Identifying Children in Middle Childhood Who Are at Risk for Reading Problems by ProQuest


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									School Psychology Review,
2010, Volume 39, No. 2, pp. 258 –276

  Identifying Children in Middle Childhood Who Are at
                Risk for Reading Problems

                                        Deborah L. Speece
                                       University of Maryland

                                        Kristen D. Ritchey
                                       University of Delaware

                                        Rebecca Silverman
                                       University of Maryland

                                  Christopher Schatschneider
                                    Florida State University

                     Caroline Y. Walker and Katryna N. Andrusik
                                 University of Maryland

            Abstract. The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate a universal
            screening battery for reading that is appropriate for older elementary students in
            a response to intervention model. Multiple measures of reading and reading
            correlates were administered to 230 fourth-grade children. Teachers rated chil-
            dren’s reading skills, academic competence, and attention. Children were classi-
            fied as not-at-risk or at-risk readers based on a three-factor model reflecting
            reading comprehension, word recognition/decoding, and word fluency. Predictors
            of reading status included group-administered tests of reading comprehension,
            silent word reading fluency, and teacher ratings of reading problems. Inclusion of
            individually administered tests and growth estimates did not add substantial
            variance. The receiver-operator characteristic curve analysis yielded an area under
            the curve index of 0.90, suggesting this model may both accurately and efficiently
            screen older elementary students with reading problems.

     Although many advances have been                  for students with reading disabilities, there has
made in early identification and intervention           been less progress in identifying and remedi-

This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(Grant P5HD052121) and the U.S. Department of Education (Grant H325D070082).
Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Deborah L. Speece, Department of Special
Education, 1308 Benjamin Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; E-mail:
Copyright 2010 by the National Association of School Psychologists, ISSN 0279-6015, which has
nonexclusive ownership in accordance with Division G, Title II, Section 518 of P.L. Law 110-161 and NIH
Public Access Policy

                                                                               Identifying Reading Problems

ating the reading skills of older children. The          evidence and rational arguments against the
National Assessment of Educational Progress              long-standing adherence to a discrepancy be-
report shows that 34% of fourth-grade students           tween achievement and intelligence test scores
perform below basic levels in reading (National          as the hallmark of learning disabilities gener-
Assessment of Educational Progress, National             ally, and reading disabilities more specifically
Center for Educational Statistics, & Institute of        (Stuebing et al., 2002). The emphasis on child
Education Sciences, 2007). Some of these stu-            “responsiveness” to intervention was proposed
dents may have experienced difficulty with read-          as a method to move away from arbitrary test
ing from the beginning of their school careers,          score cut points that often yielded invalid in-
but other students confront reading problems for         ferences and toward methods that focused spe-
the first time in middle childhood. In fact, Leach,       cifically on a child’s academic weaknesses in
Scarborough, and Rescorla (2003) estimated that          the context of instruction (Fuchs & Fuchs,
41% of all students with reading disabilities have       1998). Although there is no single model of
late-emerging reading disabilities (i.e., reading        RTI, most conceptualizations include univer-
disabilities that are not evident until at least third   sal screening to replace teacher referral as the
grade). These late-emerging difficulties are not          initial mechanism to identify struggling read-
identifiable by early screening assessments   
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