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Title: Reading development and cognitive change in the mid-primary years
Author: Fyfe, Ronald
ISNI:       0000 0001 3485 9946
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1979
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The absence of an accepted model of how reading develops, limits the diagnostic potential of reading assessments. Investigations rooted in the more general Piagetian model of cognitive development, while seeming to establish a relationship between attainment of conservation and reading development, have rarely specified the effects of operativity or the lack of it on reading behaviour. The few exceptions have concentrated on very limited aspects of reading or on the comprehension of unusual and unrepresentative reading content. More promising has been research into the child's conceptualisation of aspects of the reading task. The present investigation traced developments in reading strategies used in coping with four classroom reading situations. The Neale Analysis of Reading Ability-was administered to- examine re cognition'-of words in context and elementary aspects of comprehension. The words from the Neale, were presented singly on cards to assess word recognition without the use of context. Cloze passages examined the ability to use context cues. Two longitudinal samples (N=20, N=27) were followed up from P3/4 to P6 with two supplementary samples to duplicate the early stages. Changes in reading strategy with growing maturity were predicted from Piagetian and neo-Piagetian theory. The prediction that children would pass through a phase when bias in reading would be towards either word recognition or comprehension was supported but not the additional predictions that local instructional conditions would induce initial bias towards word recognition and that imbalance would be restored in the later primary years. Evidence was found to support the hypothesis that there would be progressive differentiation of word recognition strategy according to word presentation (singly or in context). Again, data supported a hypothesised increase over time in the ability to coordinate within-word and context cues in word recognition. In P 3 children in the cloze exercise tended to use only the context preceding deletions but by P4 the succeeding context was being used as well. Comprehension scores were affected by an unrestrained use of inference in answering questions, problems in handling sequences, variation in willingness to offer answers on little evidence and difficulty in answering questions about initial story settings without allowing knowledge of story outcomes to colour their responses. These features of development were derived from group analyses of data and explanation was offered in terms of the child's perception of the task with which he was confronted and the constraints on strategy of limited working memory capacity. The features detected in the group analysis were pursued further in the examination of the development of reading strategies in selected individuals. Considerable variation between and within individuals was revealed but five general patterns of development were found: comprehension- and word-recognition-led patterns when the balance between the two elements was restored by P6, two corresponding patterns where balance was not restored and a final pattern, associated with poor ultimate performance in P 6, where neither one aspect nor the other dominated at any stage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available