The Language-Reading Relationship in Normal and Reading-Disabled Children In this study, the word retrieval, phonological awareness, sentence completion, and narrative discourse processing skills of 93 reading-disabled and 93 normally achieving subjects from 8 to 14 years of age were compared. The subjects were matched for age, sex, and neighborhood. Results revealed that the two groups differed significantly on ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1991
The Language-Reading Relationship in Normal and Reading-Disabled Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lynn S. Snyder
    California State University Long Beach
  • Doris M. Downey
    University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Lynn S. Snyder, Ph.D., Department of Communicative Disorders, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Belltlower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840.
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1991
The Language-Reading Relationship in Normal and Reading-Disabled Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1991, Vol. 34, 129-140. doi:10.1044/jshr.3401.129
History: Received September 1, 1989 , Accepted February 28, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1991, Vol. 34, 129-140. doi:10.1044/jshr.3401.129
History: Received September 1, 1989; Accepted February 28, 1990

In this study, the word retrieval, phonological awareness, sentence completion, and narrative discourse processing skills of 93 reading-disabled and 93 normally achieving subjects from 8 to 14 years of age were compared. The subjects were matched for age, sex, and neighborhood. Results revealed that the two groups differed significantly on the time and accuracy of word retrieval, their ability to produce a syntactically appropriate structure in a sentence completion task, their retelling of stories that had been read to them, their answers to questions about the stories, and their inferences. Further analysis revealed that the variance in the younger reading-disabled children’s reading comprehension scores was best accounted for by their performance on the sentence completion and word retrieval measures; the inferencing skills of the older reading-disabled children best accounted for the variance in their reading comprehension. By contrast, the younger normally achieving children’s reading comprehension scores were best accounted for by their sentence completion, the proportion of the stories that they retold, and word retrieval scores. The proportion of stories retold and the phonological awareness score of the older normally achieving children best accounted for the variance in their reading scores. These findings suggest that the oral language skills of normally achieving and reading-disabled children may relate differently to their reading comprehension at different age levels.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Basil O’Connor Research Grant #5-340 from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation to Lynn Snyder.
The authors are grateful to John DeFries and his staff at the Institute of Behavioral Genetics and to the directors of research from the Jefferson County and Longmont-St. Vrain Valley Public School Districts for their help with subject identification. We are especially grateful to the children and the families from the Jefferson County, Boulder Valley, and Longmont-St. Vrain Valley Public Schools who participated in this study. We also want to thank Eileen Kintsch, Brian MacWhinney, and Larry Shriberg for their advice and suggestions during the measurement development phase of the study, and Hugh Catts and Nicola Wolf Nelson for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.
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