EFFICIENT AND DEFICIENT ORAL READERS: SEQUENCING THE ALPHABET
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This study has three purposes: (1) to compare the performance of Efficient Oral Readers and Deficient Oral Readers on the Cohen Alphabetizing Tasks (CALT), (2) to compare subgroups of Deficient Oral Readers on the CALT and (3) to construct a hierarchical order of difficulty on the CALT.;The study population was comprised of 150 2nd and 3rd grade children of whom 56 were classified as Efficient Oral Readers and 94 were classified as Deficient Oral Readers based on performance on the Gray Oral Reading Tests. The subjects lived in a middle class suburban community.;There was no difference between the two groups of readers on the Knox Cube Test, a non-codifiable sequencing task. Thus, it was hypothesized that any difference between groups could be due to the codifiable nature of the CALT. The CALT was comprised of four subtests: Reciting the Alphabet, Motoric Alphabetizing, Writing the Alphabet and Selecting the Alphabet. As predicted, the Deficient Oral Readers made significantly more errors on and took a significantly longer time to complete the CALT than the Efficient Oral Readers. The same results were obtained on each subtest error score and on all but one time score. The groups did not differ significantly on Reciting the Alphabet.;The Deficient Oral Readers were then further divided into subgroups based on performance on the Gates-McKillop-Horowitz Reading Diagnostic Tests: Words: Flash Presentation and Untimed Presentation. There were 46 Deficient Oral Readers Whose Preferred Strategy for Reading Words is Analysis and 48 Deficient Oral Readers Without a Preferred Strategy for Reading Words. Another subgroup had been predicted, Deficient Oral Readers Whose Preferred Strategy for Reading Words is Recognition at Sight, but this subgroup did not emerge.;The performance of the subgroups on the CALT was compared. As predicted, the Deficient Oral Readers Without a Preferred Strategy for Reading Words made significantly more errors than the Deficient Oral Readers Whose Preferred Strategy Is Analysis on the CALT. The former subgroup also took a significantly longer time to complete the CALT. The same results were obtained on each subtest error and time score except one. There was no significant difference between the two subgroups on the time variable of Reciting the Alphabet.;Although a hierarchical order of difficulty had been predicted, no hierarchy emerged from the data.;The results of this investigation agree with some previous studies which have found that good readers are better than poor readers in the rapid retrieval and sequencing of codifiable information. The results also support other studies which have found that good and poor readers do not differ in their ability to retrieve and sequence non-codifiable information. It may well be the codifiable nature of the task that differentiates the groups.;This study also found that the degree of retardation in word recognition ability was also reflected in the ability to perform the CALT. The Deficient Oral Readers Without a Preferred Strategy for Reading Words were the most deficient in the ability to perform a codifiable serial ordering task.
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