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A Comparison of the Instructional Backgrounds and Cognitive Profiles of Poor, Average, and Good Readers Who Were Initially Identified as at-Risk for Reading Failure

Frank Vellutino and Donna Scanlon


The kindergarten instructional programs of three groups of at-risk children were compared.  Children in all groups were judged in kindergarten to be at risk for reading difficulties on the basis of their letter-name knowledge.  The groups were partitioned on the basis of their first-grade reading performance (poor, average, and good readers).  The results indicate that children in the most successful reader group came from kindergarten classrooms in which more time was spent on phoneme awareness, spelling, and writing activities.  The average and poor reader groups did not differ from one another on these characteristics.  These latter groups did, however, differ in cognitive abilities based on that were administered in kindergarten, including measures of letter-name knowledge and verbal memory. The average reader group did not differ from the good reader group on any of the cognitive measures.  The implications of these findings for classroom instruction are discussed in the paper.

* Scientific Studies of Reading, 1(3), pp. 191-215.

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