Examining the effects of Simplicity Principle and Structured Word Inquiry Interventions on the reading and spelling ability of Grade 3 poor readers

Examining the effects of Simplicity Principle and Structured Word Inquiry Interventions on the reading and spelling ability of Grade 3 poor readers

First Author: George Georgiou -- University of Alberta
Additional authors/chairs: 
Robert Savage; Kristy Dunn; Peter Bowers; Rauno Parrila
Keywords: Intervention, Reading Ability, Spelling, Grade 3, Grapheme-phoneme correspondences
Abstract / Summary: 

◦ Purpose: We examined the effects of two intervention approaches (Simplicity Principle and Structured Word Inquiry) on the reading and spelling ability of Grade 3 poor readers.

◦ Method: 48 English-speaking children with reading difficulties were randomly assigned to three conditions: Simplicity Principle (SP), Structure Word Inquiry (SWI), and No Intervention (Control). Interventions were delivered over 10 weeks (3 times a week for 30 minutes each time) by trained graduate students. Children were tested three times (pre-test, post-test, and delayed post-test) on measures of phonological awareness, morphological awareness, reading (word reading, word attack, morphological relatedness), and spelling (exception words).

◦ Results: HLM models were run with school-level variance at pre-test serving as a level 2 covariate with a fixed condition effect (SP vs. SWI vs. Control), and with intercept and school as random effects. In addition to main effects, we modelled interaction effects for pre-test phonological awareness and morphological awareness. Results showed a significant main effect of condition for Morphological Relatedness favoring SWI and Simplicity over controls (p = .025) and a trend for the same measure at delayed post-test (this time favoring SWI over controls and SP, p = .051). Effect sizes (Cohen's d) showed large effects for both interventions compared to controls on word reading, and larger effects than controls on 2 of 3 outcome measures.

◦ Conclusions: These findings suggest that an intervention that focuses on teaching the structure of English orthography (SWI) can be as effective as a phonics program. Both programs improve morphological relatedness.