Early Identification and Intervention to Prevent Reading Difficulties
This study presents a longitudinal examination of the development of reading and reading-related skills of native English (L1) and non-native English speakers. Reading and related cognitive abilities were examined in children kindergarten and in Grade 5. The analyses were conducted to investigate the influence of the balanced literacy program that was implemented in kindergarten and Grade 1 for the English as a Second Language (ESL) and L1 students in Grade 5. Another aim of the study was to investigate the reading patterns of ESL children in kindergarten and in grade 5 compared to those of their native English-speaking classmates from kindergarten to Grade 5. Finally, we examined how children at risk for reading disabilities (RD) could be identified.
The findings provided support for a model of early identification and intervention for all children at risk for reading failure. Furthermore, the results showed that learning English as a second language is not an impediment to successful decoding. In addition, there is a constant need to assess the reading skills of students in the classroom over the elementary years in order to detect difficulties that may emerge when the reading demands change over the years, and different reading strategies are required. Finally, the results demonstrate the heterogeneity of the RD group and call for further longitudinal examination of different RD subgroups.
This research was supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network to Linda S. Siegel. The authors wish to thank the students, principals, teachers, parents, and administrators in the North Vancouver school district for their invaluable contributions and support.
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