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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Improving Comprehension Online (ICON): Preparing a Digital Reading Intervention Through Vocabulary-based Research

Patrick Proctor, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST, Inc.)
Bridget Dalton, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST, Inc.)
Elaine Mo, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST, Inc.)

Abstract: CAST, Inc. and Harvard University are creating a digital reading environment (DRE) for both teachers and researchers to target the development of both vocabulary knowledge (e.g. morphological awareness, semantic relations, Spanish-English commonalities) and reading comprehension strategy development (Palinscar & Brown, 1984).

In preparing to develop and test the DRE, we worked with two schools in two urban school districts in Massachusetts. We recruited 95 students, approximately 30% of whom were Spanish-English bilinguals, and 10% were bilingual speakers of a first language other than Spanish. Another 10 of these students were designated special needs students in a resource room setting. Indeed, 6 of these 10 students were non-native English speakers.

Baseline data in Spanish and English were collected using Woodcock-Johnson measures (Letter-Word ID, Picture Vocabulary, Passage Comprehension, Oral Comprehension), the DIBELS, and several researcher-developed measures targeting depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge. These data are being analyzed in conjunction with qualitative observations of student use of the DRE allowing us to draw conclusions about reader profiles as they pertain to feature use in the DRE.

Significant positive associations were noted between students' familiarity with Spanish words and their knowledge of the meaning of the word in English. Cross-linguistic analyses revealed positive correlations between students' reading comprehension skills in Spanish and their English language arts results for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). Finally, we are working closely with the resource room teacher to evaluate the literacy performance of her 10 students to tease out issues of disability versus language proficiency.