How You Read Affects What You Gain: Individual Differences in the Functional Organization of the Reading System Predict Intervention Gains in Children With Reading Disabilities

Noam Siegelman*, Jay G. Rueckl, Mark van den Bunt, Jan C. Frijters, Jason D. Zevin, Maureen W. Lovett, Mark S. Seidenberg, Kenneth R. Pugh, Robin D. Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is now considerable evidence regarding the types of interventions that are effective at remediating reading disabilities on average. It is generally unclear, however, what predicts the magnitude of individual-level change following a given intervention. We examine new predictors of intervention gains that are theoretically grounded in computational models of reading and focus on individual differences in the functional organization of the reading system. Specifically, we estimate the extent to which children with reading disabilities (n = 118 3rd–4th graders) rely on two sources of information during an oral word reading task—print–speech correspondences and semantic imageability—before and after a phonologically-weighted intervention. We show that children who relied more on print–speech regularities and less on imageability preintervention had better intervention gains. In parallel, children who over the course of the intervention exhibited greater increases in their reliance on print–speech correspondences and greater decreases in their reliance on imageability, had better intervention outcomes. Importantly, these two factors were differentially related to specific reading task outcomes, with greater reliance on print–speech correspondences associated with pseudoword naming, while (lesser) reliance on imageability related to word reading and comprehension. We discuss the implications of these findings for theoretical models of reading acquisition and educational practice.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)855-869
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume114
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Individual differences
  • Intervention response
  • Print–speech regularities
  • Reading disabilities

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