The possible use of IBM-compatible computers and digital-to-analog conversion to assess children for reading disabilities and to increase their phonemic awareness

Abstract

Hurford and Sanders (1990) and Hurford (1990) have been successful at employing digital-toanalog (D/A) conversion to remediate phonemic processing deficiencies in young disabled readers. The present study outlines how D/A conversion might be used to identify students who are at risk for reading disabilities. A large sample of first-quarter first graders (227) was administered tests of reading (the Word Identification and Word Attack subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised), a measure of intelligence (IQ according to the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised), and two measures of phonemic processing (phonemic discrimination and phonemic segmentation). The phonemic processing measures were significantly related to the measures of reading (ps < .0001). Students assigned to at-risk and not-at-risk groups on the basis of their reading scores were significantly different on the phonemic processing measures and on IQ. No differences were due to age. After the data were reanalyzed with IQ as a covariate, only phonemic segmentation differentiated the two groups. Although phonemic discrimination may be less useful for identifying young at-risk students, it seems to help in the remediation of phonemic processing deficiencies. Phonemic discrimination training would be less effective were it not for D/A conversion with personal computers.