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Reading Research and Insights into 
Achievement 
Prof. Clare Wood (c.wood@coventry.ac.uk)
Overview 
Reading Research and Insights into Achievement 
• Speech Rhythm and Reading 
• Technology and Literacy 
• Readin...
Speech Rhythm and Reading 
Links to Comprehension, Fluency, and 
Decoding Skills 
• Individuals with reading difficulties ...
Speech Rhythm and Reading 
A Speech Rhythm-Based Reading Intervention (Harrison et al, in prep.) 
• Small group activities...
Beginning Readers 
3.46 
1.04 
1.81 
0.62 
9.19 
1.31 
1.96 
0.65 
8.38 
1.29 
0.46 
0.17 
0.58 
7.29 
0.96 
6.71 
0.65 
0...
2.19 
1.12 
1.08 
0.0 
16.11 
2.66 
0.96 
12.0 
-0.38 
0.08 
-0.29 
-0.25 
12.12 
0.71 
1.71 
9.34 
0.7 
0.55 
0.05 
0.1 
...
Reading Difficulties 
4.65 
0.87 
1.1 
2.3 
1.25 
13.8 
8.67 
3.65 
1.85 
1.93 
2.1 
2.35 
19.15 
1.67 
0.00 
0.09 
0.8 
9...
4.15 
1.1 
1.95 
0.0 
16.8 
2.35 
2 
12.0 
6.7 
22.2 
1.37 
1.07 
0.2 
0.07 
10.33 
0.33 
2.8 
1.46 
10.74 
17.73 
1.09 
1...
Technology and Literacy 
Links to Spelling, Reading and Phonological 
Skills 
• Very young children are very skilled at kn...
Background 
Digital communication 
• Use of ‘textspeak’ in digitally mediated contexts 
• Mobile phone texts 
• Instant me...
Background 
The ‘essay’: 
My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2 go 2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3:-@ kds FTF. 
ILNY, its gr8...
Background 
What is a ‘textism’? 
• Shortenings - ‘bro’ ‘tues’ 
• Contractions - ‘txt’ ‘hmwrk’ 
• G-clippings - ‘swimmin’ ...
Textism Use and Basic Literacy Skills 
Use of text-speak is not a threat to literacy achievement 
• Knowledge of textisms ...
Textism Use and Basic Literacy Skills 
• Rethinking our preconceptions / misconceptions about digital communication 
• Off...
Reading Groups 
Why Reading Groups Matter 
• Interest in reading for pleasure declines during the ages of 11–15 years and ...
Reading Groups 
Clark and Rumbold (2006) identified several main areas of the benefits to reading for 
pleasure: 
 Readin...
Reading Groups as ‘Dialogic Reading’ 
• A structured approach which promotes children’s active participation in shared 
re...
The Group Activity 
• One hour a week for 10 weeks with up to 12 children per group and external 
tutors 
• Run as an alte...
The dialogic prompts 
SPICE 
Share a story 
Predict what happens next 
Improve the story 
Cognitions 
Emotions
Key Findings 
• No difference in reading attainment across the three groups in the study 
• Delivery of Chatterbooks / Cha...
Observations 
• A more structured approach seemed to work well in secondary school contexts 
with these types of readers 
...
Reading Research and Insights into Achievement (Prof Clare Wood)
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Reading Research and Insights into Achievement (Prof Clare Wood)

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Presentation given at SLA one-day conference "Reading for Excellence", 14th November 2014

Published in: Education
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Reading Research and Insights into Achievement (Prof Clare Wood)

  1. 1. Reading Research and Insights into Achievement Prof. Clare Wood (c.wood@coventry.ac.uk)
  2. 2. Overview Reading Research and Insights into Achievement • Speech Rhythm and Reading • Technology and Literacy • Reading Groups
  3. 3. Speech Rhythm and Reading Links to Comprehension, Fluency, and Decoding Skills • Individuals with reading difficulties also have difficulties ‘hearing’ speech rhythm (e.g. Corriveau et al. 2007, Wood & Terrell, 1998) • Sensitivity to speech rhythm has been linked to • Vocabulary knowledge • Phonological skills • The ability to read with appropriate expression • The ability to comprehend text • Recent research has shown that sensitivity to speech rhythm can be trained in primary school aged children, and that this training impacts reading achievement
  4. 4. Speech Rhythm and Reading A Speech Rhythm-Based Reading Intervention (Harrison et al, in prep.) • Small group activities 3 times a week, raising children’s awareness of • Stress • Intonation • Timing • Each task involves pictures and corresponding pre-recorded audio stimuli. • Children respond using picture cards, so the intervention is suitable for small groups as well as one-on-one support. • Trialled with reception aged children and older children with early signs of reading difficulties
  5. 5. Beginning Readers 3.46 1.04 1.81 0.62 9.19 1.31 1.96 0.65 8.38 1.29 0.46 0.17 0.58 7.29 0.96 6.71 0.65 0.2 0.0 0.45 5.45 3.7 0.7 4.4 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Mean Change T1:T2 SR PA Maths Can training on the speech rhythm-based intervention result in gains that are at least equivalent to those observed by a more traditional, PA-based intervention?
  6. 6. 2.19 1.12 1.08 0.0 16.11 2.66 0.96 12.0 -0.38 0.08 -0.29 -0.25 12.12 0.71 1.71 9.34 0.7 0.55 0.05 0.1 10.65 4.45 1.35 10.35 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 SR PA M Mean Change T1:T2 Overall gains between T1 and T3
  7. 7. Reading Difficulties 4.65 0.87 1.1 2.3 1.25 13.8 8.67 3.65 1.85 1.93 2.1 2.35 19.15 1.67 0.00 0.09 0.8 9.4 0.73 1.45 0.73 11.64 12.0 0.45 0.64 -0.27 6.91 4.73 0.55 1.18 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 Mean Change T1:T2 SR PA Sem Can training on the speech rhythm-based intervention result in gains that are at least equivalent to those observed by a more traditional, PA-based intervention?
  8. 8. 4.15 1.1 1.95 0.0 16.8 2.35 2 12.0 6.7 22.2 1.37 1.07 0.2 0.07 10.33 0.33 2.8 1.46 10.74 17.73 1.09 1 0.09 0 10.82 1.91 1.82 3.36 9.73 10.82 0 5 10 15 20 25 SR PA Maths Mean Change T1:T2 Overall gains between T1 and T3
  9. 9. Technology and Literacy Links to Spelling, Reading and Phonological Skills • Very young children are very skilled at knowing how to use ‘talking books’ to support their level of literacy achievement (Wood et al. 2005) • Girls are better able to engage in collaboration around computer-based texts than boys are • Talking books / e-books are only resources, they are not teaching surrogates • It’s the nature of the interaction that matters in determining outcomes (Wood, 2005, Littleton et al., 2006)
  10. 10. Background Digital communication • Use of ‘textspeak’ in digitally mediated contexts • Mobile phone texts • Instant messaging • Social media (Facebook, Twitter) • Concern regarding informality, lack of awareness re appropriateness, and assumed to be an indicator of low effort, poor understanding and attainment
  11. 11. Background The ‘essay’: My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2 go 2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3:-@ kds FTF. ILNY, its gr8. Bt my Ps wr so {:-/ BC o 9/11 tht thay dcdd 2 stay in SCO & spnd 2 wks up N. Up N, WUCIWUG – 0. I ws vvv brd in MON. 0 bt baas & ^^^^^. My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York, it’s a great place. But my parents were so worried because of the terrorism attack on September 11 that they decided we would stay in Scotland and spend two weeks up north. Up north, what you see is what you get - nothing. I was extremely bored in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but sheep and mountains.
  12. 12. Background What is a ‘textism’? • Shortenings - ‘bro’ ‘tues’ • Contractions - ‘txt’ ‘hmwrk’ • G-clippings - ‘swimmin’ ‘goin’ • Other clippings - ‘hav’ ‘wil’ • Missing apostrophes - ‘cant’ ‘dads’ • Acronyms - ‘BBC’ ‘UK’ • Initialisms - ‘ttfn’ ‘tvm’ ‘lol’ • Symbols - ‘@’  <) xxx • Homophones - ‘2moro’ ‘l8r’ • Misspellings - ‘comming’ • Unconventional spellings - ‘fone’ ‘rite’ ‘skool’ • Accent stylisation - ‘wiv’ ‘elp’ ‘anuva’ ‘gonna’ (Adapted from Thurlow, 2003)
  13. 13. Textism Use and Basic Literacy Skills Use of text-speak is not a threat to literacy achievement • Knowledge of textisms was linked to better verbal abilities, and performance on a conventional spelling test (10-11 year olds; Plester et al. 2008) • Positive relationship between reading and textism use even after taking into account for phonological and alphabetic skills, memory and age at which the children got their first phone (10-12 year old children; Plester, et al. 2009) Wood, Meachem et al. (2011) • Longitudinal study of reading, spelling, phonological awareness, phonological processing, verbal IQ and textism use in 119 8-12 year olds • Textism use could predict growth in spelling ability after controlling for IQ, but reading / spelling could not predict textism use • Textism use seems to develop children’s phonological processing abilities. Wood, Jackson et al. (2011) • 114 9-10 year old children recruited to texting intervention study (10 weeks) • No significant differences between treatment and control group on phonological awareness or literacy measures (mean scores favoured texting group, however) • But within the treatment group, growth in spelling development was positively associated with use of textisms in text messages sent / received.
  14. 14. Textism Use and Basic Literacy Skills • Rethinking our preconceptions / misconceptions about digital communication • Offer an environment for developing the phonological processing skills of students in a motivating environment (stealth phonics?) • Potential for creating a safe environment for students with dyslexia to practice writing
  15. 15. Reading Groups Why Reading Groups Matter • Interest in reading for pleasure declines during the ages of 11–15 years and boys are more likely than girls to report that they spend no time reading for pleasure (Nippold, Duthie & Larsen, 2005) • While reading achievement increases substantially from age 8 to 12 years, reading enjoyment and reading self-efficacy declines (Smith, Smith, Gilmore & Jameson, 2012) • Children in England report less frequent reading for pleasure outside of school than children in many other countries (Twist et al., 2007) • When pupils were asked which book they had enjoyed most, 80% of them said that the one they had enjoyed most was the one they had selected themselves (Gambrell,1996).
  16. 16. Reading Groups Clark and Rumbold (2006) identified several main areas of the benefits to reading for pleasure:  Reading attainment and writing ability  Text comprehension and grammar  Breadth of vocabulary  Positive reading attitudes  Greater self-confidence as a reader  Pleasure in reading in later life  General knowledge  A better understanding of other cultures  Community participation  A greater insight into human nature and decision-making.
  17. 17. Reading Groups as ‘Dialogic Reading’ • A structured approach which promotes children’s active participation in shared reading interactions • Found to impact • Vocabulary • Fictional narrative skills • Concepts about print • Word identification • Spelling • Our project with The Reading Agency aimed to 1. determine whether Chatterbooks can be enhanced through the addition of dialogic prompts aimed to improve comprehension of texts 2. formally evaluate the immediate and delayed impact of this approach on the reading attitudes and ability of Year 7 children underachieving in English
  18. 18. The Group Activity • One hour a week for 10 weeks with up to 12 children per group and external tutors • Run as an alternative to a normal lesson of school’s choice • Secondary schools were reluctant to run it as extra curricular provision Classic  Icebreaker  Each session completed various activities designed by the leaders relating to books in the weekly topic  What have you been reading?  Choose a book Plus  Icebreaker  Each session had two activities relating to books in the weekly topic  SPICE  What have you been reading?  Choose a book
  19. 19. The dialogic prompts SPICE Share a story Predict what happens next Improve the story Cognitions Emotions
  20. 20. Key Findings • No difference in reading attainment across the three groups in the study • Delivery of Chatterbooks / Chatterbooks plus ‘as good as’ normal classroom attendance re impact on literacy • Reading attitudes in the ‘Plus’ group increased more than in the traditional Chatterbooks groups for these children • Factors that affected outcomes included: • Group size • School buy-in • Librarian involvement and understanding • Location of session • Author contact • Gender dynamics of group • Behaviour management issues • Child perception of activities • Baseline ability of students • Book access
  21. 21. Observations • A more structured approach seemed to work well in secondary school contexts with these types of readers • Predictability important? • The author contact proved critical in changing attitudes for many children • Variations in themes enables different ‘points of entry’ for children with different interests and attitudes • Gender was a factor – boys had lower attitudes coming into the project than the girls did and the girls seemed to benefit the most overall • School librarian input was critical

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