Intensive training helps children with reading and writing difficulties

October 4, 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: Reading Tests that 'Misread' Some Children

Related Stories

Reading Tests that 'Misread' Some Children

November 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 from the ...

Pre-school age exercises can prevent dyslexia

August 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

December 8, 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 ( ...

Recommended for you

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Rare braincase provides insight into dinosaur brain

October 8, 2015

Experts have described one of the most complete sauropod dinosaur braincases ever found in Europe. The find could help scientists uncover some of the mysteries of how dinosaur brains operated, including their intellectual ...

How much for that Nobel prize in the window?

October 3, 2015

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.


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.