The applicability of the Simple View of Reading to special populations

The applicability of the Simple View of Reading to special populations

First Author: Cláudia Cardoso-Martins -- Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Keywords: Special Education, Decoding, Linguistic Comprehension, Reading comprehension
Abstract / Summary: 

The Simple View of Reading (SVR) describes reading comprehension as the product of decoding or efficient word recognition and listening comprehension. Although this model has gathered considerable support based on studies of children with typical development, studies addressing the applicability of the SVR to special populations with limited intellectual ability or very limited exposure to the language they are expected to read are rare. This symposium addresses this gap by examining reading comprehension in students with Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, 7q11,23 Duplication syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or hyperlexia as well as general-education students learning a second language as part of the high school curriculum in the United States. Results strongly support the SVR. In general, decoding and listening comprehension together accounted for a substantial portion of the variance in reading comprehension. Furthermore, findings suggest that the SVR provides a useful framework for the study of reading development and its disorders.

Symposium Papers: 

The Simple View of Reading (SVR): Application to children and adolescents with Williams syndrome (WS)

First Author/Chair:Cláudia Cardoso-Martins -- Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Additional authors/chairs: 
Carolyn B. Mervis

Purpose: The SVR’s proposal that reading comprehension equals the product of decoding and listening comprehension has received considerable empirical support, with multiple studies showing that these skills together account for a substantial proportion of the variance in reading comprehension. In the present study, we considered the applicability of the SRV for children with WS, a rare genetic disorder associated with intellectual disability. We were particularly interested in determining if, as has been found for typically developing (TD) children, the relative contributions of decoding and listening comprehension to reading comprehension vary as a function of reading level for children with WS. Method: Children with WS aged 9 – 17 years decoding either below (N = 75) or at or above (N = 34) the 10-year-old level on the WIAT-III completed tests of word and pseudoword reading, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. Results: Taken together, decoding and listening comprehension ability contributed significantly and substantially to the variance in reading comprehension in both word-reading ability groups (R2 = .76 and .55, respectively). Furthermore, as predicted by the SVR, the relative importance of word reading and listening comprehension ability differed markedly as a function of reading ability, and just as much as Catts et al. (2005) found for TD children. Specifically, whereas word reading contributed relatively more unique variance than listening comprehension to reading comprehension among the less advanced readers (27% vs. 11%), the opposite was true for the more advanced readers (2% vs. 36%). Conclusions: These results provide strong support for the SVR.

The Simple View of Reading (SVR): Application to children with 7q11.23 Duplication syndrome (Dup7)

First Author/Chair:Carolyn Mervis -- University of Louisville
Additional authors/chairs: 
Cláudia Cardoso-Martins

Purpose: Dup7, a recently-identified syndrome caused by a duplication (extra copy) of the ~26 genes deleted in Williams syndrome, is associated with childhood apraxia of speech, social phobia, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with intellectual abilities typically in the low average range. In the present study, we considered the applicability of the SVR to the reading abilities of children with Dup7. Method: Forty-four children with Dup7 aged 8 – 17 years (M: 11.71 years, SD: 2.91) completed tests of decoding, listening comprehension, intellectual ability, working memory, rapid naming, and reading comprehension. Results: Mean full-scale IQ was 83.43 (SD: 16.61). Mean WIAT-III standard scores (SS) were 90.89 (SD: 18.80) for Basic Reading and 85.07 (SD: 18.13) for Reading Comprehension. As predicted by the SVR, Reading Comprehension SS was significantly predicted (R2 = .770) by a regression including Basic Reading SS (p = .041) and Listening Comprehension SS (p < .0001). Also as expected given that 77% of the children had already completed at least grade 3, listening comprehension accounted for considerably more unique variance than decoding (25.4% vs. 2.5%). Addition of Working Memory SS resulted in a significant increase in R2 (p = .012), but addition of Nonverbal Reasoning SS or Rapid Naming SS did not (ps > .43). Thirty-six children completed gold-standard ASD assessments; 9 (25%) received a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Reading achievement SSs and IQ were very similar for the children with ASD and those classified non-spectrum (ps > .62). Conclusion: These results provide strong support for the SVR.

The Simple View of Reading as applied to individuals with hyperlexia: A meta-analytic review

First Author/Chair:Shuai Zhang -- Texas A & M University
Additional authors/chairs: 
R. Malatesha Joshi

Purpose: According to the Simple View of Reading (SVR; Gough & Tunmer, 1986), reading comprehension (RC) is the product of decoding (D) and linguistic comprehension (LC), and both D and LC can develop independently of one another. Generally, children with poor D but adequate LC are regarded as exhibiting a dyslexia-type syndrome. However, there is no consensus regarding the opposite problem: children with adequate D but poor LC, sometimes referred to as hyperlexia. We present here a meta-analysis of studies of hyperlexia. Method: We analyzed 16 studies on hyperlexia and computed the standardized mean differences of D, LC, and RC between children with hyperlexia and typically developing readers. We also conducted a meta-regression analysis to understand the contribution of D, LC, and their interaction to RC in children with hyperlexia. Results: Results showed that despite good decoding skills (g = 0.20, CI = [-0.22, 0.61]), children with hyperlexia exhibited poor LC (g = -1.65, [-2.55, -0.75]) and RC (g = -1.11, CI = [-1.69, -0.54]). Further, D, LC and their interaction contributed 67.57% (R2adjusted = 0.676) of the variance in RC, but only LC (t = 7.81, p<.0001), not D (t = - 0.94, p = 0.35) contributed significantly to RC. Conclusions: Results are consistent with the SVR. In line with what would be expected on the basis of the relatively good decoding skills of the children with hyperlexia, their RC was more influenced by LC than by D. The implications of these findings for our understanding of hyperlexia are discussed.

The Simple View of Reading in poor comprehenders with Down syndrome (DS), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and typical development (TD): Similar or different profiles?

First Author/Chair:Maja Roch -- University of Padova
Additional authors/chairs: 
Kate Cain; Chris Jarrold

Purpose: The simple view of reading (SVR) has been used as a framework for the study of reading difficulties. Our focus is on readers with poor comprehension who, despite age-appropriate reading accuracy, show difficulties in comprehension because of oral language weaknesses (Cain & Oakhill, 2007). Oral language difficulties are common in individuals with DS and ASD. Although both experience difficulties in reading comprehension compared to decoding skills, they have never been compared directly, or to poor comprehenders without additional disorders. The aim was to analyze whether poor comprehension in the three populations is accounted for by the same component skills. Method: Twelve poor comprehenders with DS, 11 with ASD and 10 with TD (reading accuracy and comprehension discrepancy >6 months), matched for reading accuracy, were assessed on reading and listening comprehension (NARA), receptive vocabulary (BPVS), word and non-word reading, verbal short-term memory and phonological awareness (PA). Results: Participants with DS and ASD showed similar levels of listening and reading comprehension (p>.89) but lower than participants with TD (p<.01). Additionally, participants with DS showed poorer BPVS (p=.013) and memory compared to participants with ASD (p=.006), and poorer PA than participants with TD (p=.018). Conclusions: Despite similar decoding skills, the groups with DS and ASD had lower levels of listening comprehension than participants with TD. In line with the SVR, they also had lower levels of reading comprehension. However, results for the component skills suggest that individuals with DS and ASD may rely on different cognitive resources in processing oral and written texts.

Applying the Simple View of Reading to the “special” problem of U.S. L2 learners

First Author/Chair:Richard Sparks -- Mt. St. Joseph University

Purpose: U.S. students are a “special” type of L2 learner because they live in largely monolingual environments, do not begin L2 learning until high school, and learn to read and speak/comprehend the L2 simultaneously. Study examined development of L2 reading skills over time using the SVR model. Method: Three hundred seventy-five monolingual English high school students completed Spanish I, 345 students completed Spanish II, and 51 finished Spanish III. At the end of each year, subtests from the Woodcock-Muñoz Pruebas de Aprovechamiento, a standardized measure of Spanish, were administered: word decoding, pseudoword decoding, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, vocabulary. Students were compared to native Spanish-speakers’ norms and grouped into the four SVR reader types—Good, Mixed, Hyperlexic, Dyslexic—based on: a) Spanish word decoding and reading comprehension scores; and b) Spanish reading vs. listening comprehension scores. Results: Most students fit the Hyperlexic profile at end of Spanish I (96%), Spanish II (98%), and Spanish III (100%). A few students with poor decoding fit the Mixed profile. In each year, the typical student scored 3-4 SDs higher in Spanish word decoding than reading comprehension. Spanish reading comprehension skills were commensurate with Spanish listening comprehension skills. The primary problem with Spanish language comprehension was poor Spanish vocabulary knowledge. Conclusions: U.S. high school L2 students’ reading profiles are similar to other special populations, that is, they develop word decoding skills relatively well but have severely deficient language comprehension skills. Findings are discussed in the U. S. context in which L2 learning is highly problematic.