An Investigation of the Value of Detection of Potential Readnig Difficulties at the Kindergarten Level Followed by Specific Individualized Instruction as a Preventative Measure Against Reading Failure
Date of Conferral
The purpose of this investigation was to use and evaluate a preventative measure against reading failure at the kindergarten level. This technique of prevention used diagnostic detection. of potential reading difficulties followed by individualized treatment of indicated problem areas. A careful attempt was made to answer the following questions.
1. What is the most effective time to begin remedial reading instruction?
2. Do undetected difficulties in pre-reading skills lead to reading failure?
3. Is the original kindergarten screening test used as efficient as, or more efficient than, the standardized tests in current use?
4. Which techniques and methods of instruction are most effective for teaching pre-reading skills?
5. Can teacher aides, given training, be used effectively for individualized instruction?
The kindergarten population of a large urban public school district with a high percentage of bi-lingual (Portuguese) residents and a history of reading problems was selected for this study.
From a group of 1,200 kindergartners a sample of 264 was selected. Each child received a battery of reading, achievement and diagnostic tests. An original Kindergarten Screening Test--to be referred to as the KS test--was used as one of the diagnostic instruments. Those children who failed five or more test items were included in this study.
A Campbell and Stanley two group post-test design was used as a model. A total of twenty schools were involved in the study. The results of this investigation proved that:
1. The kindergarten level is a favorable and appropriate time to begin instruction based upon diagnosed weaknesses in pre-reading skills.
2. The value of early identification and treatment of diagnosed weaknesses of pre-reading skills can be measured by its effectiveness in later reading achievement.
3. The KS Test proved to be as efficient as the standardized tests used, with clearer diagnostic implications in some areas.
4. Bi-lingual and slow learning children showed gains in reading skills following early diagnosis and individualized instruction.
5. Training and use of teacher aides as tutors proved to be an effective and useful adjunct for the classroom teacher at kindergarten level.
In general, this program of early identification and individualized instruction was successful in bringing up to grade level those children identified as having potential learning difficulties.