Activity: Examination types › Supervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)
Object: The object of this study is to examine whether children’s proficiency in different aspects of reading after first grade can be predicted by a set of basic skills assessed before first grade and background attributes independently and jointly. Reading proficiency is examined as three separate skills: reading accuracy, reading speed and reading comprehension. The goal is to find out which skills and factors predict these different aspects of reading and whether they are the same for all three. This in turn will help in recognizing the children in need of early support. It will also help in selecting the focus of these early interventions. Previously, several different and partially conflicting theories about the causes of reading difficulties have been proposed. Examining reading from different angles might help solve this controversy. Methods: The participants were 152 native Finnish speaking children of whom 70 had a familial risk for dyslexia. At pre-school age (mean age: 6 years 5 months) the children were evaluated for their verbal IQ, phonological skills, rapid naming skills, working memory and letter naming. Information about background attributes, such as the socioeconomic status of the family, was gathered with questionnaires. Reading skills were assessed after first grade. Children were categorized into two groups in accordance with their performance in different reading skills. Using logistic regression analysis, the information about background and the basic skills assessed at pre-school age were used to predict who performed worse than average at a specific reading skill. Results and conclusions: The three aspects of reading were predicted to some extent by the same set of skills and attributes. Common predictors of all three aspects in unison were verbal IQ, rapid naming, phonological skills, letter naming and working memory. Familial risk of reading difficulty was included in predicting reading speed and accuracy, but for reading comprehension the length of the parents’ education was more essential. Those who were younger and had poorer phonological and verbal reasoning skills had greater odds of reading less accurately. Those at familial risk of dyslexia, slow at naming and those with poorer phonological skills had greater odds of being slow readers. Those with poorer verbal reasoning skills, phonological skills and working memory skills and boys had greater odds of being poor at reading comprehension. These results agree in part with previous findings. They also bring new insights into the various skills and factors that are connected to different aspects of reading and can be directly applied into practice.