Reading trajectories in children with language disorders
Capturing variability of change over time
Keywords:reading development, developmental trajectories, child language disorders, qualitative research
Background: The literature on typically developing children’s literacy acquisition provides a conventional model of development; however, little is available regarding how children with communicative disorders develop literacy abilities over time. This study describes the temporal trajectories of reading development in three children with diagnoses of language disorders and histories of reading difficulty.
Method: A qualitative research design employing ethnographic data collection and analysis procedures was used. One male (age 8 years 9 months) and two females (ages 7 years 8 months and 7 years 11 months) identified as having impaired language and a history of reading difficulty were followed for 10 months as they engaged in literacy instruction.
Results: Each child demonstrated a unique trajectory of literacy improvement. Trajectories of development were observed across the complexity of the materials read, as well as across variables reflective of comprehension. Variables included formal miscue analysis data, retelling of stories read, and text complexity.
Discussion/conclusion: This study suggests that each language-impaired individual should be considered separately in how they progress and in how progression is manifested. If norm-referenced, standardized evaluation methods had been applied, or if only one sampling period had been used, the changes and progress noted in each of these participants may have been missed.
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