British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 6 Issue 1 (March 1988), Pages 1-111

Reading processes in specific reading retarded and reading backward 13‐year‐olds (pages 97-108)

This study investigates whether 13‐year‐old retarded (SRR) and backward (RB) readers show differences in their use of two reading strategies: phonological and whole word. Thirty‐eight SRR and 63 RB children were compared on their ability to read non‐words (phonological strategy), irregular words (whole word strategy) and the relative facility with which they read regular compared to irregular words (regularity effect). In order to control for IQ and reading level two different two‐group designs were employed: a ‘mental‐age control’ design where only IQ was controlled and a ‘reading‐age match’ design in which reading level and IQ were both taken into account. The findings suggest that in terms of single word reading, retarded and backward readers are not distinct groups, at least at 13 years of age. The overall level of reading proficiency explains most of the difference in reading between the two groups and they do not necessarily use different reading strategies. The implications of these findings for the controversy over subtypes of reading disability and the continuum of reading skill are discussed.

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