Intensive training helps children with reading and writing difficulties

Oct 04, 2011

Intensive daily training for a limited period is better for children with reading and writing difficulties than the traditional remedial tuition offered by schools, reveals new research from the University of Gothenburg.

Around 5% of school children in Sweden have problems learning to read and write on account of difficulties with word decoding.

Phonemic building blocks

"Most researchers agree that the underlying problem is a limited phonological ability, in other words limited awareness of the sounds that make up spoken words," says Ulrika Wolff, senior lecturer in education at the University of Gothenburg's Department of Education and Special Education, and the researcher behind the study, the first of its kind in Sweden.

12 weeks' training

The study saw more than 50 nine-year-olds with reading and writing problems being given 40 minutes' every day for a total of 12 weeks by specially trained educationalists from the University of Gothenburg. They were then compared with an equivalent group that had been given the traditional remedial tuition offered by schools.

The training comprised intensive and structured exercises in understanding the alphabetical code. The children practised linking phonemes and graphemes (sounds and letters), phonetic awareness, guided reading aloud and reading in general, which served to strengthen reading fluency and reading speed. However, the strict, research-based programme also incorporated space for creativity, play and .

Effective action

The results show that the children who took part in the training programme coped significantly better than the children given traditional remedial tuition, and that they did so in all of the areas tested -- word decoding, spelling, reading speed and .

"Structured and individual teaching meant that these children made significant progress," says Wolff. "Reading and writing difficulties often lead to low self-esteem and poor self-confidence, which can make learning to read even more difficult for . It's important to take effective action as early as possible to break this vicious circle."

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Reading Tests that 'Misread' Some Children

Nov 19, 2007

Screening tests widely used to identify children with reading problems are being misapplied, landing students in the wrong instructional level and delaying treatment for their true difficulties, says new research ...

Pre-school age exercises can prevent dyslexia

Aug 27, 2008

A typical characteristics of children's linguistic development are early signs of the risk of developing reading and writing disabilities, or dyslexia. New research points to preventive exercises as an effective means to ...

Widening our perceptions of reading and writing difficulties

Dec 08, 2010

Learning to read and write are complex processes, which can be disrupted in various ways, leading to disorders known as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Two new studies, published in a recent special issue of Elsevier's Cortex (http: ...

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.