Purpose: This study was to evaluate the impact of an early reading program for kindergarteners at risk of reading difficulties. Method: One hundred and ten children in Kindergarten Grade 3 were identified as at risk of reading disability. They were divided into 2 groups, the at-risk group (AR) and the control-risk group (CR). The AR received a centre-based intervention program that contained 15 training sessions on the four domains: oral language, orthographic knowledge, morphological awareness and character recognition. The CR received self-learning materials related to their school curriculum and required to be completed them at home. A further group of 50 children (NAR), who were not at risk, were selected to act as controls. Pre-and post-testing included measures for character recognition, story retelling, morphological construction, semantic categorical judgment, left-right reversal and word repetition. Results: Before the intervention, both AR and CR performed at a similar level on the pretest measures but worse than NAR. After the intervention, though AR and CR did not catch up with NAR, AR showed greater improvement in the posttest measures than CR. Significant growth was found in the domains of orthographic awareness, morphological awareness and character recognition. Findings from this study showed that children at risk in the kindergarten years could achieve a higher reading ability by receiving an early intervention program. Conclusions: The results highlighted the important role that early reading intervention plays in the development of reading skills for children at risk of reading difficulties.
|Published - 2010