Date of Award

10-2-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Amy R.Lederberg - Chair

Second Advisor

Miles Anthony Irving

Third Advisor

Daphne Greenberg

Fourth Advisor

Robin D. Morris

Abstract

ABSTRACT LANGUAGE AND SPEECH PREDICTORS OF READING ACHIEVEMENT IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH LANGUAGE DISORDERS by Juliet K. Haarbauer-Krupa The purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine the relationship between language and reading in children diagnosed with developmental language disorder (DLD) during preschool. An archival data set was available for analysis. Preschool children with DLD who were assessed between 35 and 74 months for preschool language and speech abilities (Rapin, 1996) returned for language, speech and reading testing at age seven years. Children who enrolled in the study were a clinically referred sample, met criteria for average nonverbal intellectual functioning, and demonstrated below average performance on a composite language measure. To evaluate a hypothesis about the contribution of vocabulary, grammar, and speech articulation to reading outcome measures, a series of regression analyses tested models to identify predictors of reading achievement at age seven. Results indicated a strong, positive relationship between language skills assessed at both ages and reading comprehension. School-age language and speech skills explained 25% of the variance in reading comprehension after controlling for word identification skills. Grammar at school age was a significant unique predictor of reading comprehension. Preschool language and speech skills explained 22% of the variance after controlling for word identification skills. Speech articulation was not related to reading outcomes. In contrast, regression analyses suggested that language and speech skills did not predict word reading abilities. Children who had reading comprehension difficulties had weaker vocabulary, grammar and speech skills compared to children who had average and above comprehension skills. Findings support previous research describing a relationship between language skills and reading comprehension. Language skills measured at preschool can predict reading comprehension difficulties in elementary school for children with DLD. Results highlight the importance of early identification and intervention of language impairment in children to improve areas of vocabulary and grammar critical to reading success.

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