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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Early elementary school predictors of a learning disability in reading
by Weiss, Stacy Lynn, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2008, 148; 3345472
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to determine if four kindergarten factors were predictive of the identification of a learning disability with Individual Education Program goals in reading (LDR) at third and fifth grades. Much of the research related to predicting reading difficulty has focused on early elementary school outcomes and included predictors from only one domain, such as reading-related skills (Scarborough, 1998). This study extends the research by combining four factors related to LDR identification into a single study: student age on the first day of kindergarten, social-academic behaviors in the classroom, reading skills, and reading instruction in the sound-symbol relationship. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K) were analyzed using logit analyses. Odds, confidence intervals, and probabilities of LDR identification are presented to aid in the interpretation of the results.

Student age on the first day of kindergarten, social-academic behaviors, and reading scores were significant predictors of LDR. Being significantly older in kindergarten (two standard deviations above the mean), having significantly lower teacher ratings of social-academic behaviors (two standard deviations below the mean) and scoring significantly lower on a standardized reading measure (two standard deviations below the mean) resulted in a probability of LDR identification at third grade of .76 and a probability of LDR identification at fifth grade of .64, when including all students. When only considering the students who were in kindergarten for the first time at the beginning of the study, age at time of kindergarten entry, social-academic behaviors, and reading scores continued to be significant predictors of LDR at third grade. At fifth grade, reading and social-academic behaviors independently were significant predictors of LDR.

The frequency of kindergarten instruction in the sound-symbol relationship was not a significant predictor of LDR at third or fifth grades. Kindergarten teachers reported similar and frequent instruction related to matching letters to sounds, working on phonics, and identifying letters of the alphabet. Additional research is needed to determine if other instruction-related factors such as intensity or method of instruction are significant predictors of LDR. Study limitations and areas for additional research based on these findings are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Crossland, Cathy L., Fox, Barbara J.
School: North Carolina State University
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Special education, Literacy, Reading instruction
Keywords: ECLS-K, Elementary school, Learning disability, Predictors, Reading, Reading disability
Publication Number: 3345472
ISBN: 978-1-109-00506-6
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