WWC review of this study

Effects of prior attention training on child dyslexics’ response to composition instruction.

Chenault, B., Thomson, J., Abbott, R. D., & Berninger, V. W. (2006). Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), 243–260.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    20
     Students
    , grades
    4-6

Reviewed: July 2013

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: July 2010

Reading fluency outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Gray Oral Reading Test Third Edition (GORT-3): Reading Rate subtest

Read Naturally® vs. Pay Attention!

Midtest

Grades 4, 5, 6;
20 students

7.7

8.1

No

--
More Outcomes

Gray Oral Reading Test Third Edition (GORT-3): Reading Accuracy subtest

Read Naturally® vs. Pay Attention!

Midtest

Grades 4, 5, 6;
20 students

6.7

7.4

No

--
Writing achievement outcomes—Substantively important positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT): Written Expression subtest

Read Naturally® vs. Pay Attention!

Midtest

Grades 4, 5, 6;
20 students

92.6

89.4

No

 
 
13

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 0% English language learners

  • Female: 40%
    Male: 60%
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    Washington

Setting

The study was conducted with children from one parochial school in Washington State. The school serves children throughout the normal range of learning abilities, and teachers were trained to teach students with learning disabilities.

Study sample

The sample for this study included 20 English-speaking dyslexic children. The study’s criterion for dyslexia was a discrepancy of at least one standard deviation between a student’s Verbal Comprehension Index on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Second Edition) and his or her score on one or more measures of reading and writing. Children with diagnosed neurological or psychiatric disorders or Wechsler Verbal Communication indices below 88 were excluded from the study sample. The 20 children in the study had a mean Wechsler Verbal Communication Index of 106.7. Ten of the children were in the 4th grade, six were in the 5th grade, and four were in the 6th grade; 12 of the children were boys and 8 were girls. The 20 children were randomly assigned to one of two interventions: 10 children to Read Naturally ® and 10 children to Pay Attention! Pretest data were collected prior to the start of the interventions, and a first set of posttest data was collected after the completion of 10 sessions in Read Naturally ® or Pay Attention! At that point, students from the two groups were combined, and they participated in 10 more sessions with a third intervention (Writing Lessons with Attention Bridges), after which a second posttest was administered. As the focus of this report is Read Naturally ®, this review is based only on a comparison of pretest and first posttest data. There was no attrition of students between the pretest and first posttest.

Intervention Group

Children in the Read Naturally ® Masters Edition group participated in ten 25-minute individual sessions. This involved teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring to increase fluency in reading. The students chose a story, were asked to recall what they knew about the book topic, read the story aloud while the teacher identified missing or unknown words, and students marked a graph showing how many words were read in one minute. Student and teacher then read the story aloud together several times with the teacher modeling fluent reading. The student then practiced individually. In the final step, the student read aloud again for one minute and graphed the number of words read.

Comparison Group

Children in the Pay Attention! group participated in ten 25-minute individual sessions. Students practiced attention-focusing and executive functions using cognitive operations such as understanding of information and instructions they heard, switching tasks flexibly, and maintaining focus despite distractions. Materials included cards and tapes with spoken words and distracting sounds. Students received feedback on mistakes, and they charted their progress to track growth.

Outcome descriptions

The authors assessed students with a battery of tests at the pretest, first posttest, and second posttest time points. The domain of reading fluency was measured by administration of the Reading Accuracy and Reading Rate subtests of the Gray Oral Reading Test–III (GORT-III). The domain of writing was measured by administration of the Written Expression subtest of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (Second Edition). Other outcomes (executive functioning and handwriting) were reported in the study but were not included in this report because they were outside the scope of the Students with Learning Disabilities review. For a more detailed description of the included outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1–A2.2.

Support for implementation

Participants were instructed by the first or second author or a graduate student in school psychology who was supervised by those authors.

 

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