Who Are the Young Children for Whom Best Practices in Reading Are Ineffective? An Experimental and Longitudinal Study

Authors: Stephanie Al Otaiba and Douglas Fuchs

Study Summary
The primary purpose of this study was to identify student characteristics that reliably predict responsiveness and nonresponsiveness to generally effective early literacy interventions. Participants were 104 children, including 7 with special needs and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), who were tested in kindergarten and first grade. Responsiveness/nonresponsiveness status was determined after 2 years during which children participated in best practice instruction (a) in kindergarten and first grade, (b) in kindergarten only, (c) in first grade only, or (d) in neither year. This facilitated the study of three groups. Always responsive students met responsiveness criteria in both years. Sometimes responsive students met the criteria in only one year. Nonresponsive students did not meet the criteria in either year. Multivariate analysis of variance and discriminant function analysis indicated that the three groups were reliably different from one another on measures of problem behavior, verbal memory, sentence imitation, syntactic awareness, vocabulary, naming speed, and segmentation. A combination of naming speed, vocabulary, sentence imitation, problem behavior, and amount of intervention correctly predicted 82.1% of nonresponsive students, 30.0% of sometimes responsive students, and 84.1% of always responsive students. Fifty students from kindergarten and first grade were tested again at the end of what should have been their third-grade year. All but 1 of the nonresponsive students who received intervention had been identified as requiring special education and had an IEP with reading goals.”

"This finding suggests that there are a large number of young children who could benefit form the early initiation of behavioral therapy, which is recommended as the first-line of treatment for preschool children with ADHD." -Dr. Susan Visser, Author of CDC Study Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry