed Reading Recovery trial has been cancelled.)

'No to Failure' Final Report
The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust has published the 'No to Failure' project Final Report. This follows a 2-year campaign to demonstrate and communicate the impact of specialist teaching support for children and young people with Dyslexia or specific learning difficulties (SpLD)...The 'No to Failure' project was also a catalyst, instrumental in the Government commissioning of Sir Jim Rose's Review of Dyslexia Provision. This review is welcomed by The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust as an important step towards understanding and improving national provision for pupils with Dyslexia-SpLD.
http://www.thedyslexia-spldtrust.org.uk/5/publications/6/index-of-papers

Back to Top

2. Effective Instruction

THE SANTIAGO DECLARATION
The education of young children has become an international priority. Science offers irrefutable evidence that high-quality early childhood education better prepares children for the transition to formal education. It helps each child reach his or her potential in reading, mathematics, and social skills. Around the world, there is renewed interest in investing in young children to prepare them for future participation in a global economy. This interest is manifest not only in governmental policies (from Japan to the United States to Chile) but also in popular culture through the media and commercial endeavors marketing educational products to the parents of young children. As internationally recognized scientists in child development, we applaud the attention now directed to the world’s youngest citizens, but we also urge that policies, standards, curricula, and to the extent possible, commercial ventures be based on the best scientific research and be sensitive to evidence-based practice.
http://www.jsmf.org/santiagodeclaration/index.php

Why Can't a Teacher Be More Like a Scientist? Science, Pseudoscience and the Art of Teaching
Authors: Mark Carter, Kevin Wheldall - Macquarie University Special Education Centre
Australasian Journal of Special Education, 32:1, 5 – 21 01 April 2008
In this article, the authors argue the case for scientific evidenced-based practice in education. They consider what differentiates science from pseudoscience and what sources of information teachers typically regard as reliable. The What Works Clearinghouse is discussed with reference to certain limitations of its current operation. Given the relative paucity of ‘gold standard’ research in education, an alternative model for assessing the efficacy of educational programs is proposed as a temporary solution.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10300110701845920

What Does Evidence-Based Practice in Education Mean?

Dr Kerry Hempenstall, RMIT University 
(Paper presented by Dr Kerry Hempenstall, on his acceptance of the 2006 Mona Tobias Award at the LDA National Conference, Wesley College, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, 19 August 2006)

Teaching has suffered both as a profession in search of community respect, and as a force for improving the social capital of Australia because of its failure to adopt the results of empirical research as the major determinant of its practice. There are a number of reasons why this has occurred, among them a science-aversive culture endemic among education policymakers and teacher education faculties. There are signs that change may be afoot. The National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy has pointed to, and urged us to follow, a direction similar to that taken recently in Great Britain and the USA towards evidence-based practice. Acknowledging the importance of teacher education, the National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership began a process for establishing national accreditation of pre-service teacher education. Two problems do require attention. The generally low quality of much educational research in the past has made the process of evaluating the evidence difficult, particularly for those teachers who have not the training to discriminate sound from unsound research designs. Fortunately, there are a number of august bodies that have performed the sifting process to simplify judging the value of research on important educational issues.


FREYA **NOTE:  Click here  (http://www.ldaustralia.org/134.html  to read Dr Kerry Hempenstall's paper in full. This is on the existing LDA site and will need an Exceed address!!!

A Seven Year Study of the Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment
Authors: Rhona S Johnston and Joyce E Watson (Scotland)
We have carried out a study on around 300 children of the effectiveness of a synthetic phonics programme that was taught in Primary 1.Performance on this programme was compared with performance on atypical analytic phonics programme, and also with performance on a similar programme that included a substantial element of phonological awareness training. The synthetic phonics programme was by far the most effective in developing literacy skills.
In several publications the authors have charted the development of the children's literacy skills up to the end of Primary 5.  This Insight report describes the progress the children have made from Primary 1 through to the end of Primary 7, focusing on comparing the attainment of boys with that of girls, and the extent to which children underachieve when taught by the synthetic phonics programme, and the impact that synthetic phonics teaching has on the literacy skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/02/20682/52383

Research on Learning to Read and Spell - Personal-Historical Perspective
Author: Linnea C. Ehri  Published on-line by The Riggs Institute
This presidential address was delivered at the 1997 annual meeting of Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR) Chicago. Ehri provides a glimpse of her experiences conducting research on word reading processes in beginning readers for over 20 years. At the outset, she proposed a theory that the spellings of individual words become bonded to their pronunciations in memory, and she conducted studies to obtain evidence for this theory. This led her into various controversies with other researchers over issues such as whether phonemic awareness is a cause or consequence of learning to read, to what extent beginning readers use visual cues or alphabetic cues to read their first words. The disagreements proving most fruitful were those which spawned additional research. Disputes considered unproductive and even harmful were those involving dogmatic views not open to empirical evidence and maligning appelations intended to implant prejudice. This recounting of her career underscores the value of a systematic line of research as well as intensive discussion with other researchers.
http://www.riggsinst.org/Ehri.aspx

Neuroscience and education: from research to practice?
Usha Goswami
Cognitive neuroscience is making rapid strides in areas highly relevant to education. However, there is a gulf between current science and direct classroom applications. Most scientists would argue that filling the gulf is premature. Nevertheless, at present, teachers are at the receiving end of numerous 'brain-based learning' packages. Some of these contain alarming amounts of misinformation, yet such packages are being used in many schools. What, if anything, can neuroscientists do to help good neuroscience into education?
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v7/n5/full/nrn1907.html

Comparative Preschool Study: High and Low Socioeconomic Preschoolers Learning Advanced Cognitive Skills
Author:  Siegfried Engelmann  
During the summer of 1964, the investigator, Siegfried Engelmann, a research associate with the Institute for Research on Exceptional children at the University of Illinois, worked with two groups of preschool children, teaching them content that would be highly unfamiliar to any preschoolers. The children in Group 1 were African American children of lower socioeconomic status (SES). The children in Group 2 were Caucasians of higher SES. On every working day during the experiment, the investigator worked with each group for about 20 minutes. The concern in 1964 over children who experienced 'cultural deprivation' made the experiment important in two ways. It provided a detailed comparison of two groups that were to be taught the same content. The content required children to learn 'formal operations' as described by Piaget. The goals of the study were to demonstrate the extent to which a) preschool children could learn formal operations, b) the learning patterns differed across the two groups, and c) the type of mistakes and problems children had in learning the content.
http://www.zigsite.com/PDFs/CompPreschool.pdf

Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers
Authors: Barbara T. Bowman, M. Suzanne Donovan, and M. Susan Burns, Eds.
Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy, National Research Council (2001)
Eager to Learn is one of the many references in the Victorian Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) background Research Paper, and is about the education of children ages 2 to 5. It focuses on programs provided outside the home. Current conceptions of early childhood development and pedagogy are built on a century of research and experience. Many of the theoretical perspectives that have held sway during that period have been incorporated in some form into early childhood practice. More recent research has validly demonstrated that when children have accumulated substantial knowledge, they have the ability to abstract well beyond what is ordinarily observed. A striking feature of modern research is that it describes unexpected competencies in young children, key features of which appear to be universal.

In addressing the question of what should be learned in the preschool curriculum, the committee focused largely on reading, mathematics, and science because a rich research base has provided insights in these domains, suggesting that more can be learned in the preschool years than was previously understood. This does not imply, however, that many of the music, arts and crafts, and physical activities that are common in quality preschool programs are of less importance. Indeed, the committee supports the notion that it is the whole child that must be developed. Moreover, these activities are important in their own right and can provide opportunities for developing language, reasoning, and social skills that support learning in more academic areas.
http://www.ciera.org/library/instresrc/eagertolearn/efull.html

Improving Reading Rate of Low Performers
Author: Siegfried Engelmann
Trying to improve the reading rate of very low performers can be a frustrating experience for both learner and teacher. The learner typically knows that the goal is to read faster, without making a flurry of mistakes, and the learner tries, but the added effort most frequently leads to word guessing, word skipping, word stuttering, and to greatly increased physical signs of high energy, such as clenching their fists, taking deep breaths, and even sweating. The student knows how to try hard physically and thatʼs what he does. But it doesnʼt work for reading faster. For the teacher, the task is almost as unfulfilling. The teacher has standards and expectations based on achieving projected “benchmarks,” but the learner does not achieve the benchmarks, even when the teacher tries to add stronger reinforcement for reading faster. After trying a few attractive reinforcers, the teacher may even notice that the more desirable the reinforcement the student has earned, the more the student reads with increased signs of energy, but with even less success.
http://www.zigsite.com/PDFs/readingrate.pdf

Best practice? Advice provided to teachers about the use of Brain Gym® in Australian schools
Authors: Stephenson, Jennifer (2009) Australian Journal of Education: Vol. 53: Iss. 2, Article 1.
Perceptual motor programs continue to be used in Australian schools despite evidence showing they do not influence academic learning. Brain Gym® is one perceptual motor program that is used in schools in Australia and overseas. There is little evidence to support the claims made about the benefits of Brain Gym®; its theoretical underpinning has been subject to criticism by neuroscientists. A search was made of Internet sites, including state department of education sites to locate information provided to teachers about Brain Gym®. Although education departments and others responsible for providing advice and professional development to teachers espouse research-based practice, they continue to endorse and support the use of Brain Gym®.
http://research.acer.edu.au/aje/vol53/iss2/1
 
Closing The Gap Between Research And Practice: Foundations For The Acquisition Of Literacy
Author: Molly de Lemos
Over the years two main approaches have emerged in the teaching and learning of reading and writing. One is the 'whole language' approach; the other concentrates more on instruction in phonics. This paper focuses on the theoretical assumptions underlying these two approaches to the teaching of literacy, and the studies which have been undertaken, in the international arena, to find out how children progress, from their earliest educational years, in attaining both initial reading skills and lifelong literacy.
http://research.acer.edu.au/literacy_numeracy_reviews/1    

Beyond No Child Left Behind: Value-Added Assessment of Student Progress
Authors: D. Sean Shurtleff and Jesus Loredo
National Center for Public Policy Analysis, October 2008
The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires each state to evaluate every public school annually, and to make adequate yearly progress toward helping all students meet or exceed state standards in reading and math by 2014. However, each state defines its progress and creates its own tests. Most states measure academic achievement based on pass-fail tests that require students to attain a minimum score.
Unfortunately, pass-fail test scores do not tell administrators which teachers are most effective or how much students have improved. Value-Added Assessment (VAA) is an alternative methodology that evaluates educational progress based on the growth of each student's knowledge base, rather than the attainment of particular test scores.
 http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba636

A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relationship Between Reform-Oriented Instruction and Student Achievement
(USA) Rand Corporation, 2006
This impressive study comes up with some surprisingly candid observations about constructivist math and science.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG480.pdf

Long-Run Trends in School Productivity: Evidence From Australia
Author: Andrew Leigh, Chris Ryan
Outside the United States (U.S.), very little is known about long-run trends in school productivity. We present new evidence using two data series from Australia, where comparable tests are available back to the 1960s. For young teenagers (aged 13-14), we find a small but statistically significant fall in numeracy over the period 1964-2003, and in both literacy and numeracy over the period 1975-1998. The decline is in the order of one-tenth to one-fifth of a standard deviation. Adjusting this decline for changes in student demographics does not affect this conclusion; if anything, the decline appears to be more acute. The available evidence also suggests that any changes in student attitudes, school violence, and television viewing are unlikely to have had a major impact on test scores. Real per-child school expenditure increased substantially over this period, implying a fall in school productivity. Although we cannot account for all the phenomena that might have affected school productivity, we identify a number of plausible explanations.
http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/SchoolProductivity.pdf

Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States © OECD 2010
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides the world’s most extensive and rigorous set of international surveys assessing the knowledge and skills of secondary school students. This volume combines an analysis of PISA with a description of the policies and practices of those education systems around the world, country by country, that are close to the top or advancing rapidly, in order to offer insights for policy from their reform trajectories.
http://www.oecd.org/document/13/0,3746,en_2649_35845621_46538637_1_1_1_1,00.html

Back to Top

3. Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for Parents
Mary Beth Klotz, PhD, NCSP, and Andrea Canter, PhD, NCSP
National Association of School Psychologists
A major concern for parents as well as teachers is how to help children who experience difficulty in school. All parents want to see their child excel, and it can be very frustrating when a child falls behind in either learning to read, achieving as expected in math and other subjects, or getting along socially with peers and teachers. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-step approach to providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity. RTI allows for early intervention by providing academic and behavioral supports rather than waiting for a child to fail before offering help.
http://www.nasponline.org/resources/handouts/revisedPDFs/rtiprimer.pdf

RTI and Reading: Response to Intervention in a Nutshell
G. Emerson Dickman
RTI is not a particular method or instructional approach, rather it is a process that aims to shift educational resources toward the delivery and evaluation of instruction that works best for students. This article provides a quick overview of RTI as it relates to reading.
http://www.readingrockets.org/article/14596/

RTI Action Network (USA)
The RTI Action Network is dedicated to the effective implementation of Response to Intervention (RtI) in school districts nationwide. Our goal is to guide educators and families in the large-scale implementation of RtI so that each child has access to quality instruction and that struggling students – including those with learning disabilities – are identified early and receive the necessary supports to be successful. The RtI Action Network is a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, funded by the Cisco Foundation and in partnership with the nation’s leading education associations and top RtI experts.
http://www.rtinetwork.org/

MUSEC Briefing Issue 17: Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention (PDF)
http://www.musec.mq.edu.au/community_outreach/musec_briefings#17

Back to Top

4. Language & Literacy

Comparative effectiveness of phonological awareness and oral language intervention for children with low emergent literacy skills
This paper reports the results of an intervention aimed to develop language and phonological awareness skills in children with low emergent literacy skills. Post test results demonstrated both intervention groups made significant gains on measures of encoding (spelling) compared to the class at-risk control group with the phonological awareness group showing an advantage over the language group. Intervention targeting both language and phonological awareness skills are both effective in countering the effects of low emergent literacy skills.
Authors: Ruth Fielding-Barnsley & Ian Hay, University of Tasmania
http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=793921881108734;res=IELIND  

Early intervention: What's not to like?
If a child has language problems, when would be the best age to intervene? At 18 months of age, when they are just at the outset of f learning language, or at five years, when they are re in school? Most people would say this is a no-brainer, with early intervention being preferred. There is, however, a problem with early intervention that is easily overlooked, but which is well-documented in the case of children’s language problems.  This is the phenomenon of the "late bloomer". Quite simply, the earlier you identify children’s language difficulties, the higher the proportion of cases will prove to be "false positives" who spontaneously move into the normal range without any intervention.
http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2011/09/early-intervention-whats-not-to-like.html

Speech and Language Problems in Children
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Children vary in their development of speech and language skills. Health professionals have milestones for what's normal. These milestones help determine if a child is on track or if he or she may need extra help. For example, a child usually has one or two words like "Hi," "dog," "Dada," or "Mama" by her first birthday.
Sometimes a delay may be caused by hearing loss, while other times it may be due to a speech or language disorder. Language disorders can mean that the child has trouble understanding what others say or difficulty sharing her thoughts. Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking may have a speech disorder.
If your child's speech or language appears to be delayed, talk to your child's doctor.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/speechandlanguageproblemsinchildren.html

LD Auditory Processing Disorder in Children
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2004)
Auditory processing is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. The "disorder" part of auditory processing disorder means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of the information. For further information and links to related links to information, see: http://www.ldonline.org/article/8056.

Auditory processing deficits in children with reading and language impairments: can they (and should they) be treated?
Authors: G M McArthur, D Ellis, C M Atkinson, M Coltheart
Cognition 01/07/200807/2008; 107(3):946-77.
ISSN: 0010-0277
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.12.005
Sixty-five children with specific reading disability (SRD), 25 children with specific language impairment (SLI), and 37 age-matched controls were tested for their frequency discrimination, rapid auditory processing,vowel discrimination, and consonant-vowel discrimination. Subgroups of children with SRD or SLI produced abnormal frequency discrimination(42%), rapid auditory processing (12%), vowel discrimination (23%), or consonant-vowel discrimination (18%) thresholds for their age.Twenty-eight of these children trained on a programme that targeted their specific auditory processing deficit for 6 weeks. Twenty-five of these 28 trainees produced normal thresholds for their targeted processing skill after training. These gains were not explained by gains in auditory attention, in the ability to do psychophysical tasks in general, or by test-retest effects. The 25 successful trainees also produced significantly higher scores on spoken language and spelling tests after training. However, an untrained control group showed test-retest effects on the same tests. These results suggest that auditory processing deficits can be treated successfully in children with SRD and SLI but that this does not help them acquire new reading,spelling, or spoken language skills.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5590416_Auditory_processing_deficits_in_children_with_reading_and_language_impairments_can_they_(and_should_they)_be_treated

Criteria for SLI: the Stark and Tallal legacy and beyond
Authors: E Plante
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Since it first appeared, the Stark and Tallal (1981 ) criteria for the selection of children with specific language impairment (SLI) has had a profound influence on research with this population. A review of the recent literature indicates that these criteria continue to be used, in part or in whole, in current research. However, the recent literature also provides illustrations of the use and interpretations of norm-referenced tests that can serve to update current best practices in subject selection. The original criteria for IQ and language test scores, along with their more recent adaptations, are reconsidered in light of current information on the use of tests with SLI.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13573455_Criteria_for_SLI_the_Stark_and_Tallal_legacy_and_beyond

Specificity and characteristics of learning disabilities
Authors: Natasha Eisenmajer, Nola Ross, Chris Pratt
Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines
01/11/200511/2005; 46(10):1108-15.
ISSN: 0021-9630
DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00394.x
BACKGROUND: The specificity of impairments in specific reading disabilities (SRD) and specific language impairments (SLI) has recently been questioned, with many children recruited for studies of SRD and SLI demonstrating impairments in both reading and oral language development. This has implications for the results of SRD and SLI studies where both reading and oral language skills are not assessed. Thus there is a need to compare the profiles of children with both oral language and reading impairments to groups of children with SRD and SLI.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16178935

From Neurons to Neighbourhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development                                                                   
Authors: Jack P. Shonkoff and Deborah A. Phillips, Editors, 2000
Board on Children, Youth, and Families National Research Council and Institute of Medicine
Scientists have had a long-standing fascination with the complexities of the process of human development. Parents have always been captivated by the rapid growth and development that characterize the earliest years of their children's lives. Professional service providers continue to search for new knowledge to inform their work. Consequently, one of the distinctive features of the science of early childhood development is the extent to which it evolves under the anxious and eager eyes of millions of families, policy makers, and service providers who seek authoritative guidance as they address the challenges of promoting the health and well-being of young children.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9824&page=1

Back to Top

5. Literacy - reading

General

Learning to read in Australia

Authors: Max Coltheart and Margot Prior

The Academy of Social Sciences in Australia 
Occasional Paper Number 1 2007
.
Introduction

Learning to read is not easy, and a substantial number of children struggle to do it. Children who read substantially less well than most children of their age may be referred to as exhibiting 'specific learning difficulties' or 'specific reading impairment' or 'developmental dyslexia' ('dyslexia' for short). These different terms are typically used interchangeably. Learning to write and spell is not easy, either, and some children lag behind their peers here, too. The distinction between difficulty in learning to read and difficulty in learning to write and spell is worth making because there are children who are normal readers for their age but poor spellers: these children are dysgraphic (poor at writing and spelling) while not being dyslexic (poor at reading). Children who have had difficulty in learning to read but have managed to catch up with their peers as far as reading is concerned often still exhibit poor writing and spelling.
http://www.assa.edu.au/publications/occasional_papers/2007_No1.php

The Contributions of Phonological Awareness and Letter-Name Knowledge to Letter-Sound Acquisition—A Cross-Classified Multilevel Model Approach
Authors: Young-Suk Kim, Yaacov Petscher, Barbara R. Foorman and Chengfu Zhou
Journal of Educational Psychology Volume 102, Issue 2, May 2010, Pages 313-326
In the present study, we investigated critical factors in letter-sound acquisition (i.e. letter-name knowledge and phonological awareness) with data from 653 English-speaking kindergartners in the beginning of the year. We examined (a) the contribution of phonological awareness to facilitating letter-sound acquisition from letter names and (b) the probabilities of letter-sound acquisition as a function of letter characteristics (i.e., consonant–vowel letters, vowel–consonant letters, letters with no sound cues, and vowel letters). The results show that letter-name knowledge had a large impact on letter-sound acquisition. Phonological awareness had a larger effect on letter-sound knowledge when letter names were known than when letter names were unknown. Furthermore, students were more likely to know the sounds of consonant–vowel letters (e.g., b and d) than vowel–consonant letters (e.g., l and m) and letters with no sound cues (e.g., h and y) when the letter name was known and phonological awareness was accounted for. Sounds were least likely to be known for letters with no sound cues, but reliable differences from other groups of letters depended on students' levels of phonological awareness and letter-name knowledge.
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ884856&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ884856  

A Seven Year Study of the Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment
Authors: Rhona S Johnston and Joyce E Watson (Scotland)
We have carried out a study on around 300 children of the effectiveness of a synthetic phonics programme that was taught in Primary 1.Performance on this programme was compared with performance on atypical analytic phonics programme, and also with performance on a similar programme that included a substantial element of phonological awareness training. The synthetic phonics programme was by far the most effective in developing literacy skills.
In several publications the authors have charted the development of the children's literacy skills up to the end of Primary 5. This Insight report describes the progress the children have made from Primary 1 through to the end of Primary 7, focusing on comparing the attainment of boys with that of girls, and the extent to which children underachieve when taught by the synthetic phonics programme, and the impact that synthetic phonics teaching has on the literacy skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/02/20682/52383

Letter Recognition: From Perception to Representation
A Special Issue of Cognitive Neuropsychology
Edited by Matthew Finkbeiner, Max Coltheart
Psychology Press
Publication Date: 23rd June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-84872-711-3
Detailed computational modeling of reading has been much pursued in the past twenty years, and several specific computational models of visual word recognition and reading aloud have been developed. These models offer computational accounts of many aspects of reading, but all have neglected the front end of the reading process, saying essentially nothing about how early visual processes operate during reading and little about how the nature of letter representations and how these are activated from print. This volume aims to begin to redress this neglect of the front end of the reading system.
The first three articles address issues of letter perception: i.e. how letter representations are activated from their visual features. The remaining four articles address the nature of the letter representations themselves, from functional, developmental and neural perspectives. These articles introduce novel and interesting ways to investigate the very earliest stages of the reading process. The research reported here will stimulate future investigations of this highly tractable, yet long overlooked, area of reading research. In particular, it should assist attempts to develop computational models of reading to make more realistic proposals about the actual computations involved in the activation of letter representations from print.
http://www.developmentalpsychologyarena.com/books/Letter-Recognition-From-Perception-to-Representation-isbn9781848727113

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science
What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do
Author: Louisa Moats
The American Federation of Teachers commissioned this paper.
June 1999
This publication contends that to understand printed language well enough to teach it explicitly requires disciplined study of its systems and forms, both spoken and written, and that research shows that a child who doesn’t learn the reading basics early is unlikely to learn them at all.
http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/downloads/teachers/rocketsci.pdf

Reading Recovery 20 Years Down the Track: Looking forward, looking back
Authors: Meree Reynolds and Kevin Wheldall
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2007, pp. 199
Reading Recovery is an intensive literacy programme designed for young students who have been
identified as being at-risk of reading failure after 1 year of schooling. The intervention was developed and trialled in New Zealand over 20 years ago and is now implemented in a number of education systems. The focus of this article is on recent research into the operationalisation of the programme with an overview of what it has done well and what it has not done so well. Reading Recovery has been very successful in bringing about change on the political and teacher training levels. In terms of efficacy in remediating literacy difficulties, however, the findings are more equivocal. What we have learned from Reading Recovery may assist in the implementation of new interventions based on more contemporary research.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10349120701330503

The Devil is in the Detail Regarding the Efficacy of Reading Recovery: A rejoinder to Schwartz, Hobsbaum, Briggs, and Scull
Authors: Meree Reynolds, Kevin Wheldall and Alison Madelaine
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Vol. 56, No. 1, March 2009, 17-35
This rejoinder provides comment on issues raised by Schwartz, Hobsbaum, Briggs and Scull (2009) in their article about evidence-based practice and Reading Recovery (RR), written in response to Reynolds and Wheldall (2007). Particular attention is paid to the processes and findings of the What Works Clearinghouse evaluation of RR. The suggestion that this evaluation is flawed casts doubt about some of its findings. The authors maintain their earlier stance that RR is effective for many students but do not accept that there is evidence that initial gains are sustained through the primary grades, that RR is an efficient tier two intervention in a response to intervention approach and that significant cost benefits have been demonstrated in education systems. It is concluded that research into alternative interventions that could be implemented at lower cost is warranted. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10349120802681580

Simple View of Reading

Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability
Authors: Philip B. Gough William E. Tunmer
Remedial and Special Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, 6-10 (1986)
DOI: 10.1177/074193258600700104
To clarify the role of decoding in reading and reading disability, a simple model of reading is proposed, which holds that reading equals the product of decoding and comprehension. It follows that there must be three types of reading disability, resulting from an inability to decode, an inability to comprehend, or both. It is argued that the first is dyslexia, the second hyperlexia, and the third common or garden variety, reading disability.
http://rse.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/7/1/6

Overview for literacy leaders and managers - National Strategies, DCSF, UK
The new conceptual framework for teaching reading: the ' simple view of reading’
The Rose Report made clear that there are two distinct but related processes involved in teaching children to read: learning to recognise words and developing language comprehension. Both are essential for learning to read and are contained in the Simple view of reading. This view replaces the Searchlights model. The paper supports practitioners' and teachers' understanding of the processes involved in ensuring children become secure in recognising words and develop comprehension skills.
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110809091832/http://www.teachingandlearningresources.org.uk

Literacy as a complex activity: deconstructing the simple view of reading
Authors: Morag Stuart, Rhona Stainthorp and Maggie Snowling  
Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education
The Rose Review into the teaching of early reading recommended that the conceptual framework incorporated into the National Literacy Strategy Framework for Teaching ˆ the Searchlights model of reading and its development - should be replaced by the Simple View of Reading. In this paper, we demonstrate how these two frameworks relate to each other, and show that nothing has been lost in this transformation from Searchlights to Simple View: on the contrary, much has been gained. That nothing has been lost is demonstrated by consideration of the underlying complexity inherent in each of the two dimensions delineated in the Simple View. That much has been gained is demonstrated by the increased understanding of each dimension that follows from careful scientific investigation of each. The better we understand what is involved in each dimension, the better placed we are to unravel and understand the essential, complex and continual interactions between each dimension which underlie skilled reading. This has clear implications for further improving the early teaching of reading.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-4369.2008.00490.x/abstract

Reading Fluency

Reading Fluency
N. Mather and Sam Goldstein (2001)
Reading fluency encompasses the speed or rate of reading, as well as the ability to read materials with expression. Meyer and Felton defined fluency as "'the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading, such as decoding" (1999, p. 284). Children are successful with decoding when the process used to identify words is fast and nearly effortless or automatic. As noted, the concept of automaticity refers to a student's ability to recognize words rapidly with little attention required to the word's appearance. The ability to read words by sight automatically is the key to skilled reading (Ehri, 1998).
http://www.ldonline.org/article/6354/

Precision Teaching and Education: Is Fluency the Missing Link between Success and Failure?
Gallagher, Eamonn; Bones, Robert; Lambe, Jackie
Irish Educational Studies, v25 n1 p93-105 Mar 2006
The Department of Education in the United Kingdom established ambitious targets for achievement in the three core areas of English, maths and science measured by national curriculum testing. Annual results of the assessment for 2005 indicate that the government is some way off achieving these targets, currently 85%, for the academic years 2006-2008, but results indicate a steady improvement from the levels achieved in 1998. If these ambitious targets are to be realised, the consideration of new techniques in the classroom is suggested. Precision teaching has been advocated by a number of academics in the psychological and educational fields. Precision teaching is an effective instructional technology which adopts fluency (accuracy plus speed) as a benchmark of teaching success. This article highlights findings which suggest that fluency training assists higher academic achievement for all learners, and that cumulative dysfluency maybe the antecedent of academic underachievement.
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ818140&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ818140

The National Reading Panel Report: FLUENCY
Fluent readers can read text with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Fluency depends upon well developed word recognition skills, but such skills do not inevitably lead to fluency. It is generally acknowledged that fluency is a critical component of skilled reading. Nevertheless, it is often neglected in classroom instruction. That neglect has started to give way as research and theory have reconceptualized this aspect of reading, and empirical studies have examined the efficacy of specific approaches to teaching fluency. Here the National Reading Panel (NRP) will provide a summary of the evidence supporting the effectiveness of various instructional approaches that are intended to foster this essential ingredient in successful reading development.
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/upload/ch3.pdf

DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency and Retell Fluency
DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) is a standardized, individually administered test of accuracy and fluency with connected text. The DORF passages and procedures are based on the program of research and development of Curriculum-Based Measurement of Reading by Stan Deno and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and using the procedures described in Shinn (1989). A version of CBM reading also has been published as The Test of Reading Fluency (TORF) (Children's Educational Services, 1987). ORF is a standardized set of passages and administration procedures designed to (a) identify children who may need additional instructional support, and (b) monitor progress toward instructional goals. The passages are calibrated for the goal level of reading for each grade level. Student performance is measured by having students read a passage aloud for one minute. Words omitted, substituted, and hesitations of more than three seconds are scored as errors. Words self-corrected within three seconds are scored as accurate. The number of correct words per minute from the passage is the oral reading fluency score. DIBELS ORF includes both benchmark passages to be used as screening assessments across the school year as well as 20 alternate forms for monitoring progress.
Retell Fluency (RTF) is intended to provide a comprehension check for the ORF assessment. In general, oral reading fluency provides one of the best measures of reading competence, including comprehension, for children in first through third grades. The purpose of the RTF measure is to (a) prevent inadvertently learning or practicing a misrule, (b) identify children whose comprehension is not consistent with their fluency, (c) provide an explicit linkage to the core components in the NRP report, and (d) increase the face validity of the ORF.
https://dibels.uoregon.edu/measures/orf.php


Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge - of Words and the World
Scientific Insights into the Fourth-Grade Slump and the Nation – Stagnant Comprehension Scores
Author: E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
While educators have made good progress in teaching children to decode (that is, turn print into speech sounds), it is disheartening that we still have not overcome the fourth-grade slump in reading comprehension. We are finding that even though the vast majority of our youngest readers can manage simple texts, many students - particularly those from low-income families - struggle when it comes time in grade four to tackle more advanced academic texts.
http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/spring2003/AE_SPRNG.pdf

Critical Thinking - Why Is It So Hard to Teach?
Author: Daniel T. Willingham - professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Virginia and author of
Cognition: The Thinking Animal as well as over 50 articles. With Barbara Spellman, he edited Current
American Educator, Summer 2007
Directions in Cognitive Science His research focuses on the role of consciousness in learning.
Critical thinking is not a set of skills that can be deployed at any time, in any context. It is a type of thought that even 3-year-olds can engage in - and even trained scientists can fail in.
http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/summer07/Crit_Thinking.pdf

The Effects of Goal Setting and Self-Instruction on Learning a Reading Comprehension Strategy – A Study of Students with Learning Disabilities
Authors: LeeAnn Johnson, Steve Graham, Karen R. Harris
Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30 , No. 1, 80-91 (1997) DOI: 10.1177/002221949703000107
This study examined the contributions of instruction in goal setting and self-instruction, separately and combined, on the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of a reading comprehension strategy by fourth-through sixth-grade students with learning disabilities. A previously validated strategy involving the use of story structure to analyze and remember story content was taught to 47 students with learning disabilities using the self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) model. Comparisons were made among students with learning disabilities in four conditions (strategy instruction, strategy instruction plus goal setting, strategy instruction plus self-instruction, and strategy instruction plus goal setting and self-instruction). Results indicated that instruction in the reading strategy produced meaningful, lasting, and generalizable effects on students' story comprehension skills. Furthermore, the comprehension performance of the students with learning disabilities after strategy instruction was indistinguishable from that of a social comparison group of normally achieving students. Explicit instruction in goal setting and self-instruction, however, did not augment the comprehension performance of students with learning disabilities.
http://ldx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/30/1/80  

HOW WE LEARN - ASK THE COGNITIVE SCIENTIST
The Usefulness of Brief Instruction in Reading Comprehension Strategies
Author: Daniel T. Willingham
American Educator (American Federation of Teachers), Winter 2006-07
Results from 481 studies on 16 different categories of strategies conclude that; "Teaching children strategies is definitely a good idea."
"The evidence is best for strategies that have been most thoroughly studied; the evidence for the less-studied strategies is inconclusive (not negative) and, therefore, there is not evidence that one strategy is superior to another."
"Strategies are learned quickly, and continued instruction and practice does not yield further benefits."
"Strategy instruction is unlikely to help students before they are in the third or fourth grade."
http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/winter06-07/CogSci.pdf

Assessment

Miscue Analysis: A Critque
Author: Dr. Kerry Hempenstall - RMIT Department of Psychology and Intellectual Disabilities
The assessment of children's reading progress has long been of interest to teachers, researchers, and parents. The purposes for reading assessment include comparing one child's progress to that of his peers, screening students for special assistance, measuring an individual's progress over a period of time, diagnosing particular areas of strength or weakness, using information for decisions about instruction, and determining placement within a reading program or special facility. There have been many different approaches to reading assessment based partly upon these differing purposes, but also upon the conception of reading development held by the test designer or user. Reading Miscue analysis is a major whole language test designed to assess the strategies that children use in their reading. Goodman and his colleagues in the 1960's were interested in the processes occurring during reading and believed that miscues (any departure from the text by the reader) could provide a picture of the underlying cognitive processes. He used the term miscue, rather than error, reflecting the view that a departure from the text is not necessarily erroneous (Goodman, 1979). Readers' miscues include substitutions of the written word with another, additions, omissions, and alterations to the word sequence.
http://www.ednews.org/articles/miscue-analysis-a-critque-.html 

Back to Top

6. Literacy - writing

The Write Stuff for Preventing and Treating Disabilities
Virginia Berninger, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle
Written language disabilities are extremely prevalent in the population of children with learning disabilities. Reading disabilities might be identified sooner than writing disabilities in many children, but writing disabilities are more persistent. Public concern and public awareness are on the rise. Now that states are expected to be accountable for students learning, and many have instituted a statewide assessment of writing competence, both educators and parents are concerned about the large number of children whose writing skills are below standard. In this educational climate, students with writing disabilities are much more likely to be noticed.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/write.stuff.htm

Improving Comprehension of Expository Text in Students with LD
A Research Synthesis
Authors: Meenakshi Gajria, Asha K Jitendra, Sheetal Sood, Gabriell Sacks
Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 40 , No. 3, 210-225 (2007) DOI: 10.1177/00222194070400030301
This article summarizes the findings of research studies designed to improve the comprehension of expository text for students with learning disabilities. Twenty-nine studies were located that met the inclusion criteria. Interventions gleaned from the review were categorized as content enhancement (i.e., advance and graphic organizers, visual displays, mnemonic illustrations, and computer-assisted instruction) or cognitive strategy instruction (i.e., text structure, main idea identification, summarization, questioning, cognitive mapping, reciprocal teaching). Treatment outcomes are discussed in relation to the various instructional approaches, student characteristics (e.g., grade, IQ), instructional features (e.g., materials, treatment length), methodological features, strategy maintenance, and generalization components. Implications for classroom practice and future research directions are provided.
http://ldx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/40/3/210

Beyond Phonics
Nancy Cushen White, Ed.D.
International Dyslexia Association Northern California Branch
Newsletter Winter 2008
Differences between good and poor readers and spellers are associated with significant differences in sensitivity to word structure at the morphological level. Insensitivity to morphological aspects of word structure also characterizes adults who spell poorly
http://www.dyslexia-ncbida.org/articles/winter08/beyond_phonics.html

Left-handedness
Whether a person favours their right hand or their left, and what this reveals about brain function, has been studied for at least 150 years. However, researchers still don’t understand why around 10 per cent of the population turns out to be left-handed.
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Left-handedness?OpenDocument

Improving Comprehension of Expository Text in Students with LD
A Research Synthesis
Authors: Meenakshi Gajria, Asha K Jitendra, Sheetal Sood, Gabriell Sacks
Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 40 , No. 3, 210-225 (2007) DOI: 10.1177/00222194070400030301
This article summarizes the findings of research studies designed to improve the comprehension of expository text for students with learning disabilities. Twenty-nine studies were located that met the inclusion criteria. Interventions gleaned from the review were categorized as content enhancement (i.e., advance and graphic organizers, visual displays, mnemonic illustrations, and computer-assisted instruction) or cognitive strategy instruction (i.e., text structure, main idea identification, summarization, questioning, cognitive mapping, reciprocal teaching). Treatment outcomes are discussed in relation to the various instructional approaches, student characteristics (e.g., grade, IQ), instructional features (e.g., materials, treatment length), methodological features, strategy maintenance, and generalization components. Implications for classroom practice and future research directions are provided.
http://ldx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/40/3/210

Back to Top

7. Numeracy

Journal of Learning Disabilities
Mathematics Education and Students with Learning Disabilities: Introduction to the Special Series - January/February 1997, Volume 30, No. 1
Author: Diane Pedrotty Rivera
This issue of the Journal focuses on issues relating to teaching maths to students with LD.
http://ldx.sagepub.com/content/vol30/issue1/
 
Educational Aspects of Mathematics Disabilities
Authors: Susan Peterson Miller, Cecil D. Mercer, EdD
Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30, No. 1, 47-56 (1997) DOI: 10.1177/002221949703000104
Research suggests that students with learning disabilities have significant difficulty acquiring and retaining math skills. A variety of factors seem to be contributing to the poor math performance of these individuals. The purpose of this article  is to discuss these factors and make recommendations that will enhance the likelihood of better math performance. The article begins with a discussion of national reform movements that have influenced math instruction (i.e., National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards, minimum competency testing, graduation requirements, inclusion). Next, learner characteristics are reviewed, then issues related to math instruction are described. Finally, ways to improve current practices in math education are discussed.
http://ldx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/30/1/47

Does Math Self-Efficacy Mediate the Effect of the Perceived Classroom Environment on Standardized Math Test Performance?
Lisa A. Fast, James L. Lewis, Michael J. Bryant, Kathleen A. Bocian, Richard A. Cardullo, Michael Rettig and Kimberly A. Hammond
Journal of Educational Psychology Volume 102, Issue 3, August 2010, Pages 729-740
We examined the effect of the perceived classroom environment on math self-efficacy and the effect of math self-efficacy on standardized math test performance. Upper elementary school students (N = 1,163) provided self-reports of their perceived math self-efficacy and the degree to which their math classroom environment was mastery oriented, challenging, and caring. Individual student scores on the California Standards Test for Mathematics were also collected. A series of 2-level models revealed that students who perceived their classroom environments as more caring, challenging, and mastery oriented had significantly higher levels of math self-efficacy, and higher levels of math self-efficacy positively predicted math performance. Analysis of the indirect effects of classroom variables on math performance indicated a small significant mediating effect of self-efficacy. Implications for research on self-efficacy and the perceived classroom environment are discussed.
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ892642&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ892642  

Skill Development in Different Components of Arithmetic and Basic Cognitive Functions: Findings From a 3-Year Longitudinal Study of Children With Different Types of Learning Difficulties
Ulf Andersson, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Journal of Educational Psychology Volume 102, Issue 1, February 2010, Pages 115-134
Arithmetic and cognitive skills of children with mathematical difficulties (MD-only), with comorbid reading difficulties (MD-RD), with reading difficulties (RD-only), and normally achieving children were examined at 3 points from Grades 3–4 to Grades 5–6 (age range, 9–13 years). Both MD groups displayed severe weaknesses in 4 domain-specific arithmetic components (factual, conceptual, procedural, and problem-solving skills) during all 3 measure points. Telling time and approximate arithmetic were also problematic for children with MD. Both MD groups displayed a small weakness related to visual–spatial working memory, and the MD-RD group also displayed small weaknesses related to verbal short-term memory, processing speed, and executive functions. The 4 groups developed at similar rates within all domain-specific components as well as basic cognitive functions. These findings demonstrate that children identified as having MD when they are 9 years old do not catch up with their normally achieving peers in later school grades, when they are 13 years old. They also continue to lag behind their peers with respect to the domain-general cognitive system.  http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ876304&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ876304  

The Imperative of Evidence-based Practices for the Teaching and Assessment of Numeracy
Author: Kenneth J. Rowe, MSc PhD
Invited submission to National Numeracy Review July 2007 Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
The rationale for this submission was motivated by at least three major considerations pertinent to Australian and international contexts. First, despite findings from existing and emerging research for educational effectiveness in terms of instructional effectiveness and its impact on teaching and learning, there is a disturbing level of ignorance among school leaders and teachers at all levels of educational provision related to what works and why – especially as they relate to the teaching of literacy and numeracy.
Second, prevailing ideologies in schools and universities surrounding effective teaching practice are typically not grounded in findings from evidence-based research. Such ideologies are not only endemic in Australian schools and higher education institutions, but throughout the world, with the possible exception of South-East Asian and several Eastern European jurisdictions.
Third, current pre-service teacher education and subsequent in-service professional development (PD) is characterised by very narrow conceptions about how teachers should teach – aided and abetted by the content of Australian State and Territory curriculum documents. This has resulted in teachers not being equipped with an evidence-based repertoire of pedagogical skills that are demonstrably effective in meeting the developmental and learning needs of all students – regardless of students' intrinsic characteristics, socioeconomic and socio-cultural backgrounds.
http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/Rowe-NNRSubmission.pdf  

Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics Education
Authors: John R. Anderson, Lynne M. Reder, Herbert A. Simon
Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
There is a frequent misperception that the move from behaviorism to cognitivism implied an abandonment of the possibilities of decomposing knowledge into its elements for purposes of study and decontextualizing these elements for purposes of instruction. We show that cognitivism does not imply outright rejection of decomposition and decontextualization. We critically analyze two movements which are based in part on this rejection ˆ situated learning and constructivism. Situated learning commonly advocates practices that lead to overly specific learning outcomes while constructivism advocates very inefficient learning and assessment procedures. The modern information-processing approach in cognitive psychology would recommend careful analysis of the goals of instruction and thorough empirical study of the efficacy of instructional approaches.
http://act-r.psy.cmu.edu/papers/misapplied.html

Mathematics Learning Difficulties: Research & Teaching
Brenda Dalheim, and Dr John Munro
Early Learning, Development and Inclusion Cluster, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
(A version of the paper was published as: Munro, J. (2003). Information processing and mathematics learning disabilities. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 8 (4), 19-24.)
http://online.edfac.unimelb.edu.au/selage/pub/mathsld.htm

Educational Aspects of Mathematics Disabilities
Susan Peterson Miller, Cecil D. Mercer, EdD
Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30, No. 1, 47-56 (1997) DOI: 10.1177/002221949703000104
Research suggests that students with learning disabilities have significant difficulty acquiring and retaining math skills. A variety of factors seem to be contributing to the poor math performance of these individuals. The purpose of this article is to discuss these factors and make recommendations that will enhance the likelihood of better math performance. The article begins with a discussion of national reform movements that have influenced math instruction (i.e., National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards, minimum competency testing, graduation requirements, inclusion). Next, learner characteristics are reviewed, then issues related to math instruction are described. Finally, ways to improve current practices in math education are discussed.
http://ldx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/30/1/47

A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relationship Between Reform-Oriented Instruction and Student Achievement
(USA) Rand Corporation, 2006
This impressive study comes up with some surprisingly candid observations about constructivist math and science.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG480.pdf

The Effects of a 15-minute Direct Instruction Intervention in the Regular Mathematics Class on Students’ Mathematical Self-efficacy and Achievement  
Author: Rhonda Farkota
Doctoral research into DI, mathematics and self-efficacy was described by the examiner, Professor DH Schunk, Dean of Education, University of North Carolina, as an outstanding thesis on a topic of great theoretical and applied significance.
http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/FarkotaThesis.pdf

Back to Top

8.  Technologies

Technology for Developing Children’s Language and Literacy: Bringing Speech Recognition to the Classroom

Marilyn Jager Adams
September 21, 2011

Download the report (820 kB)

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), about fifty percent of low-income fourth graders in our nation’s schools are unable to read at a basic level.  In this report, Brown University’s Marilyn Jager Adams, a pioneer in literacy research and practice, points to evidence that speech recognition technology — which is widely used in telephone call-routing and directory assistance — can be tapped as a cost-effective and technically viable means to advance early childhood literacy.  When coupled with effective pedagogy, voice recognition tools can provide valuable assessments that reach beyond the human capacities of the average public school classroom teacher. Adams argues that this emerging technology has the potential to offer real-time literacy support to every student by helping young children learn reading with the fluency needed to compete and cooperate in an increasingly complex age.

http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/publication/technology-for-developing-childrens-language-and-literacy-bringing-speech-recognition-to-the-classroom

Emerging Reading and Writing Strategies Using Technology

John Castellain and Tara Jeffs

TEACHING Exceptional Children, v33 n5, p60-67, May/June 2001

This article discusses teaching strategies for reading and writing using computer software and Internet-based electronic materials for students with disabilities. Different types of educational software are described, along with prereading strategies, reading activities, and postreading activities. A list of literacy links on the World Wide Web is provided.

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ629378&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ629378

Also at: 

https://cte.jhu.edu/TeachingExceptionalCHildren-JC.pdf

UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Mobile Learning

Purpose and Scope of the Guidelines

UNESCO believes that mobile technologies can expand and enrich educational opportunities for students in a diversity of contexts.

Today, a growing body of evidence suggests that ubiquitous mobile devices – and mobile phones in particular – are being used by students and teachers around the world to access information, streamline administration, and facilitate learning in new and innovative ways.

This set of guidelines, drawing on UNESCO’s research, seeks to help policy makers better understand what mobile learning is and how its unique benefits can be leveraged to advance progress toward Education for All.

http://ebookbrowse.com/unesco-policy-guidelines-on-mobile-learning-draft-v2-1-final-2-pdf-d380127521

Highly accurate children’s speech recognition for interactive reading tutors using subword units

Andreas Hagan, Byron Pellom and Ronald Cole

Center for Spoken Language Research, University of Colorado at Boulder

Speech technology offers great promise in the field of automated literacy and reading tutors for children. In such applications speech recognition can be used to track the reading position of the child, detect oral reading miscues, assessing comprehension of the text being read by estimating if the prosodic structure of the speech is appropriate to the discourse structure of the story, or by engaging the child in interactive dialogs to assess and train comprehension. Despite such promises, speech recognition systems exhibit higher error rates for children due to variabilities in vocal tract length, formant frequency, pronunciation, and grammar. In the context of recognizing speech while children are reading out loud, these problems are compounded by speech production behaviors affected by difficulties in recognizing printed words that cause pauses, repeated syllables and other phenomena. To overcome these challenges, we present advances in speech recognition that improve accuracy and modeling capability in the context of an interactive literacy tutor for children. Specifically, this paper focuses on a novel set of speech recognition techniques which can be applied to improve oral reading recognition. The proposed subword unit based speech recognition framework is shown to provide equivalent accuracy to a whole-word based speech recognizer while enabling detection of oral reading events and finer grained speech analysis during recognition. The efficacy of the approach is demonstrated using data collected from children in grades 3–5.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167639307000878

Creative Solutions to making the technology work: three case studies of dyslexic writers in higher education

Geraldine A. Price

University of Southhampton, UK

The Journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) V14, No1, March 2006, pp21-38

Research into the behaviours manifested by the dyslexic condition has often focused upon younger dyslexic pupils and the lower-order skill difficulty in decoding and encoding. A surge in interest in the writing process has shifted the focus to higher-order skills, and a growing body of research is emerging within the higher education context (Hughes & Suritsky, 1994; McNaughton et al., 1997; Hatcher, 2001; Singleton & Aisbett, 2001; Farmer et al., 2002). Students are expected to be ‘expert’ writers, and the mark of a good student is the ability to use writing as a tool for thinking. Drawing upon data from semi-structured interviews with undergraduate and postgraduate dyslexic students and their real-time writing logs, three case studies are presented and used to explore creative ways of using technology to manage dyslexia. The students demonstrate how they use different types of software to overcome writing anxiety, ‘fear of the blank page’ syndrome and issues of plagiarism. The experiences of the students within the case studies demonstrate that often simple software can provide the best solutions, and that students combine features from software programs in creative ways to compensate for weaknesses in their cognitive profile.

http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/10940

Fostering Literacy within a Multi-Media, Multi-Tasking Educational World

Marilyn Jager Adams

Reading and Literacy

Brown University

As widely discussed in the literature, the ascendance of print in the Western world was accompanied by dramatic changes in the range of our language, learning, and modes of thought (e.g., Havelock, 1963; Ong, 2002). Some would argue that the latter shifts were as much the consequence of schooling as of the written medium per se. Yet, it was significantly the growing availability of print that fueled and enabled wide-scale schooling in the Western world and, in turn, it was through print that the products and advances of education were principally explicated and disseminated—with each successive layer of print bootstrapping the depth and breadth of our collective language, thought, and knowledge, and each wave of readers and writers enriching and expanding the language, thought, and knowledge offered by print.

http://www.stanford.edu/group/multitasking/memos/Adams_MultitaskingMemo.pdf

Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities: A Dialogue among Educators, Industry, Government and Civil Society

UNESCO

November 2011

Personalized learning requires attention to the unique needs of all students of all abilities, acknowledging that each have different learning styles including students with mild, moderate or severe disabilities. The use of technology in education plays a particularly vital role by enabling flexible curriculum development and assisting students with disabilities to participate as equals in the learning experience. It also helps to prepare them for life-long learning, recreation and work outside of school.

As the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities continues to be implemented globally, State Parties to the Convention continue efforts to realise the goal of Inclusive Education to ensure that students with disabilities have full access, on an equal basis with other students, to regular schools and teachings.

http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/accessible_ict_personalized_learning_2012%20.pdf

Improving literacy in developing countries using speech recognition-supported games on mobile devices

Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp 1149-1158

A Kumar (Carnegie Mellon University), R Reddy (American Institute for Research), A Tewari (University of California - Berkley), R Aqrawai (Carnegie Mellon University), and M Kam (Carnegie Mellon University)

Learning to read in a second language is challenging, but highly rewarding. synthesis of research findings suggests that practicing recalling and vocalizing words for expressing an intended meaning could improve word reading skills - including reading in a second language - more than silent recognition of what the given words mean. Many language learning software do not support this instructional approach, owing to the technical challenges of incorporating speech recognition support to check that the learner is vocalizing the correct word. In this paper, we present results from a usability test and two subsequent experiments that explore the use of two speech recognition-enabled mobile games to help rural children in India read words with understanding. Through a working speech recognition prototype, we discuss two major contributions of this work: first, we give empirical evidence that shows the extent to which productive training (i.e. vocalizing words) is superior to receptive vocabulary training, and discuss the use of scaffolding hints to ""unpack"" factors in the learner's linguistic knowledge that may impact reading. Second, we discuss what our results suggest for future research in HCI.

http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2208564&dl=ACM&coll=DL&CFID=304599714&CFTOKEN=19582699

Pattern Blocks or iPads? Evaluating Teacher Tools for Early Childhood Numeracy

Maggie Blackburn, Josh Fahs, and Christina Mazza

Augustana College, Rock Island, IL

Since November of the 2010-2011 school year, the three of us have been working closely with individual and small groups of kindergarteners from Longfellow Elementary School in Rock Island. Our main goal for this project was to use a variety of effective teaching materials and instructional strategies in order to improve the number sense skills critical to this young students “future math development. It has helped us gain a better understanding of how students‟ early math knowledge progresses and the effectiveness of various teaching strategies and materials. We have learned how to adapt these strategies and materials to the individual needs of each kindergarten student.

http://www.augustana.edu/numbersense/publications/blackburn_fahs_mazza_2011.pdf

Back to top

Go Back