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Predictive Indicators of Reading Skills in Three- and Four-Year-Old Children

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041599/00001

Material Information

Title: Predictive Indicators of Reading Skills in Three- and Four-Year-Old Children
Physical Description: 1 online resource (151 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Eidson, Sue
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: awareness, characteristics, children, disabilities, dyslexia, emergent, four, indicators, language, literacy, memory, olds, phonological, phonology, predictive, preschool, preschoolers, reading, screening, sequential, short, skills, term, three, working, writing, year
Communication Sciences and Disorders -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Communication Sciences and Disorders thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors in three-four-year-olds that predict language and literacy skills at the earliest stages of reading acquisition. It has already been established that several phonological (i.e., rhyme) and nonphonological (i.e., syntax) skills in kindergarteners predict later reading abilities (Badian, 1994, 2000; Catts, 1997; Scarborough & Dobrich, 1990). The main question addressed was Do similar behaviors predict literacy in young children? Few studies have examined predictive skills in children younger than five years of age. This major question was approached by studying longitudinal behaviors of 38 children on tasks that are normally distributed at three years and four years of age relative to their performance on the Assessment of Language and Literacy (ALL; Lombardino, Lieberman, Brown, 2005). Results of the study showed that the best predictors of the ALL Language Index score from exploratory tasks administered to the three year olds included Rhyme Judgment (B= .394; t= 2.27; p= .031) and Segmentation (B = .447; t= 2.06; p = .050) when a forced entry procedure was utilized in the analysis. When all highly related correlations were removed from the analysis, the tasks that best predicted the ALL Language Index score at age four included Visual Short-Term Memory (B = .487; t= 3.341; p =.002), Rhyme Knowledge (B = .352; t= 2.595; p =.015) and Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .255; t= 1.907; p =.067) which was a moderate predictor. At age three, the best predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score included Letter Identification (B = .516; t= 2.54 p = .017) and Rhyme Judgment (B = .270; t= 1.99 p = .056). At four years of age, the best predictors in this area were Rhyme Knowledge (B = .512; t= 4.123 p = .000), Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .394; t= 3.288; p = .003) and Segmentation (B = .303; t= 2.128; p =.042). These findings are in agreement with other literature (Jorm,1983; Case, 1989; Gathercole, et al., 2004; de Jong,1998; Swanson, et al., 2009; Baddeley,2000; Gathercole & Baddeley,1989) that shows the contribution of working memory phonological awareness (Adams, 1990; Goswami & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000; Scarborough, 1998) to the development of literacy. Findings from this study indicate that short-term memory, sequential memory visual short-term memory and working memory should be studied further as potential predictors. They should be considered as potentially valuable constructs in the early identification of reading disabilities underlying well-known and validated predictors.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Sue Eidson.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Lombardino, Linda J.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041599:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041599/00001

Material Information

Title: Predictive Indicators of Reading Skills in Three- and Four-Year-Old Children
Physical Description: 1 online resource (151 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Eidson, Sue
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: awareness, characteristics, children, disabilities, dyslexia, emergent, four, indicators, language, literacy, memory, olds, phonological, phonology, predictive, preschool, preschoolers, reading, screening, sequential, short, skills, term, three, working, writing, year
Communication Sciences and Disorders -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Communication Sciences and Disorders thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors in three-four-year-olds that predict language and literacy skills at the earliest stages of reading acquisition. It has already been established that several phonological (i.e., rhyme) and nonphonological (i.e., syntax) skills in kindergarteners predict later reading abilities (Badian, 1994, 2000; Catts, 1997; Scarborough & Dobrich, 1990). The main question addressed was Do similar behaviors predict literacy in young children? Few studies have examined predictive skills in children younger than five years of age. This major question was approached by studying longitudinal behaviors of 38 children on tasks that are normally distributed at three years and four years of age relative to their performance on the Assessment of Language and Literacy (ALL; Lombardino, Lieberman, Brown, 2005). Results of the study showed that the best predictors of the ALL Language Index score from exploratory tasks administered to the three year olds included Rhyme Judgment (B= .394; t= 2.27; p= .031) and Segmentation (B = .447; t= 2.06; p = .050) when a forced entry procedure was utilized in the analysis. When all highly related correlations were removed from the analysis, the tasks that best predicted the ALL Language Index score at age four included Visual Short-Term Memory (B = .487; t= 3.341; p =.002), Rhyme Knowledge (B = .352; t= 2.595; p =.015) and Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .255; t= 1.907; p =.067) which was a moderate predictor. At age three, the best predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score included Letter Identification (B = .516; t= 2.54 p = .017) and Rhyme Judgment (B = .270; t= 1.99 p = .056). At four years of age, the best predictors in this area were Rhyme Knowledge (B = .512; t= 4.123 p = .000), Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .394; t= 3.288; p = .003) and Segmentation (B = .303; t= 2.128; p =.042). These findings are in agreement with other literature (Jorm,1983; Case, 1989; Gathercole, et al., 2004; de Jong,1998; Swanson, et al., 2009; Baddeley,2000; Gathercole & Baddeley,1989) that shows the contribution of working memory phonological awareness (Adams, 1990; Goswami & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000; Scarborough, 1998) to the development of literacy. Findings from this study indicate that short-term memory, sequential memory visual short-term memory and working memory should be studied further as potential predictors. They should be considered as potentially valuable constructs in the early identification of reading disabilities underlying well-known and validated predictors.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Sue Eidson.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Lombardino, Linda J.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041599:00001


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PREDICTIVE INDICATORS OF READING SKILLS IN THREE-AND FOUR-YEAR-OLD
CHILDREN


















By

SUE ANN EIDSON


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010































2010 Sue Ann Eidson































In memory of my mother, Elsie Mae Eidson









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my father, George T. Eidson, Jr., who has instilled in me a love of learning

throughout life and who has been supportive in all my goals. I also thank my loving

daughter, Analisa, for her support and love, which have helped me through the past five

years. She is a strong individual and has helped in making me a stronger and more

positive academic. I also want to thank my extended family for their understanding and

support throughout this life change. I could not have done this with out ALL of my family,

friends and peers!

I wish to express my deepest thanks to Dr. Linda J. Lombardino, who guided me in

the selection of my dissertation topic and then provided me with steady encouragement

and wisdom throughout the long process of completing my paper. Without her patience

and constructive criticism, I would not have been able to achieve this goal.

I also wish to thank my committee members for their support as well. Dr. Altmann

unselfishly gave me ideas about my statistical methods and how to write them clearly

and concisely. She also reminded me often of the word, "FOCUS"!! This was a

longitudinal study in which many statistical analyses and designs were utilized with her

and Dr. Lombardino's guidance. Dr. Bridget Franks was key in teaching me the

cognitive and psychological growth that a child undergoes when learning to read. She

was wonderful in sparking my imagination and interest in the neuropsychology of

reading and writing development. Dr. Kenneth Logan was so kind to come forward and

become a committee member when I needed him most and I will always appreciate his

kindness and support throughout the writing process of my dissertation and my years

here at the University of Florida.









Finally, I would like to publicly thank all of my tried and true friends who served as

my inspiration for picking myself up when things were not going as well as I had thought

they should be. They supported and believed in me by supplying me with friendly

nudges to move forward when I needed it. My friends have always heard the song in my

heart, and sang it to me when my memory failed.

I also thank the God of my understanding for testing my faith and showing me that

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W LE D G M E N TS .......... .................... ...................................................................... 4

LIST OF TABLES ........................ ...................... ........ 8

L IS T O F F IG U R E S ............................................................................................ 9

L IS T O F A B B R E V IA T IO N S ........................................................ .......................................... 10

A B S T R A C T ........................ .................. .............................................................. ................... 1 2

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION AND REVIEWOF LITERATURE................................................... 14

In tro d u ctio n ......... .. ...... ....................................................................... .......... ...... 1 4
Review of the Literature ................... ...... .. ..... ............................... ........... 17
Cognitive Predictors of Early Reading and Spelling Ability................................. 17
Phonological aw areness ............................ ..... ......................................... 17
Orthographic awareness......................... ... ................. 22
Em ergent w writing ......... .......... ...... .................. .. ............ .... .. 23
Language skills .. ............. ................................................... ...................... 27
Rapid autom atized nam ing ......... ..... ................ .. ......... 29
Fine m oto r functioning ............... .................. .... .... ............. .. 30
M e m o ry ...................................................... ......... 3 0
E nvironm ental Factors .......................................................................................... 33
Improving Screening for Risk of Early Reading Failure................. ......................34
S tatem e nt of the P roble m ...................... ......... ..................................... ............... 36

2 M E T H O D S ......... ............ ....................................................................................... 38

P a rticipa nts ......... ............ ....................................................................................... 3 9
Pilot Study ..... .................................... ........ 40
Task Development ............. ............... .................41
Final Experimental Battery ............... .................................. 47
P hono log ica l A w a reness ............................................................ ............ .....48
S e g m e nta tio n ............................................................................................. 4 9
O rtho g ra p hic A w a re ne ss ........................ .................................................................. 5 0
M em ory........................... ...................... 54
F ine M oto r F u nctio ning ......... ........... .................................................... .... ... 56
L a n g u a g e ................. ..... .. ............. .. ................................................... 5 6
Rapid Automatic Naming ............................................. 57
Data Collection Procedures: ..... .......... ......... ............ 58
D ata R e d uctio n ......... ................................................................................................ 5 8



6









3 RESULTS ........... ............... ....................................... 67

Testing for N orm a lity of S cores ..................... ...... ..................................................... 67
Subtests with Normal Distribution at Each Age Level............... .................. ......... 69
Comparisons of Performance of Three- and Four-year-olds on Tasks Meeting
N orm a lity at B oth A ge Levels .......................... ................ ....... ... ........ .............. 70
Predictors of ALL Literacy and Language Scores at Three Years............................ 71
Predictors of ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Scores at Age Four................. 72
C orre nations ............. ............ ............................ .......................... 74
Sum m ary of Results ............... ...... .. ............................. ...... .... 74

4 D ISC USS IO N .............. ...... ................................................... 90

What do We Know About Predictors? .... ................................................................. ...90
Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores.............. ......................... 93
Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores for Both Three- and Four-year-olds .......... 97
Predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index Scores....... ........ 98
Appropriate Screening Tasks for Both Age Levels................................................... 102
Lim stations and W weaknesses ......... ................. ................................... ................. 103
F future R e sea rc h ................................................. .. .............. ............... .. ........ ... 10 3

APPENDIX

A LETTER TO PARENTS ........... ....... ...... ................ ............105

B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 2006-2007................. ................ 106

C INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 2008-2009.............. ................ 110

D C LIE N T Q U ES T IO N NA R E .............................. ......... .......................... ................. 114

E RUBRIC FOR GRADING COPYING AND WRITING............................................118

F EXPERIMENTAL TASKS PROTOCOL I ...................................... 19

L IS T O F R E F E R E N C E S ......... .... .......................................... ........................................ 13 8

B IO G RA P H IC A L S K ETC H ........... .... ........... ................................ ............................. 151









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2 -1 T asks fo r three-yea r-o lds ......... ............................................................................... 6 0

2-2 Experimental tasks given at three years of age administered to the same
students at four years of age with......... ..... ............ ................... .... 65

3-1 Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measured at Three Years of Age (N = 38) ........ 77

3-2 Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measured at Four Years of Age (N = 38)............ 79

3-3 Status of tasks for meeting skewness and kurtosis values for being normally
distributed in three- and 4-year-old data.... ........................ .. ............... 81

3-4 Comparison of mean differences of normally distributed subtests at ages 3
and 4 .......... .... ...... .............................. 82

3-5 Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy with 3-year-olds (N=
38) Forced E ntry P procedure ......... ................................................... ................. 83

3-6 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 3 Years N=
38) w without highly correlated tasks ........................................................................ 83

3-7 Forced Entry Regression for 3-year-old performance on the ALL Language
Index score (N = 38) ........... ....... .. ... ...... .... .... .... ..................... 84

3-8 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 3 Years (N = 38)
without highly correlated tasks ........ ................ .. ..................... 85

3-9 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 years (N
= 38); Forced E ntry P roced ure ......... ................. ................................ .... ................. 85

3-10 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 Years (N
= 38); w without highly correlated tasks............................................. ....................... 86

3-11 Forced Entry Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 4 years (N=38)... 86

3-12 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at Four Years (N = 38)
w itho ut hig h ly co rre la ted ta sks ......... ................. ................................ .... ................. 87

3-13 Correlations for three-year-olds with normal distribution .................................. 88

3-14 Significant correlations for 4-year-olds ................................................................. 89

4-1 Significant predictors of the A LL. ................... ...... .........................................104









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

F-1 42 month old writing sample of her trip to disney world.................................. 132

F-2 Undifferentiated writing; writing of child's name and story (38 month old)..........132

F-3 Undifferentiated writing sample; story writing (36 months).................................. 133

F-4 47. m month old w writing sam ple .......................... .............................. ................. 134

F-5 Sam e child at 4.1 1 ....... .. .............................. ............ .... ...... ............ 135

F-6 46 m month old writing sam ple ....................................................... .................136

F-7 Same child writing sample at 4.10 ..................... .................. 137











RM

RJ

RK

SEG

Copy

ABCs

WLNM

NLNM

SW

SEQM

DWSFWD


DWSBKD

VisSTM

SEQM2min


SEQM5min


AA

LD

LI

FTDIF

FTND IF

Pincdom

Pincerndom


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

Rhyme Memory

Rhyme Judgment

Rhyme Knowledge

Segmentation of words in sentences

Copying figures and letters at close proximity

Writing ABCs to the best of the child's ability

Writing letters in their name

Naming letters in their name after writing them

Story Writing

Sequential Memory untimed

Digit word span forward; repetition of spans of digits and words
presented orally

Digit word span backward (working memory task)

Visual short-term memory

repetition of a sequence of pictures, forms, or digits after a two-
minute delay

repetition of a sequence of pictures, forms, or digits after a five-
minute delay

Alphabetic Awareness

Letter Discrimination

Letter Identification

Finger tapping with index finger of dominant hand

Finger tapping with index finger of nondominant hand

Pincer tapping with thumb and index finger of dominant hand

Pincer tapping with thumb and index finger of nondominant hand









LC Language Comprehension

LE Language Expression

RAN8 Rapid Automatic Naming; the time it takes for a child to name a
matrix of eight pictures

RAN12 Rapid Automatic Naming; the time it takes for a child to name a
matrix of twelve pictures

1 Whenever a task is followed by a one (RM1), the results are from
Year 1 or when the child was age 3

2 Whenever a task is followed by a two (RM2), the results are from
Year 2 or when the child was age 4

EFA Exploratory Factor Analysis









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

PREDICTIVE INDICATORS OF READING SKILLS IN THREE-AND FOUR-YEAR-OLD
CHILDREN

By

Sue Ann Eidson

August 2010

Chair: Linda J. Lombardino
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders

The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors in three-four-year-olds that

predict language and literacy skills at the earliest stages of reading acquisition. It has

already been established that several phonological (i.e., rhyme) and nonphonological

(i.e., syntax) skills in kindergarteners predict later reading abilities (Badian, 1994, 2000;

Catts, 1997; Scarborough & Dobrich, 1990). The main question addressed was "Do

similar behaviors predict literacy in young children?" Few studies have examined

predictive skills in children younger than five years of age. This major question was

approached by studying longitudinal behaviors of 38 children on tasks that are normally

distributed at three years and four years of age relative to their performance on the

Assessment of Language and Literacy (ALL; Lombardino, Lieberman, Brown, 2005).

Results of the study showed that the best predictors of the ALL Language Index

score from exploratory tasks administered to the three-year-olds included Rhyme

Judgment (B= .394; t= 2.27; p= .031) and Segmentation (B = .447; t= 2.06; p = .050)

when a forced entry procedure was utilized in the analysis. When all highly related

correlations were removed from the analysis, the tasks that best predicted the ALL

Language Index score at age four included Visual Short-Term Memory (B = .487; t=









3.341; p =.002), Rhyme Knowledge (B = .352; t= 2.595; p =.015) and Digit-Word Span

Backward (B = .255; t= 1.907; p =.067) which was a moderate predictor.

At age three, the best predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score

included Letter Identification (B = .516; t= 2.54 p = .017) and Rhyme Judgment (B =

.270; t= 1.99 p = .056). At four years of age, the best predictors in this area were Rhyme

Knowledge (B = .512; t= 4.123 p = .000), Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .394; t=

3.288; p = .003) and Segmentation (B = .303; t= 2.128; p =.042). These findings are in

agreement with other literature (Jorm,1983; Case, 1989; Gathercole, et al., 2004; de

Jong,1998; Swanson, et al., 2009; Baddeley,2000; Gathercole & Baddeley,1989) that

shows the contribution of working memory phonological awareness (Adams, 1990;

Goswami & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000; Scarborough, 1998) to the

development of literacy.

Findings from this study indicate that short-term memory, sequential memory

visual short-term memory and working memory should be studied further as potential

predictors. They should be considered as potentially valuable constructs in the early

identification of reading disabilities underlying well-known and validated predictors.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Introduction

Reading disability is the primary deficit in 80% of all learning disabilities (Lyon, B.

Shaywitz, S. and Shaywitz, B., 2003). The National Assessment of Educational

Progress (NAEP, 1998) reported that 69% of fourth graders and 67% of eighth graders

were reading below proficiency levels. Thirty-eight percent of the fourth graders had not

achieved even basic or fundamental skills in reading. In 1998, the Committee on

Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children of the National Research Council

resolved, "the educational careers of 25-40% of American children are imperiled

because they don't read well enough, quickly enough, or easily enough." (Shaywitz,

2003, p. 30).

While reading disabilities are associated with both environmental and biological

factors (Bowey, 2005), poverty is associated with the vast majority of children who are

at risk for reading failure (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). In numerous studies, both

cognitive (intrinsic factors in the child) and non-cognitive (extrinsic factors) variables

associated with reading achievement have been identified (Whitehurst & Lonigan,

1998). The cognitive factors that best predict reading skill are: phonological awareness,

letter knowledge, verbal memory, naming, and overall language development. The non-

cognitive factors that best predict reading skill are socioeconomic status and home

literacy experiences (Badian, 2000).

Identifying and remediating weak foundational skills in children at the earliest

stages of schooling is the best approach to preventing reading disabilities. Knowledge

of word meanings, concepts of print, phonological awareness, and alphabetic









knowledge provide the foundation for the early stages of learning to read (Whitehurst &

Lonigan, 1998; Bowey, 2005; Adams, 2000). These foundational skills are usually

developed during the first five years of life. Emergent literacy is described as the rapid

period of growth in language acquisition prior to the beginning of formal literacy

instruction in kindergarten (Sulzby & Teale, 1991; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998;

Lonigan, Burgess, & Anthony, 2000). The development of preliteracy knowledge

precedes the more explicit literacy instruction provided in the first grade. Many children

enter kindergarten without the prerequisite skills needed to learn to read (Scarborough,

1989; Dickinson & Snow, 1987; Duncan & Brooks-Gunn, 1997; Vernon-Feagans, et al.,

2001; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998) placing them at risk for meeting the rigorous

demands of formal reading and writing instruction.

The development of screening instruments such as the Dyslexia Early Screening

Test (Nicolson & Fawcett, 1996), the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening-

Kindergarten (Invernizzi, Meier, Swank, & Juel, 1999) and the PreK edition (Invernizzi,

Sullivan, & Meier, 2001), the Test of Early Reading Ability (Reid, Hresko, & Hammill,

1989) and the Preschool Word and Print Awareness Assessment (Justice & Ezell,

2002) have constituted a significant step forward in the systematic early identification

and management of children at risk of reading problems. Currently, we can predict

which children are "at risk" for later reading disabilities at five years of age but we have

very few reliable methods of making this prediction in younger children (Whitehurst &

Lonigan, 1998; Scarborough, 2001).

There are many advantages for early identification of reading failure. Children who

are identified as being at risk for reading failure at ages three-four years of age have far









less educational ground to make up than those identified in elementary school.

Furthermore, the test profile of a preschool child should yield more reliable and precise

results than one obtained from an older child whose test performance may have

become conflated by extrinsic factors such as different teaching methods or intrinsic

factors such as motivation (Muter, 2000).

Teachers working with younger children often report that it is easier to work with

younger children who have not established bad habits that must be unlearned before

learning more effective strategies than with children who are failing to keep pace with

their peers and experience excessive frustration and feelings of failure. In addition,

recent research demonstrates a substantial link between early reading failure and later

social adjustment problems or delinquent behaviors (Maughan, 1994, 1995).

Finally, early identification has economic advantages. Implementing a two to three

times weekly teaching program over a one-year period for a 6-year-old is more

economical than having to provide long-term daily assistance to a 10-year-old who is

years behind his/her peers in reading ability (Muter, 2000). The literature in language

and literacy development unequivocally and overwhelmingly supports the benefits of

early identification and instruction.

The long-term goal of this research is to develop a screening instrument to aide

preschool teachers in identifying students who are at risk for deficits in emergent literacy

development. Toward this end, the immediate goal of this study is to identify tasks that

will serve to predict which preschool children are at risk for later language and literacy

deficits. This goal is addressed by: 1) developing tasks that are appropriate for normally

developing three-year-olds and 2) determining the predictive value of these tasks in









identifying the three-year-old children's language and literacy abilities on standardized

test measures one year later.

Review of the Literature

This section addresses topics that have shown empirically to support the

development of early literacy. These topics are: phonological awareness; orthographic

knowledge/awareness; oral/receptive language skills; rapid automatic naming;

emergent writing skills (story writing and name knowledge); fine motor functioning;

memory (short term memory, sequential memory (immediate and delayed), and

environmental factors.

Cognitive Predictors of Early Reading and Spelling Ability

Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness is the awareness of the sound structure of language in

general (Yopp, 2000). Phonological awareness is the skill of knowing that oral language

has a structure that is separate from meaning. Phonological awareness is attending to

the structure within words. For example, a student with phonologic awareness

understands "beg" has one-syllable and three phonemes; "egg" has one-syllable and

two phonemes.

Phonological awareness includes the awareness of larger units of sound as well

as phonemes, such as syllables and onsets and rimes. It is the ability to generate and

recognize rhyming words, to count syllables, to separate the beginning of a word from

it's ending, and to identify each of the phonemes in a word (Treiman & Zukowsay,

1991). There is a considerable amount of evidence suggesting that phonological

awareness is one of the most important predictors of learning to read in young children.

Children with good early phonological awareness go on to show good reading skills









(Bryant, Maclean & Bradley, 1990; Wagner & Torgesen, 1987); children with poor

reading skills normally show concomitant weak phonological awareness (Bradley &

Bryant, 1978; Snowling, 1981; Swan & Goswami, 1997), and training in phonological

awareness can improve reading progress (Bradley & Bryant, 1978; Hatcher, Hulme, &

Ellis, 1994; Troia, 1999).

More recently, studies have led researchers to conclude that it is awareness of

phonemes, rather than of larger segments such as rimes and syllables, that is most

closely predictive of learning to read (Hulme, Hatcher, Nation, Brown, Adams & Stuart,

2002; MacMillan, 2002; Muter, Hulme, Snowling, & Taylor, 1998).

Phonemic awareness (PA) is the abilityto recognize that a spoken word is

composed of a sequence of individual sounds (phonemes). Children who are unaware

that words consist of individual sounds will have difficulty in decoding text. Cunningham

(2000) defines phonemic awareness as the ability to examine language independently

of meaning and to manipulate its component sounds. Phonological awareness enables

children to use letter-sound correspondences to read and spell words.

Next to knowledge of letters, phonemic awareness is a good predictor of

children's' first-year reading achievement. Both knowledge of letters and PA, have been

found to bear a strong and direct relationship to success and ease of reading

acquisition. This awareness is acquired gradually through experiences with spoken and

written language. Due to more recent studies concluding that phoneme awareness is

the form of phonological awareness most closely related to reading, determining how

phoneme awareness develops is important to discuss. If phoneme awareness is not

developing in a prereading child (Bryant, Maclean, Bradley, & Crossland, 1990; Fox&









Routh, 1974), the skill should develop rapidly once they begin formal school training

(Duncan, Seymour, & Hill, 1997). Some researchers (Goswami & Bryant, 1990; Treiman

& Zukowski, 1991) have suggested that awareness of larger phonological segments

(i.e., syllables and rimes) is an important precursor to phoneme awareness. Goswami

and Bryant (1990) concluded that awareness of syllables and rimes develops 'naturally'

in the preschool years, while phoneme awareness develops out of this awareness once

children begin to learn to read. There is a good basis of evidence suggesting a

reciprocal relationship between the development of reading and phoneme awareness,

as described by Goswami and Bryant (1990). Gombert (1992) suggested that learning

to read forces children to move from epilinguistic phonological awareness (or global

sensitivity to sound similarity), to metalinguistic phonological awareness (or explicit

awareness of sound segments). In support of this view, studies examining the

phonological awareness of prereaders (Liberman, Schankweiler, Fischer, & Carter,

1974) and illiterate adults (Morais, Cary, Alegria, & Bertelson, 1979) have shown that

reading seems to play a role in the development of explicit phonemic awareness. More

specifically, learning letters seems to be the element of reading that is causally related

to phoneme awareness. A further study (Read, Zhang, Nie, & Ding, 1986) showed that

the development of explicit phonemic awareness was limited to languages with an

alphabetic writing system concluding that learning of letters plays a central role in the

development of phonemic awareness.

Phonological Awareness encompasses larger units of sound as well as

phonemes, such as syllables and onsets and rimes. It is the ability to generate and

recognize rhyming words, to count syllables, to separate the beginning of a word from









its ending, and to identify each of the phonemes in a word. Cunningham (2000) defines

phonological awareness as the ability to examine language independently of meaning

and to manipulate its component sounds. Phonological awareness enables children to

use letter-sound correspondences to read and spell words.


Many studies have demonstrated that individual differences in children's sensitivity

to speech sounds within words are casually related to the normal acquisition of

beginning reading skill. Adams (1990) suggested four types of phonological tasks that

successfully predict reading skill: 1) rhyming tasks that include knowledge of nursery

rhymes and identification of the non-rhyming stimuli in a sequence of three or four

words, 2) syllable and phoneme segmentation tasks in which the child taps, counts out,

or identifies syllables and/or phonemes within words, 3) sound blending tasks in which

the examiner provides the phonemes of a word and the child is asked to put them

together, and 4) phoneme manipulation tasks in which require the child is required to

delete, add, substitute, or transpose phonemes within words.

Some phonological awareness tasks are demonstrated in children as young as

two and three years of age (e.g., syllable blending, syllable segmentation, and a few

types of rhyming skill), but they are not necessarily stable abilities at these young ages.

Other skills emerge later in reading development and may depend on exposure to print

and explicit reading instruction (e.g., phoneme segmentation and manipulation tasks).

Phonological sensitivity becomes increasingly stable during the preschool years

(Lonigan et al., 1998) and phonological processing abilities are remarkably stable during

the primary school years (Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 1994; Wagner et al., 1997;

Lonigan et al, 1998; Muter & Snowling, 1998).









Adams (1990) suggested four types of phonological tasks that reliably predict

reading skill: 1) rhyming tasks that include knowledge of nursery rhymes and

identification of the non-rhyming word in a sequence of three or four words, 2) syllable

and phoneme segmentation tasks that the child taps, counts out, or identifies syllables

and/or phonemes within words, 3) sound blending tasks where the examiner provides

the phonemes of a word and the child is asked to put them together, and 4) phoneme

manipulation tasks that require the child to delete, add, substitute, or transpose

phonemes within words. Some phonological awareness tasks are demonstrated in

children as young as two and three years (e.g., syllable blending, syllable segmentation,

and some aspects of rhyming skill), but they are not necessarily stable abilities at that

age (McGuinness, 2005).

Other reading skills emerge later in development and depend on exposure to print

and explicit reading instruction (e.g., phoneme segmentation and manipulation tasks)

(McGuinness, 2005). Phonological sensitivity becomes increasingly stable during the

preschool years (Lonigan et al., 1998) and phonological processing abilities are stable

during the primary school years (Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 1994; Wagner etal.,

1997; Lonigan et al, 1998; Muter & Snowling, 1998).

Muter, Snowling, and Taylor (1994) proposed that segmentation (a phonological

processing task) may be a more influential phonological skill in the beginning stages of

learning to read than rhyming. Muter et al. (1998) studied pre-reading children and

found that sound segmentation was strongly correlated with reading and spelling skills

at the end of the first year of learning to read, while rhyming was not. By the end of the

second year, rhyming had begun to have a predictive effect on spelling. Berninger









(1992) reported that the task of segmentation of phonemes in words was a significant

precursor to later word decoding.

Two strong positions exist regarding the developmental course and the precursors

of phoneme awareness in the process of alphabetic reading acquisition. One theory

claims that phoneme awareness develops as a consequence of experience with print

(Morias, Bertelson, Cary, Alegria, 1986). The other theory states that phoneme

awareness is contingent upon awareness of larger sub lexical units and is a precursor to

alphabetic literacy (Bryant, MacLean, Bradley, & Crossland, 1990). They proposed that

additional factors, namely the phonology and orthography experiences to which a child

is exposed, must be taken into consideration if the development and role of phoneme

awareness in reading acquisition is to be more fully understood by preschoolers.

Orthographic awareness

The orthographic system deals with the form of letters and the spelling patterns

within words. Orthographic awareness is what the child sees in the written word and

remembers. It requires visual perception and is a widely accepted and acknowledged

fact that a child's knowledge of the alphabet at the beginning of formal school instruction

is one of the best predictors of later achievement in reading and spelling skill (Adams,

1990; Bond & Dykstra, 1967; Chall, 1967; Cunningham, Perry, & Stanovich, 2001). A

beginning reader who is unable to recognize and distinguish individual letters of the

alphabet will surely have difficulty learning those letters represented in words (Mason,

1990). In the early stages of learning to read and write, young children are creating

relationships between the orthographic representations of words and their phonological

makeup. The creation of such relationships depends upon knowledge of the phonetic

characteristics of the sounds for which letters represent (Ehri, 1992; Rack et al., 1994).









Byrne et al. (1997) found that letter knowledge accounted for more variance in a

decoding task in preschool and kindergarten children than did a measure of phonemic

awareness. Hulme, Muter, and Snowling (1998) suggested that letter knowledge skill on

entry to school was the best single predictor of word recognition one year later.

Similarly, (Muter et al., 1998; Justice, 2001) found that letter skill predicted both reading

and spelling during the first year at school. Orthographic awareness refers to the child's

ability to form a mental representation of the appearance of a letter or word. In addition,

orthographic awareness helps preschoolers become aware of the common spelling

patterns that exist in a language (Hulme, Muter, and Snowling, 1998; Perry & Stanovich,

2001).

Emergent writing

Emergent writing is characterized by a child's practice of pretending to write a

story, the ABCs, or his or her own name, before formal instruction by their caretakers or

teachers. After his analysis of the development of print literacy in four-year-old children,

Mason (1980) concluded that children begin to use print as a communication tool to

recite the alphabet and to become familiar with letters and words found in print. Stuart

(1995) proposed that the development of these skills during the preschool period is an

important predictor of later reading achievement.

During the period of emergent literacy, children develop expectations that certain

types of intonations and wording are used with books and other written materials as

their caretakers read to them. Those who are read to frequently and enjoy this activity

begin to recite key phrases or longer stretches of words specific to certain books. (i.e.,

"Do you like my party hat? No, I do not like your party hat. Goodbye! Goodbye!" from

"Go Dog Go" by P. D. Eastman (1961).









Between the ages of three and four, children exhibit significant growth in literacy,

as they experiment with writing by forming scribbles, random strings of letters or letter-

like forms. Many older preschoolers will begin to recognize distinguishable sounds

within words read to them. Some four-year-olds use distinguishable sounds in their

writing by beginning to use invented spelling with initial consonants (Committee on the

Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, 1998).

Tests that were reviewed before developing the experimental task of Copying

were The Process Assessment of the Learner: Test Battery for Reading and Writing-

Screening Battery for Grades K 2 (PAL-RW) (Berninger, 2001) and the Dyslexia

Screening Test (DST) (Fawsett & Nicolson, 1996) whereby 6.6-16.6 year-olds copied as

many words from a writing passage as possible in one minute. Berninger's Alphabet

Writing and Copying domains required prekindergarten to second graders to print an

ordered set of alphabet letters within a 15-second time limit. The Copying subtest of the

PAL-RW required kindergarteners through fifth graders to copy as many letters in a

given sentence within twenty seconds.

Early name writing may represent a child's first step in using printed symbols for

meaning. A study by Haney, Bissonnette & Gehnken (2003) investigated the

relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in kindergarten students. A

measure of name writing proficiency was developed ("Name Writing Scale"). Results

revealed that name writing was significantly correlated with word and non-word

identification. No significant gender differences were found on the measure of name

writing. They stressed the inclusion of name writing assessments in early screening

batteries for students at risk for reading difficulties, and to address the hypothesis that









name writing skills may reflect an understanding of the alphabetic principle. Early name

writing may represent a child's first step in using printed symbols for meaning. This

study investigated the relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in

kindergarten students.

Vygotsky (1962) proposed that the awareness of names signifies the point at

which language and thought come together to form the basis of intellect. Like

developmental milestones in emotion and cognition, name writing follows a predictable

developmental course potentially useful in screening for those with some types of

developmental delays. By age three, children spontaneously produce scribbles that are

distinctly different when attempting to draw from those made when attempting to print

(Brenneman, Massey, Machado, & Gelman, 1996; Deford, 1980). Children learn to write

in a predictable pattern including circular scribbles, linear continuous scribbles, letter-

like symbols, and finally actual letters. Clay (1982) described the developmental

process of learning to write which involves trial and error and hypothesis testing

becoming more complex with age, as opposed to a rote process of copying models of

print.

In addition to being the earliest attempt at print and following a predictable

developmental course, name writing is arguably the initial, meaningful print in a young

child's environment. One's own printed name is an extremely meaningful piece of text

that young children are likely to see in print and be encouraged to learn more words

(Clay, 1982).

During children's initial stages of emergent writing, preschoolers use writing to

translate spoken utterances into indistinct, linear, and discontinuous graphic patterns









that resemble the general aspect of print they observe in their environment. What

children imitate from the environment serves as a guide to work out constraints on

interpretability (Tolchinsky & Teberosky, 1998). For example, in order for a string of

letter-like forms to be readable, it must be of a limited number and have sufficient

variety. These constraints serve to regulate children's writing, and appear to hold true

across languages and scripts (Tolchinsky & Teberosky, 1998).

The developmental stage of formally constrained writing is characterized by the

appearance of a sufficient number and variety of letters paired to what the child is trying

to express. The child also begins to use the letters in his or her name in different

combinations to form other words (see Figure A), modify the number of marks, shapes,

and combinations of marks to distinguish one "word" from another, and interpret his or

her own text (Treiman, Sotak, & Bowman, 2001; Treiman & Kessler, 2003, Tolchinsky,

2003). At this stage of writing development, personal names play an important role. In

numerous studies and in all of the different languages that have been researched,

whenever children are required to write their own name along with other words or

sentences, the child's name always shows a higher level of development than other

areas being assessed. This is true for superordinate features and conventional letters

(Chan, 1990; Tolchinsky-Landsmann & Levin, 1987). Personal names constitute the first

clearly meaningful text, as names are not forgotten or unchanged in pronunciation

(Treiman & Kessler, 2005). Although children may acquire the shapes of letters from

other words they have learned, most frequently their own names are the source and

point of reference for early letter writing (Brennemann, et al., 1996; Prouin, & Harmon,

2009; Treiman & Kessler, 2005). (See Figures B & C)









In the next stage of writing development, writing becomes a system in which

written marks represent the sound of words rather than the meaning of words

(phonetization) (Tolchinsky, 2003; Treiman & Bourassa, 2000) During this stage,

children become increasingly aware that writing is related to language. At this stage

something said (a word or sentence) has a relationship with a graphic pattern. A pair of

writing samples from the age of three to four of the same child is illustrated at this stage.

(See Figures D and E)

In the following stage, children discover the alphabetic principle, that phonemes

represent letters (whenever a particular phoneme occurs in a word, and in whatever

position, it is represented by the same letter). This discovery is quickly followed by their

production of invented spelling (Ehri & Wilce, 1985; Richgels, 1995; Scott & Ehri, 1990).

Invented spelling is an attempt by beginning readers and writers to spell a word when

the standard spelling is unknown to them. They use whatever knowledge of sounds or

visual patterns they have learned to write a word. Print awareness and letter knowledge

are realized through the development of writing and invented spelling (Ehri, 1994;

Richgels, 1995; Treiman, 1985; Scott & Ehri, 1990). A child's ability to pretend to write

and learn to write their own name are initial examples of emergent writing. Because

emergent writing is considered an expressive language act among preschoolers,

emergent writing tasks (scribbling and drawing) are appropriate for assessing writing at

the preschool level (Justice, 2001).

Language skills

Prereaders exhibit a consistent relationship between phonological sensitivity and

vocabulary size. Children with larger vocabularies have more proficient phonological

sensitivity (Wagner, et al., 1997) and this relationship begins early in the preschool









period. Verbal ability has been tested instead of general cognitive knowledge to

determine the abilities that are fundamental to reading achievement (Stanovich, 1991).

Numerous researchers have established that preschool language development predicts

later reading achievement in normally developing children (Bryant, McLean, & Bradley,

1990; Lundberg, 1985). Many emergent literacy studies have shown that a young child's

vocabulary size is a strong predictor of early reading skill, specifically, phonological

sensitivity (Lonigan, et al. 1998, 2000; Wagner, et al. 1997). Earlier, Bowey (1995)

found that receptive vocabulary at the beginning of kindergarten predicted 20-27% of

the variance in first grade reading achievement.

In terms of grammatical development as a predictor of later reading and spelling

achievement, Share, et al. (1984) found that grammatical development at the beginning

of kindergarten predicted 17% of the variance on a composite reading achievement

factor by the end of first grade (N=479). Researchers also evaluated kindergartener's

abilities to correct minor grammatical errors in sentences or rearrange scrambled

sentences to form logical ones. However, as noted by Bowey (1994; 2001), judgment

tasks require semantic processing and verbal working memory skill but it is not yet clear

how different aspects of oral language development (vocabulary, grammatical and

phonological skills) contribute to reading. It is also difficult to determine the underlying

causal relationships between different concepts in this area. Baddeley, et al. (1998) and

Elbro, et al. (1998) argue that tests of language development only reflect the

contribution of underlying abilities such as phonological memory or phonological

processing ability.









Rapid automatized naming

Rapid automatized naming (RAN) tasks have been the topic of many recent

research studies investigating predictors of reading skill. Rapid naming tasks evaluate

the speed of word retrieval on serial naming tasks (Wolf, Bally, & Morris, 1986). Stimuli

utilized are usually digits, colors, or pictures of familiar objects. Thus, it is assumed that

the naming responses are over-learned and/or automatized.

RAN colors and RAN pictures in kindergarten students and school entrants predict

later reading ability (Badian, 2000; Catts, et al. 2001). RAN colors predicted 20% of

variance in second graders' word identification and 22% of variance in reading

comprehension (N=83). De Jong & Vander Lei j. (1999) found that RAN pictures at the

beginning of kindergarten predicted 13% of variance in word and nonword reading rate

at the end of the second grade. It should be noted that they studied Dutch-speaking

children and, in Dutch, a shallow orthography, children learn to read in second grade.

Felton and Brown (1990) demonstrated that rapid automatized naming predicted

reading development in the first grade. Manis, Seidenberg, & Doi (1999) suggested that

naming involves arbitrary associations between print and sound, whereas phoneme

awareness is more related to the learning of systematic spelling-sound

correspondences. They noted that, in general, learning arbitrary associations between

sounds and letters plays a central role in the development of early reading skill,

whereas knowledge of segmental phonology is relevant to later phases of learning to

read. Therefore, they concluded rapid naming is a logical predictor of beginning reading

ability.









Fine motor functioning

The language-by-hand system (writing) is unique among the language systems in

that it involves the fine motor system of the hand (Berninger & Hart, 1992). Several soft

neurological signs (handedness and fingertapping) were found to be significantly low in

children with specific reading disability (Satz, Friel & Goebel,1975). Dowering, etal.

(1981) found that dyslexic children performed deficiently on subtests of the Wechsler

Intelligence Scale for Children (Wechsler, 1995), which measured finger agnosia,

fingertapping speed and grip strength.The areas of repetition, succession, localization,

and recognition of finger movements are related significantly to written production

(Berninger & Rutberg, 1992).

The International Dyslexia Association (2000) suggested that an accurate

assessment for the diagnosis of dysgraphia (the inability to write) must include posture,

grip, position, fatigue, cramping, and tremor of the writing hand, eyed-ness, and

handedness.

Fine motor fingertapping is a measure of the child's ability to imitate and execute a

fingertapping movement and was first studied by Denckla (1973). This was the only task

assessed in this study as the pilot study showed that many of the children quit

participating if they could not perform the more difficult tasks (Satz, Rardin, & Ross,

1971; Satz et al. 1975).

Memory

Learning to read is a complex task and many researchers have tried to find the

subset of memory that is associated most with learning to read. Primarily, research has

been mostly dedicated to the correlation of verbal memory and reading skill. Memory









has been associated with several academic (i.e., reading and writing) and cognitive

areas (i.e., problem solving and inference from text).

Short-term memory, or memory span, is the ability to remember a random list of

items or numbers that have no relevance to each other. This has been the focus in the

analysis of memory skills during the past decade. However, working memory developed

from discontent with the limits of the short-term memory concept (Baddeley, 1986). His

theory was that working memory is a "place" in the brain with a vibrant quality where

operations are carried out on input from the individual's environment, or from "pure"

thought, or a combination of both. Pribram and McGuiness (1992) found that working

memory "is the sum of parallel neural processing in all parts of the brain relevant to the

task we are aware of at any one time". Since Baddeley's (1980) first proposed model of

working memory, there has been much debate and additions made to his original theory

and model.

Efficient long-term memory occurs when the brain permanently stores memories

that can be accessed and retrieved somewhat easily. Vocabulary is stored via long-term

memory, as at a very young age, words are heard then acquired and as long as the

child continues to hear the words (familiarity from daily conversations) they can easily

retrieve them out of context and use them in their expressive language development.

This leads to an obvious bias at entry to formal schooling for emergent literacy as many

preschoolers who have been raised with decreased literacy input have problems with

learning to read and write (Justice, 2001; Stanovich, 1992; Whitehurst & Lonigan,

2001).









Some of the modes of responding to memory assessment tasks are via

recognition memory (remembering with a prompt), such as a face, a spoken or printed

word, a picture, smell, or anything that brings an association or a complete experience

to mind (reading and writing), recall (to remember without a prompt or any kind of

support) and spelling (McGuinness, 2005). Responses may be written, verbal or by

pressing a switch. A short-term memory task usually involves verbatim repetition of

input heard in the exact order. Probably the most utilized type of memory test is the

intentional task, whereby the participant is told to remember what they hear or see

before assessment. Incidental learning occurs when participants are required to make

judgments about a set of words or pictures, then are surprised when they are asked to

recall them. McGuinness (2005) states that the meaningful processing involved in

incidental learning creates an increase in memory performance, as it is an example of a

"meaning to memory" task.

Phonological Memory is the ability to hold sound-based information in immediate

memory (short-term memory)-the better the child can hold sound-letter match in

memory while decoding, the more ability cognitive resources have for decoding and

comprehension. Katz, Healy, and Shankweiler (1983) documented that short-term

verbal memory was closely related to the level of reading skills for letters and words

(Brady, Shankweiler, & Mann, 1983), or sentences (Mann, Liberman, & Shankweiler,

1980).

Of the three systems of Baddeley's working memory model (central executive,

phonological loop, and visuo-spatial sketchpad (1986), the phonological loop was found

to be the most important for language and literacy learning. The phonological loop and









store plays a key role in learning the pronunciation of novel vocabulary items

(Gathercole & Baddeley,1989; Baddeley, Gathercole & Papagno,1998) and in

influencing the acquisition of syntax (Adams & Gathercole, 1995). Snowling, et al.

(1994) found a significant correlation between working memory and phonological

aware ness.

In the beginning phases of reading development, children have minimal

understanding of orthographic knowledge but excel in oral vocabulary tasks. Oral

vocabulary and metalinguistic knowledge are established predictors of emergent

literacy/reading skills and would incorporate the phonological loop and visuo-spatial

sketchpad in proper encoding and storage of words/language experienced in their

environment. An association of the visuo-spatial sketchpad and phonological loop would

also be employed later during the processing of orthographic and phonological input.

Scientific literature has documented that short-term verbal memory is closely

related to the level of reading skills for letters (Katz, Healy, & Shankweiler, 1983), words

(Brady, Shankweiler, & Mann, 1983), and sentences (Mann, Liberman, & Shankweiler,

1980). Hansen and Bowey (1994) conducted a correlational study of seven-year-olds,

whereby both phonological analysis and verbal working memory accounted for unique

variance in three reading measures. However, other studies have suggested that short-

term verbal memory does not significantly predict reading skills after controlling for

phonological abilities (Rohl & Pratt, 1995; Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 1994).

Environmental Factors

A young child's level of language proficiency and their reading skills are closely

correlated with socioeconomic status (SES) of their parents or caretakers, with middle-

class children attaining higher levels of language and literacy than lower-class children









(Feagans & Farran, 1982; White, 1982). However, Bryant (1998) found that SES

differences in word level reading in young children were mediated partly through pre-

existing differences in phonological sensitivity. When phonological sensitivity scores

were considered, SES differences were no longer significant in the tests of reading

accuracy. Bowey (1995) also suggested that many children from lower socioeconomic

groups might be arriving at school with underdeveloped phonological awareness placing

them at a serious disadvantage in acquiring early reading skills.

Scarborough and Dobrich (1994) reviewed 31 studies that analyzed the impact of

parents' reading on their preschoolers' oral language and literacy development. They

concluded that frequency of reading to preschoolers was positively associated with

growth in lexical and semantic content of language and in developing literacy, but the

association was of modest proportions, with most correlations at or less than .28.

However, Senechal, et al. (1998) found that in the study of frequency of storybook

reading and teaching reading and writing of words, storybook exposure explained

statistically significant unique variance in children's oral language skills, but not in their

written language. These authors concluded storybook exposure might enhance

children's oral language skills, whereas additional support in the form of reading

instruction may be necessary to enhance written language skills.

Improving Screening for Risk of Early Reading Failure

Most children learn to read without any difficulty, but up to 25% of all children

experience reading problems in school (Shaywitz, Escobar, Shaywitz, Fletcher, &

Makuch, 1992). Four to six percent of the preschoolers are specifically diagnosed with a

reading disability (Badian, 1994; Stedman & Kaestel, 1987); these children face almost

certain school failure (Badian, 1993, 1998; Felton& Pepper, 1995; Gough, 1996;









Stanovich, 1986). Children who exhibit difficulty with the beginning stage of the reading

process rarely become strong readers. Stanovich and Siegel (1994) found that of

children identified as exhibiting a reading disability in the early grades (i.e., kindergarten

and first grade), 74% continued to be labeled as having a reading disability in the ninth

grade.

Many studies have documented the efficacy of early identification and intervention

in prevention of school failure, leading to increased interest in preschool and

kindergarten screening programs (Ball & Blachman, 1991; Berrieta, et al., 1984; Felton

& Brown, 1990; Hurford, et al. 1994; Lundberg, Frost, & Peterson, 1988). Researchers

generally have found that standardized tests predicted children at risk for reading failure

better than teachers. Reported teacher prediction rates are low, ranging from 15% to

41% correct identification of children at risk (Feshbach, Adelman, & Fuller, 1974;

Fletcher & Satz, 1984; Flynn & Rahbar, 1998a; LaTorre, et al.,1982; Stevenson et al.,

1976). In contrast, test identification rates are reported to be much higher range from

71% to 80% (Fletcher & Satz, 1984; Flynn & Rahbar, 1998a). Most screening programs

test general developmental tasks, such as language skills, resulting in results that are

not warranted for designing specific interventions (Satz & Fletcher, 1988; Majsterek &

Ellenwood, 1995). The instruments are often used to make inappropriate decisions such

as delayed school entrance, retention in grade, or transition programs (Gredler, 1992).

These findings suggest that early detection of risk is important and screening tests

should be developed to test known predictors of reading failure and language

development. Screeners should also be easy for teachers to administer and aid in the









selection of children who are at risk. Ultimately, screening programs should lead to early

intervention and to decreased numbers of children with reading failure.

Recognizing weak foundational skills in children at the earliest stages of

development is the best approach to preventing reading disabilities. The development of

screening and associated early intervention instruments has constituted a significant

commodity in the systematic early identification and management of children at risk of

reading problems. Specifically, improving teachers' observation skills for deficits in

emergent literacy skills is one key method for early identification. Kindergarten teachers

need to know how to observe developmental skills from studies of precursors to reading

achievement. They also need to know how to match children's profiles with research-

validated interventions in order to intervene effectively and efficiently identify "at risk"

individuals and prescribe intervention as soon as possible.

Statement of the Problem

Currently, we are able to identify many children who are "at risk" for later reading

disabilities bythe end of kindergarten but we have very few reliable methods of making

this prediction in younger children. In order to begin to address the issue of early

identification and prevention in the preschool population, tasks are needed for younger

children to predict their risk for future reading difficulties with a reasonable degree of

reliability and validity. This study was designed to develop such tasks for three-year-

olds and to determine which of these tasks best predict the children's performance on a

standardized test of language and literacy one year later. Tasks were developed to

reflect areas in the literature that are associated with future reading ability. These tasks

chosen for this study represent the following skill domains: phonological knowledge,









orthographic knowledge, verbal memory, fine motor functioning, receptive and

expressive language, and rapid automatic naming.

To address the lack of empirically tested tasks that can be used to test three-year-

old children for the purpose of identifying their risk for future reading difficulties, the

following experimental questions were investigated:

1. Which experimental tasks meet normality criterion for three-year-olds and again
one year later?

2. Which experimental tasks for three-year-olds showed normal distribution and
growth one year later?

3. Which of the experimental tasks that meet normality criterion best predict the ALL
Language and Emergent Literacy Index scores at age three?

4. Which experimental tasks best predict the ALL Language and Emergent Literacy
Index scores at age four?









CHAPTER 2
METHODS

The purpose of this study was to 1) develop a battery of tasks that showed a

normal distribution of scores for typically developing three- and four-year-old children

and to 2) determine which of these tasks best predicts the performance of three- and

four-year-olds on a standardized measurement of emergent literacy and language in

preschoolers.

A battery of tasks was developed to test the participants at three and four years of

age. These tasks were chosen that represented constructs or skills that have been

associated with later language and emergent literacy in previous studies (Whitehurst &

Lonigan, 2001; Scarborough, 1998; Bowey, 2005; Ashby & Rayner, 2006). After

several months of task development and pilot testing, a battery of experimental tasks

was compiled across seven domains: (1) Phonological Awareness, (2) Orthographic

Awareness, (3) Emergent Writing, (4) Memory Skills, (5) Language (receptive and

expressive) skills, (6) Rapid Automatic Naming ability (RAN), and (7) Fine Motor

Functioning.

Children were tested on these experimental tasks at three years of age (36-48.0

months) and again, one year later, when they were four years of age (48.1-60.0

months). During the second year of the study, the preschoolers were also tested on a

standardized battery of language and literacy tests.

This chapter includes information on the subjects, examiner, equipment,

procedures, stimuli, scoring, and analysis.









Participants

Participants were recruited from several preschool teaching sites in Alachua and

Orange/Seminole counties areas in Florida. A total of 38 subjects, 21 females and 17

males, participated in this study. During the first year of testing, participants ranged in

age from 37 months to 47 months, with an average age of 43 months. During the

second year of testing, participants ranged in age from 48 months to 60 months of age,

with an average age of 56 months. Only participants who were tested over the two

consecutive years were included in the database for analyses. Children were selected

for study if they were reported by their teachers to have a negative history for

language/speech deficits, cognitive deficits, or hearing impairment and if this information

was confirmed in a parent questionnaire. Parents were asked to complete an informed

consent form and a questionnaire from the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL,

2005) requesting information on the child's family background, health, language

development milestones and emergent literacy ski Is (See Appendix D). The mothers'

educational levels ranged from 14 to 20 years with an average of 16 years of formal

schooling.

Prior to recruiting subjects, research approval was granted from the Institutional

Review Board (IRB-2) committee at the University of Florida (See AppendixA) for

copies of the IRB Protocol #2006-U-0342 for the first year of testing and IRB Protocol

#2007-U-0342 for the second year of testing (see Appendix B). Information about the

study and an invitation to participate was distributed to the teachers, who were asked to

pass flyers on to parents of children. (See Appendix C)









Pilot Study

The experimenter conducted all assessments during the pilot study with 10 three-

year-olds. There were no tests used to qualify subjects for participation; however, their

caretakers and teachers reported no history of speech, language, or hearing deficits.

Data collection took place in a quiet room at the children's preschools or in a quiet room

at the child's home. The initial pilot test protocol was administered to each participant

and was presented in the same order for each child (See Appendix 2-3 for a copy of the

test protocol for the pilot study). The total test time during the pilot testing for three-year-

olds was one hour. Some of the children were tested over two-three days depending on

their attentiveness and compliancy. The testing never went beyond the duration of 2-3

days in one week. The children were tested between October and December of 2006.

Several of the tasks were deemed as being too easy or difficult for inclusion in the final

test protocol for the study. These included: Visual Matching proximall and distal),

Nonsense Word Repetition, Rhyme Production in Context (child was read a story and

required to complete sentences with a real or nonsense rhyming word) and Rhyme

Judgment, as many three-year-olds were able to just guess at the answer and be 50%

correct. This task was replaced with Rhyme Production, which required the child to

supply a rhyming word for the word stated in a picture, such as "pie". Since many of the

three-year-olds had difficulty with the Digit Word Span Backward task, other more basic

memory tasks were added to the protocol: Sequential Memory (immediate recall);

Sequential Memory after a 2 minute and 5 minute delay, and Visual Short-Term

Memory. (See Table 2-1 for the procedures involved in these tasks)

Once the pilot study was completed in December of 2006, the final protocol of

exploratory tasks was adopted and testing began with a three-year-old population









whose caretakers had consented to allow their children to take part in the study. Prior to

beginning the study, eight undergraduate students were trained by the investigator to

administrate the exploratory tasks. Weekly meetings were scheduled for all

undergraduate students to meet with the investigator regarding problems with data

taking, scoring, and tabulation of scores. One specific undergraduate student was

placed in charge of rechecking the scoring and then entering the scores for each child

into an Excel spreadsheet. Undergraduate students on the study team checked each

other's protocols for efficiency and correctness of scoring. The writing samples in the

Emergent Literacy domain were reviewed by a group of undergraduate students, the

investigator and the major professor. A rubric for scoring such tasks as Name Writing,

Copying, Writing of ABCs, Naming Letters in Name and Story Writing was developed by

this group.

Task Development

Rationale. By six years of age, most children demonstrate fairly sophisticated

levels of emergent literacy knowledge. Important reading prerequisites are shown in

preschool children's emerging abilities to recognize environmentally embedded and

contextualized print, to understand the form and function of print, and to perceive

relationships between speech and print (Mason, 1980; Goodman, 1986; Dickinson &

Snow, 1987). These and other emergent literacy abilities form the foundation for young

children' imminent entrance into formal literacy instruction.

Preschoolers who are judged to be "at risk" for delayed attainment of literacy

include children with language impairment (Boudreau & Hedberg, 1999; Ezell et al.,

2000), children reared in poverty (Dickinson & Snow, 1987; Chaney, 1994), children

with developmental disabilities (Koppenhaver, et al. 1991; Saint-Laurent, et al. 1998),









and children learning English as a second language (Snow, et al. 1998). Young children

with language impairment, for example, demonstrate sufficiently less skill in recognizing

commonly occurring environmental print (e.g. Coke and Bandaid) than their typically

developing peers (Gillam & Johnston, 1985). Delayed attainment of such skills may

serve as warning signals of later difficulties in higher-level literacy development.

Speech-language pathologists and early childhood educators are encouraged to identify

preschool children experiencing delayed emergent literacy acquisition and to provide

the necessary instruction to prevent future reading failure (Boudreau & Hedberg,1999;

Ezell, et al. 2000; Justice & Ezell, 2000).

The key preliteracy precursors for successful transition to conventional literacy

(Teale & Sulzby, 1986; Chaney, 1992) include: print awareness, word awareness, and

phonological awareness. Print awareness refers to children's ability to recognize the

function and form of print and the relationship between oral and written language

(Hiebert, 1981; Goodman, 1986). Word awareness describes children's ability to

recognize words as discrete elements of both print and speech and to discern the

relationship between written and spoken words (Tunmer, et al. 1983; Bowey, et al.

1984). Phonological awareness describes young children's ability to identify and

manipulate the sounds of a language (Lundberg, et al. 1988; Ball, 1997). Skills across

all the dimensions are acquired incidentally and gradually during the preschool period.

In recent years, considerable attention has been directed towards young children's

acquisition of phonological awareness. Word and print awareness, in contrast, have

received substantially less attention in the developmental literature (Justice & Ezell,

2001). Yet, longitudinal studies have shown that word and print awareness serve as key









predictors of later reading achievement (Adams, 1990) and involve important elements

of the foundation of emergent literacy knowledge (Stuart, 1995).

Most studies examining preschool children's word awareness have focused on

children's concept of word within oral contexts. Investigations into children's ability to

handle word-referent discrimination (Bowey et al., 1984; Chaney, 1992), to understand

the meaning of the term "word" (Bowey et al., 1984), and to segment orally presented

strings of words (Tunmer et al., 1983; Chaney, 1992, 1994). Such studies have shown

that preschool children readily make sophisticated metalinguistic judgments about

words, including the ability to discriminate words from sounds and the ability to segment

spoken utterances into their respective word elements (Tunmer et al., 1983; Chaney,

1992; Boweyet al., 1984). To date, however, there are limited empirical data regarding

preschoolers' word awareness in written language contexts. Word awareness in written

language contexts is a necessary competency for beginning reading development, with

the concept of "word" and finger-pointing tasks comprising a key element of early

reading instruction (Clay, 1979; Invernizzi, et al. 2000).

In contrast to the scarcity of research on word awareness in written language

contexts, a number of studies have addressed preschoolers' accomplishment of print

awareness, or'print literacy' (Mason, 1980; Snow, 1983; Goodman, 1986; Chaney,

1992). Like word awareness, print awareness gradually emerges within the preschool

period. Print awareness is a sign of children's emergent abilities to think about and

interact with written language, consequently representing children's growing

understanding of the form and function of print. The understanding that print carries

meaning develops between the third andifth year of life (Mason, 1980). Mason fou nd









that, at this time children undergo a significant transformation in which independent and

self-motivated interactions with print exponentially increase. For example, children begin

to use print as a communication device, to recite the alphabet, and to recognize letters

and words occurring in print. Development of such skills within the preschool period is

an important predictor of later reading achievement (Adams, 1990; Stuart, 1995).

Word and print awareness, along with phonological awareness, are considered

key building blocks for conventional literacy. Both early childhood educators (Snow, et

al. 1998) and speech-language pathologists (American Speech-Language-Hearing

Association [ASHA], 2000) have been persuaded to address these skills in prevention,

assessment, and intervention activities. A problem faced by educators and therapists is

that there are few formal or informal measures available by which to examine preschool

children's word and print awareness. Many educators feel limited in their ability to

incorporate a systematic emergent literacy focus when working with young children due

to the lack of available measures for quantifying these skills (Justice & Ezell, 2001).

Liberman, et al. (1974) first acknowledged the development of an appreciation of

the sound structure of language throughout the preschool years. Previous observational

data obtained with four- to five-year-old children demonstrated the early availability of

rhyme (Dowker, 1989) and supported the hypothesis that rhyme awareness is the

earliest stage of metaphonological development. Goswami and Bryant (1990) found that

tasks of rhyming skills assess the child's understanding of "onset" and "rime" units

within words, such as the "onset" containing the consonant or consonant cluster that

precedes the vowel and the "rime" containing the vowel and succeeding consonants

(such as t-ake, st-eak, fl-ake, and I-ake). Rhyming tasks have been successfully









performed by children as young as four and five years of age and are predictive of later

success in reading (Bradley & Bryant, 1983). In order to assess this area in younger

preschoolers (three-year-olds) the following three subtests were added to the

Phonological Awareness domain of testing: Rhyme Memory, Rhyme Judgment, and

Rhyme Production.

Knowledge of the alphabet at school entry (kindergarten is one of the best

predictors of later reading achievement (Adams, 1990). Another area of language

processes related to reading acquisition is orthographic processing. Orthographic

awareness refers to the familiarity with the written symbols (letters) representing the

sounds that children become aware of during the development of phonological

awareness. This ability enables kindergarten and first grade readers to delineate

between misspelled and correctly spelled written words. (Foorman, 1994; Vellutino, et

al. 2000). Orthographic processing refers to the use of orthographic information in

processing oral or written language (Wagner & Barker, 1994).

There has been an increasing interest in orthographic processing as a probable

predictor of reading acquisition since many studies have shown a low amount of

variance that phonological awareness plays in word recognition (Berninger, 1994;

Manis, et al. 2000; Stanovich & Siegal, 1994; Roberts & Mather, 1997).

Two issues in assessing orthographic processing in preliterate children include

concerns about construct validity of the measures (Vellutino, et al. 1994) and the

efficiency of assessing orthographic processing ability in children with minimal or no

reading experience (Badian, 1994). Vellutino, et al. (1994) argue that the majority of

orthographic awareness tests actually measure word identification or spelling ability









instead of the underlying cognitive systems that control those activities. They also

contend that there are no "pure" tasks of orthographic processing as reading involves

both orthographic and phonological coding. Once the child has learned to read, they

exhibit the ability to perform orthographic processing tasks using their word recognition

and spelling knowledge.

A second concern relates to the difficulty of testing this domain in preliterate

children. Due to the fact that most of the orthographic awareness tasks involve the child

differentiating between real and pseudo words or distinguishing correctly spelled words

from misspelled words, these measures cannot be used with preschoolers. Badian

(1994) tried to solve this problem with preschoolers by developing a ten-item visual

matching task that involved alphanumeric symbols (letter and digit sequences). Badian

(1994) found that this orthographic measure was significantly related to first-grade

reading skills with letter knowledge controlled. A modified version of the "Visual

Matching" subtest found in the Predictive Reading Profile (2001; for kindergarteners and

Ffrst graders) was utilized in the exploratory task, Letter Discrimination, which did not

contain sequences of letters but a sequence with only one letter out of a field of five

different shapes. The Visual Matching task was removed from the protocol as many

individual symbols, objects, and individual letters were presented. It was too easy as

compared to Badian's (1994) sequences of alphanumeric symbols.

General cognitive ability has been shown to be only indirectly associated with

emergent literacy skills via phonological processing abilities. The speed with which

pictures, digits, and letters can be names is a well-documented linguistic correlate of

reading ability that is thought to reflect phonological memory or retrieval processes.









Individual differences in what is referred to as rapid automatized naming (RAN) have

been shown to predict reading development in the first grade (Felton and Brown, 1990)

and in the third and fourth grades (Badian, et al. 1990). Whether a naming difficulty in a

poor reader reflects a problem in the process by which representations are retrieved or

whether the problem lies in the phonological representations themselves being indistinct

or unrefined continues to be an area for debate. However, Manis, Seidenberg, and Coi

(1999) proposed a model of reading development in which they indicated that naming

tasks account for distinct variance in reading when compared to phoneme awareness

because naming involves arbitrary associations between print and sound whereas

phoneme awareness is more related to the learning of systematic spelling-sound

correspondences. Learning arbitrary association between sounds and letters probably

plays a central role in the development of early reading skill and knowledge of

segmental phonology and is relevant to both the earlier and later phases of learning to

read. Therefore, the Rapid Object Naming tasks (eight and twelve objects) were added

to the battery.

Torgesen et al. (2006) concluded that many of the children presenting with

phonological processing difficulties also exhibited difficulties in copying letters and

words during their assessment and reading remediation program. The Copying subtest

measures the accuracy with which the three- and four-year-olds can trace and

ultimately copy shapes and letters proximally.

Final Experimental Battery

The final experimental battery is comprised of twelve tasks within seven domains:

1) Phonological Awareness, 2) Orthographic Awareness, 3) Emergent Writing, 4)

Memory skills, 5) Language (receptive and expressive) skills, 6) Rapid Automatic









Naming, and 7) Fine Motor Functioning. A rationale for including each domain in the

battery follows along with a list of the tests in each domain. Descriptions of all

experimental tasks are shown in Tables 2-1 and 2-2.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness refers to the emergent reader's ability to think about and

manipulate units in spoken language that are smaller than the syllable (Stahl & Murray,

1998; Stanovich, 1991). Many researchers have adopted various tasks to study the

phonological abilities of children in kindergarten and beyond. These tasks include

blending of sounds in words, segmenting sounds in words, deleting sounds (e.g., Yopp,

1988; Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, 1999). Phonological awareness

is one of the most studied topics in cognitive psychology, as it has been found to be

critical for the development of proficient reading and spelling skills.

Rhyming tasks have been successfully performed by children as young as four

and five years of age and are predictive of later success in reading (Bradley and Bryant,

1983). In order to assess this area in younger preschoolers (three-year-olds), the

following three subtests were added to the Phonological Awareness domain of testing:

Rhyme Memory, Rhyme Judgment, and Rhyme Production.

To measure phonological awareness, several subtests involving rhyme awareness

were included in the final protocol. The Rhyme Memory Task was adapted from The

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (Invernizzi & Meier, 2002). The child is

required to choose a picture that "sounds like" or rhymes with one of three presented

pictures. The child was asked to name all of the stimuli in the task. If a child did not

know the name of an object, the examiner said the name, then asked the child to imitate

during a delayed imitation task. If the child could not spontaneously name any of the









target words, a delayed imitation strategy was used during the testing. The title

"memory" was added to this task as the child needed to remember the stimuli for a short

time while working memory helps them to analyze the sound segments. Those children

who exhibit poor phonological memory are at a deficit when learning phonological

awareness, which is critical to reading acquisition (Torgeson, 1996; Gathercole &

Baddeley, 1993). The raw scores were tallied on the protocol and then later transferred

to the Excel worksheet for later data analysis.

The Rhyme Judgment task was adapted from The Dyslexia Early Screening Test

(DEST) (Nicolson & Fawsett, 1996), which is a norm-referenced set of measures for

screening abilities in children (four to five through five-to six-year-olds) where difficulties

may be related to dyslexia. The "Rhyme Detection" task on the DESTwas modified for

the younger preschoolers by using two pictures and then having the child indicate

whether the two pictures rhyme. Again, the pictures were stated for the child to make

sure that vocabulary knowledge was not influencing the score. The raw score of correct

responses was tallied and entered into the database.

The Rhyme Production task was adapted from the "Rhyme Production in Words"

subtest in the Assessment of Literacy and Language (Lombardino, Lieberman, and

Brown, 2005). This task measures a child's rhyme production in words. The examiner

says a word ("pie") and then asks the child to think of a word that rhymes (sounds like)

"pie". The raw score is tallied and added to the database for later analysis.

Segmentation

Since many of the three year olds were not yet able to segment sounds in CVC

words (consonant+vowel+consonant), they were required to sequence words in simple

one to three word sentences Therefore, the Segmentation of Sentence to Words









subtest was included in the experimental test battery. The children's ability to segment

spoken language units (i.e., sentences into words) was assessed using an adaptation

from the Segmentation subtest of the Phonological Awareness Test (PAT; Robertson &

Salter, 1997). In the Segmentation task, children were presented with a series of one- to

four-word sentences (e.g., "He can swim") and were required to repeat each sentence

while placing a block on the table for each word. This subtest required six trial items

before raw scores were tallied.

Orthographic Awareness

The letter is the basic unit of reading and writing, and letter knowledge has

consistently been shown to be one of the best predictors of later reading success

(Adams, 1990; Scarborough, 1998; Stevenson & Newman, 1986). A beginning reader

who cannot recognize and distinguish the individual letters of the alphabet will have

difficulty learning the sounds those letters represent (Mason, 1980).

Badian (1994) concludes that assessment of orthographic processing/awareness

ability in children with little or no reading experience is a problem. Badian (1994)

developed a ten-item visual matching task that included alphanumeric symbols (letter

and digit strings) to begin to assess early orthographic processing skills in preschool

children. Badian (1994) concluded that preschool performance on this orthographic

measure was significantly correlated with first grade reading skills, even with letter

knowledge controlled.

From Badian's procedure and The Predictive Reading Profile (PRP) (Flynn, 2001),

the adapted exploratory tasks included: Alphabet Awareness (singing of ABCs), Letter

Identification (receptive), and Letter Discrimination tasks.









It is important to note that the Predictive Reading Profile is a group-administered

screening battery which is timed and designed to measure a set of kindergarten-level

reading precursors for children between the ages of five and six. On the Letter

Discrimination exploratory task, the child was to find the letter in a series of five stimuli

containing shapes, letters, numbers, and erroneous writing of letters. Measures were

obtained via raw scores. The Letter Identification task was adopted from the ALL (2005)

and involved the child pointing to letters named by the instructor. Again, scores were

tallied as raw scores (amount correct). The Singing of the ABCs task was adopted from

an article written by John A. Smith (May, 2000) where he concluded that singing the

ABCs supports early literacy development in the areas of letter names and sounds,

phonemic awareness, print conventions, vocabulary, decoding, and writing. Scores for

this task was determined on the following scale: sing without errors= 10; 0-5 errors= 8

points; 5-10 errors= 5 points; 10-15 errors= 1 point; cannot sing song= 0 points. The

research team decided upon this rubric of scoring after the pilot study of this task.

Emergent Writing

The exploratory task, Copying, consisted of children tracing, copying shapes and

letters proximally, and then being judged on their accuracy. The committee got together

as a group and would judge the score on the participant's productions. (Please see the

rubric for obtaining either a 0, 2, or 3 score on this task in Appendix D)

Early name writing may represent a child's first step in using printed symbols for

meaning. A study by Haney, Bissonnette & Gehnken (2003) investigated the

relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in kindergarten students. A

measure of name writing proficiency was developed ("Name Writing Scale"). Results









revealed that name writing was significantly correlated with word and non-word

identification. No significant gender differences were found on the measure of name

writing. They stressed the inclusion of name writing assessments in early screening

batteries for students at risk for reading difficulties, and to address the hypothesis that

name writing skills may reflect an understanding of the alphabetic principle. Early name

writing may represent a child's first step in using printed symbols for meaning. This

study investigated the relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in

kindergarten students. A measure of name writing proficiency was developed (Name

Writing Scale). Results revealed that name writing was significantly correlated with word

and non-word identification. Suggestions are made forfuture research to address

inclusion of name writing assessments in early screening batteries for students at risk

for reading difficulties, and to address the hypothesis that name writing skills may reflect

an understanding of the alphabetic principle. Understanding that a word corresponds to

a printed symbol may be as important a precursor to reading as being able to segment

an orally presented word into phonemes (Olson, 2002). However, Lieberman (1985)

considers learning to write as a process of modeling complicated visual-motor skills

through direct teaching activities (Lieberman, 1985). Vygotsky (1962) proposed that the

awareness of names signifies the point at which language and thought come together to

form the basis of intellect. Like developmental milestones in emotion and cognition,

name writing follows a predictable developmental course potentially useful in screening

for those with some types of developmental delays. By age three, children

spontaneously produce scribbles that are distinctly different when attempting to draw

from those made when attempting to print (Brenneman, Massey, Machado, & Gelman,









1996; Deford, 1980). Children learn to write in a predictable pattern including circular

scribbles, linear continuous scribbles, letter-like symbols, and finally actual letters. Clay

(1982) described the developmental process of learning to write which involves trial and

error and hypothesis testing becoming more complex with age, as opposed to a rote

process of copying models of print.

In addition to being the earliest attempt at print and following a predictable

developmental course, name writing is arguably the initial, meaningful print in a young

child's environment. One's own printed name is an extremely meaningful piece of text

that young children are likely to see in print and be encouraged to learn more words

(Clay, 1982).

The Emergent Literacy domain includes Name Knowledge (writing name and then

naming each letter in name; the examiner would point to a form and ask child, "Which

letter is this?". The scores on these tasks were determined by percentage correct so as

not to penalize children with extremely long names. This exploratory task was adapted

from The Name Writing Screen (NWS) developed as a research tool by Haney,

Bissonnette, and Behnken (2003) for use with kindergarteners. Interrater reliability was

addressed as the entire research committee met and analyzed and checked the score.

Another exploratory task, Writing ABCs, measures the child's ability to write their

ABCs and was adapted from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-ll (WIAT-II

(2001). This test contains a subtest for "Written Expression" which requires four to

eighty five year olds to write their ABCs or words as quickly as possible. Scoring

included the number of correctly formed letters without proper sequence and the

numbers of letters written that were properly named. 0 = no letters written; 1= 2-4 letters









named or properly written; 2= any letters properly written and named (over 4 letters).

Again, inter-rater reliability was used as the entire committee met and analyzed and

checked scoring of this task.

The final exploratory task, Story Writing, measures the child's ability to write a

story as best they could and made sense to them. The children were asked to write a

story about their favorite animal. Afterward, they were then asked to identify where it

begins and ends and were also asked to read what they had written. The children were

given a preschool-sized pencil with an eraser and preschool lined paper. As the child

wrote their ABCs and a story (some children refused to write a story but were more

excited to write their ABCs), their ability to write from left to right, use some formidable

letters on the page, and to name the letters or words they wrote were tallied. They were

scored either a 0 or 1 on these tasks. It should be noted that the examiner tape-

recorded this part of the session so as to be able to identify the child's idea of what they

had written. This exploratory task was adapted from the Predictive Reading Profile:

Story Writing (Flynn, 2001) whereby the child is asked to write a story about a favorite

animal and is scored on a 10-point scale.

Memory

Research has shown a correlation between verbal memory and reading skill

(Berninger, et al. 2006). Of the three systems of Baddeley's working memory model

(central executive, phonological loop, and visuo-spatial sketchpad (1986), the

phonological loop was found to be the most important for language and literacy

learning. Data support that the phonological loop plays a key role in learning the

pronunciation of novel vocabulary items (Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989; Baddeley,

Gathercole & Papagno, 1998).









Two categories of tasks have been used most frequently to assess phonological

memory: verbal memory span and speech repetition. Verbal memory span tasks

require children to repeat sequences of words, digits, or other verbal material. In the

measurement of short-term memory, children must hold a small amount of information

passively in memory for a short period of time and then reproduce it in unmodified form.

In contrast, working memory tasks, such as the backward digit span tests, require the

child to maintain information while performing some kind of operation on it. Verbal

memory span tasks are considered to measure phonological memory only if they

require immediate verbatim recall of item sequences without stimulus manipulation

(Torgeson, 1996) and include forward word span, forward digit span, and sentence

imitation tasks.

The exploratory task chosen was the Digit-Word Span Forward task and was

adapted from The Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities: Memoryfor

Words (2001) which measured the child's ability to repeat strings of words. To assess

working memory the Digit-Word Span Backward task was utilized. Many of the children

at age three had problems learning the task but after a few trials with visual cues, most

were able to complete the task with only auditory presentation. They were required to

listen to a list of words and then produce them in reversed order.

The Sequential Memory task was adopted when the Digit-Word Span Backward

task was found to be too difficult for the three-year-olds during the pilot study. This task

required the children to remember a sequence of digits or pictures previously seen and

then replicate them either immediately, or after two to five minutes. Currently, there are

no screening instruments that include this memory task.









Fine Motor Functioning

Two types of fingertapping task measures were chosen: 1) a measure of the

number of times the child is able to tap the index finger of the dominant hand in one

minute using a scientific calculator for precision. This procedure was replicated on the

nondominant hand. This task was repeated twice on each hand and the results were

averaged for each hand as the raw score, and 2) a measure of how long it takes a child

to touch their thumb to their index finger ten times (modified pincer grasp) as rapidly as

possible. After two trials the number of seconds were averaged giving a total raw score.

The same calculations were performed on the nondominant hand.

Language

Developmental relationships between language and literacy skills are often

exhibited in beginning readers, preschoolers with language impairments, children of

adults with a history of reading difficulties and children having problems with reading

development in preschool or kindergarten. Some studies that have included populations

of preschool language-disordered children have shown that those children are at risk for

developing later reading disabilities (Catts, Fey, & Tomblin, 1997; Rescorla, 1999;

Bishop & Snowling, 2004).

Estimates show that about 12% of children beginning kindergarten in the United

States and Canada have been diagnosed with language impairment (Beitchman, Nair,

Clegg, Patel, Fergusen, Pressman, etal. (1986); Tomblins, Records, Buckwalter,

Zhang, Smith & O'Brien, 1997).

For these experimental tasks, both receptive and expressive tasks were

administered. The Language Comprehension subtest required that the children repeat

differing lengths of sentences in their own age range (sentence length did not extend









more that four words). The other task in this domain utilized findings from earlier

assessments of the three-year-old phoneme repertoire (Hodson, 2005); whereby, the

child was required to imitate the words and short sentences stated by the therapist.

Rapid Automatic Naming

Performance on rapid automatized naming tasks (RAN) has been found to be a

strong predictor of reading acquisition (Bishop & League, 2006; Sunseth & Bowers,

2002; Wolf, Bally, & Mooris, 1986). A reading disabled child will often exhibit reduced

rates of speed on this task (Willburger, Fusseneger, Moll, Wood, & Landerl, 2008).

Stimuli utilized are usually digits, colors, or pictures of familiar objects to elicit naming

responses that are overlearned or automatized. This particular task is used to study

underlying cognitive correlates (i.e., accuracy and naming speed) to further analyze if

these correlates are crucial to learning to read.

Despite the use of the predictive power of automatic naming speed tasks, RAN

measures that involve letters and digits (numbers) are unable to be used with preschool

children who do not know the alphabet or numbers. Many incoming kindergarteners are

unable to name colors. The exploratory task of Rapid Automatic Naming was adapted

from the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing: Rapid Object Naming task

(1999) and the Dyslexia Early Screening Test-Rapid Naming (1996) which only

included pictures of objects.

The experimental tasks chosen for this section consisted of 1) Rapid Automatic

Naming of eight familiar pictures (dog, bike, cat, cup, etc.) with a matrix of two rows of

four pictures; 2) a Rapid Automatized Naming task consisting of a matrix of twelve

familiar pictures (dog, bike, cat, cup, etc.). The children were timed in seconds for each

task and were averaged for the final raw score in seconds.









Data Collection Procedures:

Data was collected using the test protocols containing the experimental tasks (See

Appendix F). All scores were raw scores or percentage scores reflecting the amount of

items correctly completed. Please refer to each domain explained above for the scoring

and data collection practices.

Data Reduction

Data were organized using an Excel worksheet by one of the undergraduate

research assistants. Data consisted of raw scores, percentages and proportional scores

(Writing Letters in Name task and Naming Letters in Name Written by the child). In

order to better analyze the percentage scores, they were changed into "proportion

values" which is another term for relative frequency. Proportional values are calculated

by dividing the number of times an event occurs by the total number of times an

experiment is carried out (rfn(E)= r/n or 30/50=3/5=.6). So if a child only wrote % of their

name (the Result (r=3) would be divided by the actual number of letters in their name

(n=4), the proportion value would equal .75.

After all of the child's performance scores on the experimental tasks at age three

and at age four were documented into the database, the scores were calculated using

SPSS (originally, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was released in its first

version in 1968 after being developed by Norman H. Nie and C. Hadlai Hull. Currently,

this program is PASW: IBM PASW (Predictive Analytics SoftWare) (Nie & Hull, 2009)

and was used to convert the raw and proportional scores into z-scores (Newton &

Rudestam, 1999). A z- score is a "transformation" of a normal probability distribution in

such a way that the mean of the distribution will be 0 and the standard deviation is equal

to 1. The z score standardizes the distribution. The term "standard normal distribution"









is used to describe this type of curve. Therefore, a z-score of +1 indicates the point on

the horizontal axis that is one standard deviation above the mean. These z-scores were

then used in all the analyses in the project and are further reported in Chapter Three.









Tasks for three-year-olds
Tasks
;al Task 1: Rhyming
g Knowledge with
pictures


Task 2: Rhyme
Memory










Task 3: Rhyme
Production




Task 4:
Segmenting
Sentences to
Words


Table 2-1.
Domain
Phonologic
Processing


Description
Two words were presented to the child both
orally and with pictures of the words. For
example, the child was presented a picture
of a hat and a cat and asked to tell the
examiner if the words rhyme or not.
The child was presented with a stimulus
word, such as dog, and then shown a series
of three pictures named by the examiner.
For example, the child was required to point
to the item in the series that rhymed with the
stimulus word dog. (frog, pig, can). There
are seven items, which include words that
rhyme with maximal phonetic differences
(i.e., paw/straw); seven items, which contain
a final consonant match for rhyming (i.e.
night/kite), and then six pairs that contain a
vowel match for rhyme (i.e., sad/mad).
The child was read a story containing
rhyming stanzas; then the child was required
to "fill in" the missing "blank" with either a
word or pseudoword that rhymes with the
stanza.

The child was asked to match blocks to the
number of different words they heard. For
example, the examiner states "Joe" and the
child must place one block on the table. The
examiner then states, "Joe walks" and the
child was required to place two different
colored blocks on the table. Items that range
in length from two-six words.


# of items in task
10 items




four trials and eight
test items










two trials; four test
item s




six trial items; ten test
item s


Scoring Criteria
Basal= three
consecutive correct
Ceiling= three
consecutive incorrect

Basal: three correct
Ceiling: three
incorrect









Basal: two
consecutive
correct
Ceiling: two
consecutive incorrect

Basal: three correct
Ceiling: two incorrect
in a grouping









Table 2-1. Continued
Domain Tasks Description # of items Scoring Criteria
in task
Emergent Task 5: Copying The child was required to copy strokes eight Basal: three correct
Writing (horizontal, vertical, crossover patterns, items Ceiling: three incorrect
such as "X"), shapes (circle and triangle),
numbers, and capital letters that were
presented on a test booklet placed in front
of him/her with a preschool-sized pencil or
crayon.

Task 6: Name Writing Child asked to write their name on a piece N/A %age of letters correctly
of preschool paper with a pre-pencil formed

Task 7: Identifying Child required to name the letters in their N/A %age of letters in name
letters in name name that they just wrote correctly named and pointed
to

Task 8: Story writing Child was given a piece of paper w/which N/A 1= identify beginning and
to draw a picture and then write a story ending of story; 0= no reply or
about it on lined paper. inaccurate answer

Task 9: ABC writing Child required to write their ABCs as best N/A 1= identifies beginning and
they could using preschool lined paper and end of story they wrote or
a larger preschool pencil. No time limit. ABC sequence; 1=exhibits left
to right directionality; 1=
names some of letters written









Table 2-1. Continued
Domain Tasks Description # of items Scoring Criteria
in task
Fine Motor Task 10. Fingertapping Child asked to press down on any button N/A two trials: average in


Functioning


Orthographic
knowledge


Memory Skills
(Verbal
Memory)


with index finger with
both dominant and non-
dominant


Task 11: Pincer tapping
with both dominant and
nondominant hands


Task 12: ABC
knowledge


Task 13: Letter
Discrimination


Task 14: Receptive
Letter Identification


Task 15: Digit-Word
Span Forward


on a scientific calculator with their
dominant index finger first and then their
nondominant index finger as many times
as they could in one minute.

Child instructed to touch their index finger
to their thumb (as in a modified pincer
grasp) 10 times. First, they were to
perform this action on their dominant hand
for two trials and then their nondominant
hand over two trials.



Child required to sing the "ABC" song


Child required toidentify a letter from a
field of five shapes, numbers, and one
letter.

Using modified ALL protocol, child was
required to point to letters named by the
examiner

Child required to repeat series of
numbers/nouns presented orally. These
sequences contained from 2-4 items in a
sequence


eight
items


Seven
items


Ten
trials


seconds on each of the
dominant and nondominant
index fingers


The child's performance of
this task was measured as
the amount of seconds taken
to repeat ten pincer taps.
They were given two trials
and the measures were
averaged.


10= sings song without errors;
08= 0-5 errors; 05= 5-10
errors; 01= 10-15 errors; no
singing of song= 0.

Measured as the number
correct (raw score)


The child's performance was
measured by the amount of
correct items (raw score).

Basal: three correct; Ceiling=
three consecutive incorrect









Table 2-1. Continued
Domain Tasks Description # of items Scoring Criteria
in task
Memory Task 16: Digit-word Child required to repeat a series of two- 10 items Basal: 2 consecutive correct
(verbal) span backward (Working three numbers-animals presented orally in Ceiling: 2 consecutive
Memory) reverse order. For example, the child incorrect
heard "apple-grapes" and then asked to
repeat them backwards, "grapes-apple".
This task was first trained with a visual cue
for three items before the cue was taken
away and data taking began.
Memory
(visual)
Task 17: Short-term Child presented with a series of two-four 10 items Basal: three correct;
visual memory pictures, blindfolded, and then asked to Ceiling: three consecutive
name the missing item when blindfold was incorrect
removed. One item was removed while
child was blindfolded
Task 18: Sequential Child presented with series of two-four 10 items Basal: 2 correct;
Memory (visual; pictures of familiar animals; then the child Ceiling: 2 consecutive
immediate) was blindfolded, once the blindfold was incorrect
removed, the child was asked to place
pictures in the same place they had seen
them initially.









Table 2-1. Continued
Task 19: Sequential
Memory after a delay of
two minutes




Task 20: Sequential
Memory after a delay of
five minutes


Language


Rapid
Automatic
Naming (RAN)


Task 21: Listening
Comprehension


Task 22: Expressive
Language


Test 20: Rapid
Automatic Naming (8
items)


Test 21: Rapid
Automatic Naming (12
items)


Child was asked to put a set of pictures in one item
order (2-4) that had been correctly
reproduced in Task 18. The delay was set
at two minutes after Task 18 was
completed.


Child was asked to put a set of pictures in
order (two-four) that had been correctly
reproduced in Task 18. The delay was set
at five minutes after Task 18 was
completed.


Child presented with a simple sentence
and then asked a question about the
contents of the sentence they just heard.
For example, "The bird is swimming":
"Who is swimming?" No pictures were
used with this task.

Child was requested to listen to an age
appropriate sentence and then repeat it.


The child was required to name pictures of
animals (cat, dog, cup, bike) presented in
a matrix of two rows containing four
pictures.

The child was required to name pictures of
familiar objects (cat, dog, cup, bike)
presented in a matrix of two rows
containing four pictures.


One item






ten items


ten items



Only eight
items in a
matrix of 2x4;
2 trials
conducted
12 items
presented in a
matrix of 3x4;
two trials
conducted


Basal: series correctly
reproduced
Ceiling: series
reproduced with errors



Basal: series correctly
reproduced
Ceiling: series
reproduced with errors



Basal: three consecutive
correct;
Ceiling: three
consecutive incorrect


Basal: 2 consecutive
correct
Ceiling: 2 consec.
incorrect
Each of two trials was
measured in seconds
and then averaged.


Each of two trials was
measured in seconds
and then averaged.










Table 2-2. Experimental tasks given at three years of age administered to the same students at four years of age with
the addition of the standardized ALL
Emergent Literacy Tasks Description # of Scoring Criteria
Composite Score items
for ALL


Task 1:
Letter
Knowledge


Task 2:
Rhyme
Knowledge






Task 3:
Rhyme
Production


Includes three aspects of letter knowledge:
letter identification, letter naming, and letter
production. In letter identification, the child
points to letters named by the examiner; in
letter naming, child names letters as the
examiner points to them; and, in letter
production, the child writes letters, in either
uppercase or lowercase, as they are dictated
by the examiner
Assessed through two tasks: rhyme
recognition and identification of rhyme oddities.
Rhyme Recognition: child listens to the
examiner name two pictures (i.e., bone/phone)
and then must determine if the words sound
alike. In identity of rhyme oddity, the examiner
names three-four pictures and the child
identifies which one doesn't rhyme (i.e., cat,
pen, hat).
On rhyme production in words task, the
examiner says a word (feet) and the child
supplies a rhyming word (e.g., meet, beat, seat)
in rhyme production in context, the examiner
reads a story to the child and in each sentence
of the story, they must complete the sentence
with a real or nonsense rhyming word (e.g.,
When she turned on the light, she saw a .)


30 items Ceiling: six
consecutive
incorrect
answers


eight
items


Ceiling= six
consecutive


errors






25 items Ceiling= six
consecutive
incorrect










Table 2-2. Continued
Language Skills Tasks Description # of Scoring Criteria
Composite Score items
for ALL
Task 4: Basic Examiner presents an oral direction, 28 Basal: six consecutive
Concepts such as, "Point to the big tree," or "Show 0 scores
me the third turtle". The child then points Ceiling: six
to the best representation of the concept consecutive 0 scores
from a series of three, four or five
pictures

Task 5: Receptive Using a picture identification task, the 20 items Basal= six
Vocabulary examiner says a word and the child consecutive 0 scores
selects a picture out of four choices that Ceiling: six
best illustrates the word. consecutive 0 scores

Task 6. Parallel In modified procedure, the examiner 30 items Basal: six
Sentence describes a picture with a sentence consecutive 0 scores
Production containing a targeted grammatical Ceiling: six
morpheme or sentence type, such as, consecutive 0 scores
irregular past tense or a passive
sentence. The child then views a second
picture designed to elicit the same-
targeted structure.
Task 7: Listening Child is read three stories and then is 21 items none for discontinuing
Comprehension asked to retell the story and answer testing
questions about it.









CHAPTER 3
RESULTS

This study was designed to provide developmental longitudinal data on

preschoolers' performance on subtests in the domains of phonological awareness,

emergent writing, memory, orthographic awareness, fine motor speed, language, and

rapid automatic naming. The four specific objectives of this study were to determine: 1)

Which tasks show a normal distribution of scores (i.e., without skewness and/or

kurtosis) at three years of age and which show a normal distribution of scores at four

years of age? 2) Which tasks show a normal distribution of scores at both three and four

years of age? 3) Which tasks that meet normality criterion at three years of age best

predict the children's performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index

scores, and 4) Which tasks that meet normality criterion for the same children at four

years of age best predict the children's performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and

Language Index scores?

Testing for Normality of Scores

In order to ascertain which tasks showed a normal distribution of scores at each

age level, descriptive statistics, skewness, and kurtosis scores were used to justify

normality. Skewness and kurtosis scores (Brown, 1997) show that abnormally skewed

and peaked distributions of data may be signs of trouble and that problems may then

arise in applying testing statistics. Therefore, each task was analyzed for its skewness

and kurtosis values for the three-year-olds and for the four-year-olds in order to make

decisions about excluding tasks that were too easy or difficult. Tasks were judged as

showing normal distribution based on whether they fell within +/- 1.00 of the mean for

skewness, or +/-1.00 from the mean for kurtosis. The descriptive statistics for each of









the tasks measured when the children were three-years-old and when they were four-

years-old are displayed in Tables 3-1 and 3-2, respectively.

Most statisticians use the skewness levels for decisions regarding distribution of

scores. Typically, the kurtosis levels are only used for a more in-depth analysis of

abnormal distributions (Newton & Rudestam, 1999). For this study, both skewness and

kurtosis values were used to determine if a task's score met the criteria for being

normally distributed. This conservative approach was taken because at the outset of

the study, it was unknown which tasks were appropriate for normally developing three-

year-old children.

In statistics, skewness is a measure of the asymmetry of the probability distribution

of a real-valued random variable and renders a value of the degree of asymmetry of a

distribution around its mean (Agresti & Finlay, 1997). As represented by the normal

curve, data are not skewed if they fall symmetrically on each side of the mean (68% of

the data falls within one standard deviation of the mean with 34% above and below the

mean). Positive skewness indicates a distribution with an asymmetric tail extending

towards more positive values. Negative skewness demonstrates a distribution with an

asymmetric tail extending towards more negative values (Agresti & Finlay, 1997).

Normal distributions produce a skewness statistic of around zero. As the skewness

departs from zero, a negative value indicates the possibility of a negatively skewed

distribution with a concentration of scores on the high end of the scale. In the present

data set, skewness values of +/- 1.00 or greater were two standard errors below the

mean for a normal distribution and represented scores that were skewed to a significant

degree (Newton & Rudestam, 1999). When the score on a task was positively skewed,









the task was considered too difficult for the children; conversely, when a score on a task

was negatively skewed, the task was considered too easy.

Kurtosis is a measure of the "peakedness" of the probability distribution of a real-

valued random variable. Higher kurtosis means more of the variance is due to

infrequent extreme deviations, as opposed to frequent modestly sized deviations

(Newton & Rudestam, 1999). Normal distributions produce a kurtosis statistic of around

zero as represented by the bell shape of the normal curve. A positive kurtosis value

indicates the possibility of a leptokurtic distribution (high peak) and a negative value

indicates a platykurtic distribution (flat or concave shape). Values of two standard errors

above or below the standard error of kurtosis indicate a significant kurtosis problem in

the data. In the present data set, tasks that revealed kurtosis values greater than +/-

1.00 represented curves that were either leptokurtic or platykurtic (Newton & Rudestam,

1999).

Subtests with Normal Distribution at Each Age Level

The first research goal was to ascertain which subtests show a normal distribution

of scores (without skewness or kurtosis) at three years of age and which show a normal

distribution of scores at four years of age.

The following experimental tasks were normally distributed at three years of age:

(1) Rhyme Judgment; (2) Segmentation; (3) Copying,; (4) Visual Short-Term Memory,

(5) Sequential Memory; (6) Sequential Memory after two minute delay; (7) Sequential

Memory after five minute delay; (8) Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger; (9)

Fingertapping with Non-dominant Index Finger; (10) Letter Identification; and (11) Rapid

Automatic Naming (12 items).









Those subtests showing normal distribution at age four included: (1) Rhyming

Judgment; (2) Rhyme Knowledge; (3) Segmentation; (4) Copying; (5) Digit-Word Span

Backward; (6) Visual Short term Memory; (7) Sequential Memory; (8) Fingertapping with

Dominant and Non-dominant Index Fingers; and (9) Rapid Automatic Naming (12

items).

Table 3-3 lists the task scores that were normally distributed and abnormally

distributed at each age level. As shown in this table, many of the tasks were normally

distributed during the first year of testing but abnormally distributed during the second

year and vice-versa.

Comparisons of Performance of Three- and Four-year-olds on Tasks Meeting
Normality at Both Age Levels

The second research goal was to find those tasks that were normally distributed at

both three and four years of age. Those subtests which were normally distributed at

both age levels included: (1) Rhyme Judgment; (2) Segmentation; (3), Copying; (4)

Fingertapping with Dominant and Non-dominant IndexfFngers; (5) Visual-Short term

Memory; (6) Sequential Memory; and (7) Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items). Paired

sample t-tests were used to compare the performance of the children at three years of

age and four years of age for each of the normally distributed tasks. These data are

important because some of these tasks may be suitable measures for screening

preschoolers (3-5- year-olds) who are at risk for later language and/or literacy

difficulties). The p-value was set at .001 with a confidence level of 99% in order to

decrease the probability of a Type Two error (inaccurate rejection of the null

hypothesis). The smaller the p-value, the stronger the evidence against the null









hypothesis (Ho (phase 1= phase 2 mean) and in favor of the alternative hypothesis (H,

(phase means are not equal).

The results of the paired t-test analyses are shown in Table 3-4. As expected, the

preschoolers exhibited a significant increase in their scores on all of the normally

distributed tasks between three and four years of age.

Predictors of ALL Literacy and Language Scores at Three Years

The third objective of the study was to predict which normally distributed tasks

during the first year of the study (three-year-olds) best predicted the ALL Emergent

Literacy and Language Index scores one year later.

Initially, a forced entry regression procedure (i.e., all normally-distributed

independent variables are included in the equation and are not deleted from the

equation based on any criterion) was utilized for analyzing the three-year-old scores.

Four tasks significantly predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score at age three:

Letter Identification (B= .597; t= 3.09; p= .005;, Rhyme Judgment (B= .391; t= 2.82; p=

.009); Fingertapping with non-dominant index finger (B= -.626; t= -2.50; p= .019); and

Fingertapping with the dominant index finger (B= .495; t= 2.05; p= .050). The model

data revealed an Adjusted R2 = .443; F (11, 26)= 3.680; p = .003. (See Table 3- 5)

Again, all tasks that correlated strongly with other normally distributed tasks at age

three were deleted before conducting Multiple Linear Regression analysis. The deleted

tasks were Fingertapping with the non-dominant index finger which correlated with

Fingertapping with the dominant indexfinger and Sequential Memory with a Five-Minute

Delay which correlated with Sequential Memory with a Two-Minute Delay. In this model,

with correlated tasks deleted, Letter Identification (B = .516; t= 2.54; p= .017) and

Rhyme Judgment (B= .270; t= 1.99; p= .056) predicted performance on the ALL Literacy









Index score. For this model, the Adjusted R2= .356; Model F (9,28)= 3.280; p= .008.

(Refer to Table 3-6)

The same procedure was conducted with the three-year-olds and predictors of the

ALL Language Index score. When a forced entry procedure was used in the analysis,

Rhyme Judgment (B= .394; t= 2.28; p= .031) and Segmentation (B= .447; t= 2.06; p=

.050) predicted the All Language Index scores one year later. For this model, the

Adjusted R2 = .134; Model F (11,26)= 1.521; p= .183. (Refer to Table 3-7) With all the

highly correlated tasks at age three deleted, the regression analysis no longer showed

significant predictors with the ALL Language Index score. This model revealed an

Adjusted R2 = .323; F (9, 28)= 1.483; p= .202.

Predictors of ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Scores at Age Four

The fourth objective of this study was to find which tasks meeting normality

criterion for the same children at four years of age best predict the children's

performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores.

Initially, a forced entry regression procedure was conducted to determine which of

the ten exploratory task scores in year two of testing (four-year-olds) significantly

predicted performance in ALL Index scores. The tasks which were normally distributed

for this analysis included: Rhyme Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Segmentation,

Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger, Fingertapping with Non-dominant

Index Finger, Digit-Word Span Backward, Visual Short-term Memory, Sequential

Memory and Rapid Automatic Naming of 12 items. The findings of the forced entry

analysis are presented in Table 3-9 and revealed that Rhyme Knowledge (B = .552; t=

3.776; p= .001), Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .384; t= 3.114; p= .004) and

Segmentation (B = .317; t= 2.069; p= .048) significantly predicted the ALL Emergent









Literacy Index score. This model score included an Adjusted R2= .563; F (10, 27)=

5.769; p= .000.

Again, all highly correlated tasks were excluded for the regression analysis and

included: Rhyme Judgment, which correlated with Rhyme Knowledge and

Fingertapping with Non-dominant Index Finger which correlated with Fingertapping with

Dominant Index Finger. The results of this analysis revealed that Rhyme Knowledge (B

= .512; t= 4.213; p= .000), Digit-Word Span Backward (B = .394; t= 3.288; p= .003) and

Segmentation (B = .303; t= 2.128; p= .042) predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index

score. The model scores were as follows: Adjusted R2 = .581; F (8, 29)= 7.422; p=

.000. (See Table 3-10)

Using the same progression of steps as described above, a forced entry

regression procedure was used initially for analyzing which of the normally distributed

tasks at age four were significant predictors of the ALL Language Index score. Findings

showed that Visual short-term memory (B= .513; t= 3.198; p = .004) and Rhyme

Knowledge (B= .350; t= 2.123; p= .043) significantly predicted the ALL Language index

score at age four. Digit-Word Span Backward moderately predicted the ALL Language

Index score (B = .263; t= 1.890; p = .070) (See Table 3-11)

When the highly correlated tasks were omitted from the multiple linear regression

procedure, the tasks of Visual Short-term Memory (B = .487; t= 3.341; p= .002) and

Rhyme Knowledge (B = .352; t= 2.595; p = .015) were strong predictors in this area.

Digit Word Span Backward (B= .255; t= 1.907; p= .067) was moderately predictive of

the ALL Language Index score at age four. (See Table 3-12)








Correlations

In the three year old group, several of task were significantly correlated at the p<

.01"* and p< .05* levels. Segmentation correlated with Visual Short-term Memory (r=

.43*) and Fingertapping with Non-Dominant Index Finger (r= .42**). To a lesser degree,

Segmentation correlated with Copying (r= .41*) and Fingertapping with dominant index

finger (r= .40*). Copying correlated with Letter Identification (r= .51) and RAN (12 items)

(r= -.323). Fingertapping with the dominant index finger significantly correlated with the

Fingertapping with the nondominant index finger (r= .79). Visual-Short Term Memory

significantly correlated with Sequential Memory (r= .56*) and Letter Identification (r=

.40*). Letter Identification correlated with Sequential Memory (r= .63**) and Sequential

Memory with a Five-Minute Delay correlated significantly with Sequential Memory with a

Two-Minute Delay (r= .87**). (See Table 3-13)

In the four-year-old group, Rhyme Knowledge significantly correlated with Rhyme

Judgment (r= .60**) and Segmentation correlated with Rhyme Judgment to a lesser

degree (r= .33*). Copying correlated significantly with Segmentation (r= .54**),

Sequential Memory (r= .40**) and RAN (12 items) (r= -.33*). Sequential Memory

significantly correlated with Copying (r= .38*). Fingertapping with the dominant index

finger correlated with Fingertapping with the nondominant index finger task (r= .63**)

and RAN (12 items) (r= -.32*). Digit-Word Span Backward correlated with Sequential

Memory (r= .35*) and Visual Short-term Memory correlated with RAN (12 items) (r=

.50**). (See Table 3-14)

Summary of Results

The tasks that were normally distributed during the first year of testing included

Rhyme Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant and Non-









dominant index fingers, Visual Short-Term Memory, Sequential Memory, Sequential

Memory after Two- and Five-Minute Delays, Letter Identification and RAN (12 items).

Those that were normally distributed during the second year of testing included Rhyme

Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with both

Dominant and Non-dominant Index Fingers, Digit-Word Span Backward, Visual Short-

term Memory, Sequential Memory, and RAN (12 items).

The tasks that were normally distributed at ages three and four included: Rhyme

Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger,

Fingertapping with non-dominant index finger, Visual Short-term Memory, Sequential

Memory and RAN (12 items). These tasks were utilized for multiple regression

analyses. Children's performance on all of these tasks showed significant improvement

over the course of one year (p < .001). (See Table 3-4)

The experimental tasks that significantly predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy

Index score at age three when the highly correlated tasks were removed included Letter

Identification (B= .516; t= 2.535; p= .017) and Rhyme Judgment (B= .270; t= 1.997; p=

.056). At age four, when highly correlated tasks were removed Rhyme Knowledge (B=

.512; t= 4.213; p= .000), Digit-Word Span Backward (B= .394; t= 3.288; p= .003), and

Segmentation (B= .303; t= 2.128; p= .042) were the significant predictors of the ALL

Emergent Literacy Index score.

At age three, when the highly correlated tasks were removed, there were no

significant predictors of the ALL Language Index scores. At age four, when the highly

correlated tasks were deleted, Visual Short-term Memory (B = .487; t= 3.341; p= .002)

and Rhyme Knov~edge (B=.352; t= 2.595; p= .015) were the significant predictors of the









ALL Language Index score. However, Digit-Word Span Backward (B= .255; t= 1.907; p=

.067) showed a tendency toward predicting the ALL Language Index score.

It should be noted that only those experimental tasks showing normal distribution

were utilized in these analyses. A greater subject population will increase the power of

these results. Tasks in the domains of Phonological Awareness and Memory most

frequently predicted both the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores.









Table 3-1. Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measured at Three Years of Age (N = 38)
Task Total Range Minimu Max Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis
Possible m
e Points


Phonological Awareness
Rhyming Memory
Rhyming Judgment
Rhyming Knowledge
Segmentation
Emergent Writing
Copying
Writing letters in name
Naming letters in name
Writing ABCs
Story Writing
Fine motor functioning
Finger tapping with dominant
index finger
Finger tapping with non-dominant
Index finger
Pincer tapping with dominant
hand
Pincer tapping with non-dominant
hand
Memory
Digit-Word span forward
Digit word span backward
Visual short-term memory
Sequential memory
Sequential memory after two min.
Sequential memory after five m in.


8
10
4
10

22
1.00
1.00
4
5
N/A


8.00
10.00
4.00
9.00

18.00
1.00
1.00
4.00
5.00


35.5


.00
.00
.00
.00

4.00
.00
.00
.00
.00


12.00


19.50 12.50


8.28

7.35

3.00
12.00
6.00
8.00
3.00
3.00


10.00
6.00


Orthographic Awareness
Alphabet awareness
Letter discrimination


2.72

2.65

6.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00


8.00
10.00
4.00
9.00

22.00
1.00
1.00
4.00
5.00


3.63
5.74
.973
4.79

13.80
.489
.568
1.62
2.08


2.94
3.20
1.48
2.78

4.33
.432
.447
1.66
1.81


3.50
5.00
0.00
5.00

13.00
.415
.700
1.00
2.00


47.50 25.82 7.70 25.66

32.50 22.36 4.75 21.50

11.00 4.88 1.78 4.50

10.00 4.87 1.66 4.50


9.00
12.00
6.00
8.00
3.00
3.00


8.26
2.61
4.03
3.87
1.21
.947


1.00
3.72
1.78
2.24
1.04
1.14


9.00
.000
4.00
4.00
1.00
.000


10.00 7.61 3.56 10.00
6.00 4.89 1.39 5.00


.215
-.233
1.16
-.375

-.134
.123
-.205
.452
.224


.700

.397

1.89

1.82

-1.24
1.19
-.894
.052
.306
.689


-1.31
-1.65


-1.38
-.755
-.323
-1.06

-.482
-1.79
-1.85
-1.45
-1.31


.472

-.368

3.79

3.74

.443
.289
.147
-.690
-1.09
-1.08


.101
3.17









Table 3-1. Continued.
Task Total Possible Range Minimum Maximum Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis
Points
Letter identification 5 5.00 .00 5.00 3.74 1.60 4.50 -1.04 -.086

Language
Language comprehension 8 8.00 .00 8.00 6.74 1.77 7.00 -2.16 5.54
Language expression 10 10.00 2.00 8.00 8.24 2.44 9.00 -2.22 5.43
Rapid automatic naming N/A
For eight items 17.00 8.00 25.00 13.16 3.88 12.25 1.14 1.09
For 12 items 22.00 11.50 33.50 21.12 5.62 20.75 .162 -.722









Table 3-2. Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measured at Four Years of Age


Task Total Range Minimum Max Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis
Possible
Points


Phonological processing
Rhyming Memory
Rhyming Judgment
Rhyming Knowledge
Segmentation

Emergent Writing
Copying
Writing letters in name
Naming letters in name
Writing ABCs
Story writing


Fine motor functioning
Finger tapping with dominant
index finger
Finger tapping with nondominant
index finger
Pincer tapping with dominant hand
Pincer tapping with nondominant
hand

Memory
Digit word span forward
Digit Word span Backwards
Visual short term memory
Sequential Memory


22
1.00
1.00
4
5

N/A


7.00
7.00
4.00
8.00


11.00
.75
.71
4.00
5.00


27.00

30.00
3.50

4.94


4.00
12.00
4.00
7.00


1.0
3.0
.00
2.00


11.00
.25
.29
.00
.00


8.00
10.00
4.00
10.00


22.00
1.00
1.00
4.00
5.00


6.55
8.63
2.74
6.32


18.84
.890
.934
3.42
4.13


1.72
2.12
1.43
2.00


2.80
.197
.179
1.244
1.36


19.00 46.00 32.22 6.99 30.50


15.50
2.50

2.56


5.00
.00
2.00
1.00


45.50 28.46 6.54
6.00 3.60 .754

7.50 3.84 .941


9.00
12.00
6.00
8.00


8.47
7.26
4.68
5.40


.893
3.11
1.32
2.06


7.00
10.00
3.00
6.00


20.00
1.00
1.00
4.00
5.00


-1.61
.821
-.980
-.269


-.824
-2.02
-2.66
-2.03
-1.75


.255

.175
1.14

2.23


-2.32
-.413
-.723
-.428


2.50
-.965
-.307
-.164


.155
3.76
6.05
2.86
2.77


-.698

.561
1.43

6.43


6.27
.301
-.431
-.941


29.00
3.50

3.50


9.00
7.00
5.00
6.00


(N = 38)









Table 3-2. Continued
Task Total Range Minimum Max Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis
Possible
Points
Memory
Sequential Memory after 2 minute
delay 3 3.00 .00 3.00 1.53 1.35 2.00 .045 -1.63
Sequentia I memory after five min. 3 3.00 .00 3.00 1.16 1.24 1.00 .400 -1.54

Orthographic awareness
Alphabet awareness 10 10.00 .00 10.00 9.26 2.30 10.00 -3.72 13.60
Letter discrimination 6 3.00 3.00 6.00 5.66 .745 6.00 -2.23 4.34
Letter identification 5 1.00 4.00 5.00 4.76 .431 5.00 -1.29 -.359
Language
Language comprehension 8 2.00 6.00 8.00 7.58 .683 8.00 -1.38 .622
Language expression 10 2.00 8.00 10.00 9.79 .577 10.00 -2.65 5.80
Rapid automatic naming N/A
For eight items 20.50 4.00 24.50 9.56 4.36 8.38 1.73 3.57
For 12 items 20.50 8.00 28.50 15.79 5.19 14.50 .607 -.164









Table 3-3. Status of tasks for meeting skewness and kurtosis values for being normally distributed in three- and
4-year-old data
Domain Ci Vh+ac+o fnr t+khra\rnIre Ci h+QcV +oo frr fi Ir lraIrlo


Phonological
Awareness


.ULJ LO IU0 I LI II re -ycarl-olu
Normal Abnormal
Rhyme Judgment Rhyme Knowledge


Segmentation


Rhyme Memory


,.UL JLL IoI IUI--y cal-o I
Normal Abnormal
Segmentation Rhyme Memory


Rhyme Knowledge
Rhyme Judgment


Emergent Writing


Memory


Orthographic
Awareness


Copying


Vis. Short-Memory
Sequential Memory
SEQM2 min delay
SEQM 5min delay


Letter Identification


Write Name
Name Letters in Name
Write ABCs
Story Writing

Digit Word Span Forward
Digit-Word Span Backward


Copying


Digit Word Span Backward
Vis. Short-Memory
Sequential Memory


Alphabet Awareness

Letter Discrimination


Write Name
Name Letters in Name
Write ABCs
Story Writing

Digit Word Span Forward
SEQM 2 min delay
SEQM 5min delay


Alphabet Awareness

Letter Discrimination
Letter Identification


Fine motor
function/speed


Language


Rapid Auto Naming


Finger-tapping index
finger (dominant)
Finger-tapping index
finger (nondominant)


N/A


Pincer-tapping (dominant)

Pincer-tapping (nondom)


Language Comprehension
Language Expression


Finger-tapping index finger
(dominant)
Finger-tapping index finger
(nondominant)


Pincer-tapping (dominant)

Pincer-tapping (nondom)


Language Comprehension
Language Expression


12 items


12 items


N/A


8 items









Table 3-4. Comparison of mean differences of normally distributed subtests at ages 3 and 4
Paired Differences
95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Std.
Std. Error
Mean Deviation Mean Lower Upper t df Sig.
Pair 1 Rhyme Judgment -2.89474 3.05614 0.49577 -3.89926 -1.89021 -5.839 37 0.000
Pair2 Segmentation -1.52632 3.01112 0.48847 2.51605 -0.53658 -3.125 37 0.000
Pair 3 Copying -5.05263 4.04667 0.65646 -6.38274 -3.72252 -7.697 37 0.000
Pair4 Ftdifl ftdif2 -6.40015 9.694 1.57257 -9.58649 -3.21382 -4.07 37 0.000
Pair 5 Ftnondomifl ftnif2 -6.09288 6.61938 1.0738 -8.26861 -3.91714 -5.674 37 0.000
Vis. Short-Term
Pair6 Mem 1 &2). -0.65789 2.0438 0.33155 -1.32967 0.01388 -1.984 37 0.006
Pair 7 Sequential Memory -1.52632 2.94762 0.47817 -2.49518 -0.55746 -3.192 37 0.000
Pair8 RAN (twelve items) 5.32658 4.87762 0.79125 3.72335 6.92981 6.732 37 0.000
Note. These values obtained using *p<.001.
Note: "ftdifl and 2" represent Fingertapping with the dominant index finger and "ftnondomif 1 and 2" represent Fingertapping with
non-dominant index finger.
Note: "RAN (twelve objects)" represents Rapid Automatic Naming of twelve items









Table 3-5. Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy with 3-year-olds (N= 38) Forced Entry Procedure
Subtest B SE t Sig. Tolerance
Rhyme Judgment .391 .139 2.82 .009 .781
Segmentation -.035 .174 -.202 .841 .496
Copying .087 .164 .527 .603 .556
Fingertap (dominant index) .495 .241 2.05 .050 .258
Fingertap (nondom. index) -.626 .250 -2.50 .019 .240
Visual Short-term Memory -.116 .168 -.690 .496 .534
Sequential Memory .229 .204 1.125 .271 .361
Seqmemory with 2 min. delay .395 .300 1.320 .199 .167
Seqmemory with 5 min. delay -.255 .285 -.894 .379 .185
Letter Identification .597 .194 3.09 .005 .402
RAN with 12 items -.015 .154 -.094 .925 .632
Note. Adjusted R2= .443; F (11, 26) = 3.680; p = .003


Table 3-6. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 3 Years. N= 38) without highly correlated
tasks
Subtest B SE t Sig. Tol.

Rhyming judgment .270 .135 1.99 .056 .952
Segmentation -.129 .180 -.713 .482 .535
Copying .078 .174 .448 .657 .574
Finger-tap (dominant index) .013 .152 .083 .934 .754
Visual short-term memory .017 .171 .102 .919 .594
Sequential memory .257 .219 1.17 .251 .363
Seqmemory with 2 min. delay .013 .154 .085 .933 .736
Letter identification .516 .204 2.54 .017 .419
RAN with 12 items .070 .160 .440 .664 .679
Note. Model Adjusted R2 = .356. Model F (9,28) = 3.275, p = .008.









Table 3-7. Forced Entry Regression for 3-year-old performance on the ALL Language Index score (N= 38)

Variable B Std. Error t Sig. Tolerance
Rhyme Judgment .394 .173 2.27 .031 .781
Segmentation .447 .217 2.06 .050 .496
Copying -.120 .205 -.584 .564 .556
Fingertapping with index finger (dominant hand) .527 .301 1.80 .092 .258
Fingertap (nondom. hand) -.441 .312 -1.41 .170 .240
Visual short-term memory -.339 .209 -1.62 .117 .534
Sequential Memory -.061 .255 -.240 .812 .361
Seqmemory with 2 min. delay .254 .374 .679 .503 .167
Seqmemory with 5 min. delay -.445 .356 -1.250 .222 .185
Letter Identification .384 .241 1.60 .123 .402
RAN with 12 items -.165 .192 -.859 .398 .632
Note. Model Adjusted R2= .134; Model F (11,26) =1.521, p= .183









Table 3-8. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 3 Years (N = 38) without highly correlated tasks.
Variable B SE t Sig. Tol.

Rhyming judgment .270 1.59 1.694 .101 .952
Segmentation .348 .213 1.64 .112 .535
Copying -.099 .205 -.483 .633 .574
Finger-tap (dominant index) .202 .179 1.127 .269 .754
Visual short-term memory -.244 .202 -1.209 .237 .594
Sequential memory -.034 .258 -.133 .895 .363
Seqmemory with 2 min. delay -.239 .181 -1.320 .197 .736
Letter identification .301 .240 1.253 .221 .419
RAN with 12 items -.080 .189 -.422 .676 .679
Note. Model R2 = .323. Model adjusted R2 = .105. Model F (9,28) = 1.483, p = .202

Table 3-9. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 years (N = 38); Forced Entry Procedure
Variable B SE t Sig. Tol.
Rhyme Judgment -.091 .153 -.592 .559 .504
Rhyme Knowledge .552 .146 3.776 .001 .552
Segmentation .317 .153 2.069 .048 .504
Copying .032 .162 .196 .846 .451
Fingertap- dominant index finger .207 .155 1.331 .194 .489
Fingertap-nondominant index finger
Digit-word span backward -.107 .163 -.655 .518 .444
Visual short-term memory
Sequential memory .384 .123 3.114 .004 .776
Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items .117 .142 .823 .417 .584
-.080 .135 -.595 .557 .647
.184 .146 1.259 .219 .552
Note. R2for model = .681. Adjusted R2=.563. F (10,27)= 5.769 p= .000.









Table 3-10. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 Years (N = 38); without highly correlated
tasks
Tasks B SE t Sig. Tol.
Rhyme knowledge .512 .122 .4.213 .000 .766
Segmentation .303 .142 2.128 .042 .560
Copying .017 .139 .126 .900 .590
Fingertap-nondominant index finger .138 .119 1.162 .255 .801
Digit-word span backward
Visual short-term memory .394 .120 3.288 .003 .786
Sequential memory .144 .131 1.103 .279 .663
Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items) -.09 .126 -.741 .465 .712
.196 .139 1.413 .168 .586
Note. Model R2 = .672. Model adjusted R2 = .581. Model F (8,29) = 7.422. p = .000


Table 3-11. Forced Entry Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 4 years (N=38)
Task B SE t Sig. Tol.
Rhyme judgment .013 .173 .073 .943 .504
Rhyme knowledge .350 .165 2.123 .043 .552
Fingertap- dominant index finger .155 .175 .887 .383 .489
Fingertap-nondominant index finger
Segmentation .087 .184 .475 .638 .444
Copying
Digit word span backward .237 .173 1.371 .182 .504
Visual short-term memory -.137 .182 -.752 .459 .451
Sequential Memory .263 .139 1.890 .070 .776
Rapid Automatic Naming- 12 items .513 .160 3.198 .004 .584
.061 .152 .397 .694 .647
.271 .165 1.641 .112 .552

Note. R2 for model = .594; Adjusted R2 = .444; Model F (10.27)= 3.958; p= .002









Table 3-12. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at Four Years (N = 38) without highly correlated tasks
Task B SE t Sig. Tolerance.

Rhyme knowledge .352 .136 2.595 .015 .766
Segmentation .230 .159 1.451 .158 .560
Copying -.107 .155 -.692 .494 .590
Digit span backward .255 .134 1.907 .067 .786
Visual short-term memory .487 .146 3.341 .002 .663
Sequential memory .056 .141 .397 .694 .712
Fingertap- dominant index finger .208 .133 1.566 .128 .801
Rapid Automatic Naming- 12 items .255 .155 1.642 .111 .586
Note. Model adjusted R = .478; Model F (8,29) = 5.238; p = .000









Table 3-13. Correlations for three-year-olds with normal distribution
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. Rhyme Judgment

2. Segmentation .006


3. Copying

4. Finger-tap dom. index
finger
5. Finger-tap nondominant
index finger
6. Visual Short-term
memory
7. Sequential memory

8. Sequential memory with
2-minute delay
9. Sequential memory with
5-minute delay
10. Letter identification

11. RAN with 8 items

12. RAN with 12 items


-.008

-.084

.071

-.046

-.174

.001

.114

-.088

-.276

.049


.409*

.399*

.418**

.433**

.316

.22

.261

.244

-.062

-.002


.196

.241

.257

.298

-0.08

-.057

.511**

-.102

-.323*


.786**

.28

.18

-.01

-.03

.06

-0.1

-0.18


-

.133

.189

.248

.181

.074

-.091

-.235


.556**

.099

.134

.395*

.183

-.269


-

.266

.272

.634**

-.058

-.432


.874**

-.096

.064

-.107


-.008

-.063

-.156


-.057

-.32









Table 3-14. Significant correlations for 4-year-olds
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. Rhyme Judgment

2. Rhyme Knowledge .600** -

3. Segmentation .327* 0.21 -

4. Copying -0.11 -.099 .536** -

5. Finger-tap dominant index -.013 -.144 .046 -.039 -
finger
6. Finger-tap nondominant -.176 -.252 .027 .207 .629* -
index finger
7. Digit-word span backward .187 .205 .356* .251 .095 .002 -

8. Visual short-term memory .17 .228 .264 .302 .012 -0.15 .126

9. Sequential memory .312 .119 .460** .382* .028 -.042 .346* .276

10. RAN with 12 items -.145 -.208 -.331* -.217 -.322* -.236 -.258 -.498** -.258

Note. *p < .05. **p < .01.









CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

What do We Know About Predictors?

Juel (1988) noted that children's reading performance is highly stable from early in

elementary school and Berninger et al. (2002) and Coyne, et al. (2004) stated that more

success with prevention and earlier intervention is achieved with younger than with

older students. Information of this nature underscores the importance of determining

which children are "at risk" for developing reading difficulties so that prevention can be

instituted as early has possible. The majority of predictive studies have focused on

children in kindergarten with only a few looking into the predictive accuracy of testing

batteries administered to preschool children. The current study was an attempt to take

prevention one-step further by studying the behaviors of preschool children relative to

their performance on a standardized test of literacy and language.

Badian (1988; 1994; 1998) demonstrated that multidimensional assessment

batteries show high predictive power in identifying children with reading difficulties up to

nine years post initial testing. Studies that have incorporated child performance

variables (e.g., phonological awareness, rapid automatic naming, visual matching),

demographics, and family history to achieve have identified strong, predictive factors

results of broad reading performance (Badian, 1994; Fowler & Cross, 1986). Other

studies, which solely included only measures of preschoolers' performance in the areas

of emergent literacy tasks, have also identified significant predictors of future reading

achievement (Chaney, 1998; Bowey, 1995; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002).

A few norm-referenced and or criterion-referenced diagnostic measures have

been developed for kindergarten and preschool children to be utilized for diagnostic









assessment. While these measures have used included adequate psychometric

properties and demonstrated simultaneous validity, few have shown a reliable,

consistent, and longitudinal predictive capacity, such as, strong correlations with later

decoding or comprehension measures, and the power to positively identify "at risk"

children (Havey, Story, & Baker, 2002; Phillips, Lonigan, & Wyatt, 2008; Wilson &

Lonigan, 2009). Nevertheless, the following assessments are routinely used by trained

professionals: Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI: Texas Education Agency,

1999), the Test of Early Reading Ability-3 (Reid, Hresko, & Hammill, 2001), Test of

Phonological Awareness-2 (Torgeson & Bryant, 2004); the Assessment of Language

and Literacy (Lombardino, Lieberman, & Brown, 2005), the Test of Preschool Early

Literacy (TOPEL; Lonigan, Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 2007), and the Phonological

Awareness Literacy Screening in both kindergarten and preschool versions (PALS-K

and PALS- PreK; Invernizzi, Juel, Swank, & Meier, 2007; Invernizzi, Sullivan, Meier, &

Swank, 2004).

The popular kindergarten-entry "readiness tests" of broad measures of cognition

and academic skills have not shown provable validity (Morrison, Griffith, & Alberts,

1997; Shepard, 1997; Stipek, 2002). La Paro and Pianta's (2000) meta-analysis of

thirty-two studies claiming to predict academic outcomes in kindergarten and/or first

grade based on academic measures in preschool resulted in an average correlational

finding of .43 (range= .08-.72).

A short, an easy to administer screening tool to adequately identify preschool

children for later emergent reading and later language difficulties is needed due to time

constraints inherent in typical classroom schedules and routines.









In their attempt to examine this issue in emergent literacy screeners, Wilson & Lonigan

(2008) used two screening tools: the recently revised Get Ready to Read-Revised

(GRTR-R; Lonigan & Wilson, 2008), and the Individual Growth and Developmental

Indicators (IGD Is; McConnell, 20). These two screening tools were administered to the

preschoolers just before they entered preschool. After two months, when the children

had acclimated to their classes and teachers, their emergent literacy skills were

assessed using a diagnostic tool, the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL;

Lonigan, Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 2007) which was normed on 852 children at

three, four and five years of age. In this study, sensitivity settings were generated

through receiver operating characteristic curves (ROC) and optimal cut scores were

selected for each screening tool's prediction of criterion measures of print knowledge,

phonological awareness, oral language, and overall emergent literacy skills prior to data

analysis. Both screeners were administered just before the beginning of the preschool

year and then three months afterwards. The TOPEL was administered when the

children had been in their preschool classes for a month. The researchers found that at

optimal cut scores of .90, the GRTR-R was a more accurate screening tool for accurate

classification of overall emergent literacy skills than the IGDIs and was less time-

consuming for teachers and other professionals to administer. A weakness of the

GRTR-R is that its results do not categorize a specific weakness in a specific area of

emergent literacy skill (such as, print knowledge, oral language, and/or phonological

awareness). Furthermore, numerous instances of false positives occurred when

compared to the TOPEL subscales (Wilson & Lonigan, 2008; p.72).









Numerous studies have addressed the question of which emergent literacy skills

predict later reading ability in four to five-year olds (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 2001;

Scarborough, 2001; Velluntino & Scanlon, 2001; Berninger, & Hart, 1992; Justice,

Invernizzi, Meier, 2002); however, knowledge of the development of emergent literacy in

three year olds has appeared in the literature only within the last decade (Bowey, 2005;

Lonigan, Burgess, & Anthony, 2000). In order to begin to develop a screening tool for

preschoolers, the present study was designed to determine (1) which exploratory tasks

were most appropriate for normally developing three year olds (i.e., normally distributed)

and (2) which of these tasks predicted the children's performance on the ALL's

Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores, respectively (ALL; Lombardino,

Leiberman, & Brown, 2005). The following four research questions were addressed: (1)

Which exploratory tasks showed a normal distribution of scores (i.e., without skewness

and/or kurtosis) for three-year-olds and which showed a normal distribution four-year-

olds? 2) Which exploratory tasks showed a normal distribution of scores at both three

and four years of age? (3) Which tasks that met normality criteria for the three-year-old

sample best predicted the children's performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and

Language Index scores, respectively, one year later? and (4) Which exploratory tasks

that met normality criteria for the same children at four years of age best predicted their

performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores, respectively?

Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores

Eleven of the exploratory tasks were normally distributed for the three-year-old

sample: Rhyme Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with dominant and

nondominant index finger, Visual Short-Term Memory, Sequential Memory, Sequential

Memory after a two and five minute delay, Letter Identification, and Rapid Automatic









Naming (12 items). Ten of the exploratory tasks were normally distributed tasks for the

same children at four years of age were: Rhyme Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge,

Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with the dominant index finger and non-dominant

index finger, Digit Word Span Backward, Sequential Memory, Visual Short-Term

Memory and Rapid Automatic Naming for 12 items. These tasks were used in the

correlation and multiple regression analyses to reduce the influence of multicollinearity.

For the three-year-olds, the tasks that were negatively skewed (too easy) were:

Digit-Word Span Forward, Alphabetic Awareness (ABC song), Letter Discrimination,

Language Comprehension and Language Expression. The tasks that were too difficult

for this age level included: Rhyme Knowledge, Pincer-tapping with dominant hand and

with non-dominant hand, Digit-Word Span Backward and Rapid Automatic Naming (8

items). The tasks that showed kurtosis (platykurtic) problems were Rhyme Memory,

Writing Letters in Name, Naming Letters in Name, Writing ABCs and Story Writing.

Those tasks that indicated a high peak, or leptokurtic problem included Pincer-tapping

with dominant and nondominant hand, Language Comprehension, Language

Expression and Rapid Automatic Naming (8 items).

For the four year olds, tasks that were too easy were: Rhyme Memory, Writing

and naming letters in their name, Writing ABCs, Story Writing, Digit-Word Span

Forward, Alphabet Awareness, Letter Discrimination, Letter Identification, Language

Comprehension and Language Expression. The tasks that were too difficult at this age

level included: Pincer-tapping with both dominant and non-dominant hands and Rapid

Automatic Naming for eight items. Those tasks that were platykurtic included:

Sequential Memory after a two and five minute delay and Letter Identification. Those









that were leptokurtic were Rhyme Memory, Writing Letters and Naming Letters in

Name, Writing ABCs, Story Writing, Pincer-tapping with both dominant and

nondominant hands, Digit-Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness, Letter

Discrimination, Language Expression and Rapid Automatic Naming (8 items).

Most studies of phonological sensitivity in preschool children have been limited by

small sample sizes at each age level and by the limited number of phonological

measures used. Lonigan, et al. (1998) found that, on the average, young children's

performance on tasks designed to assess phonological sensitivity was relatively low.

However, a number of the two and three-year-old children in their study demonstrated

phonological sensitivity at the phonemic level. MacLean, et al. (1987) found that 21% of

three-year-olds performed above chance on a rhyme oddity task, and 38% scored

above chance on an alliteration oddity task.

Fox and Routh (1975) required 50 children (10 at each age from 3 to 7 years)

segment sentences into words, words into syllables, and syllables into phonemes. They

found that even some of the three-year-olds could segment syllables into phonemes. In

the current study, Segmentation and Rhyme Judgment were the only tasks in the

Phonological Awareness domain that were normally distributed at both three and four

years of age.

Level & Cantor (1981) and Smith & Tager-Flushberg (1982) found age-related

performance differences on a forced-choice rhyme-matching task with preschool-age

children. Chaney (1992) administered several phonological sensitivity tasks (i.e., rhyme

matching, sentence segmenting, phoneme blending) to 43 three-year-old children but









did not report the relations between performance on the different tasks; however, a

composite phonological index was correlated with both age and language scores.

For the four-year-olds, writing skills were much too easy with the exception of the

Copying task, which was normally distributed at both age levels. The three-year-olds

scores were not skewed but they were platykurtic which indicates a lower, wider peak

around the mean (that is, a lower probability than a normally distributed variable of

values near the mean) and thinner tails (if viewed as the height of the probability

density-that is, a lower probability than a normally distributed variable of extreme

values) (Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1982; Harst, Woodward & Burke, 1984; Sulzby, 1986).

Most of them were already beginning to write their names and name the letters in their

name.

The Digit-Word Span Forward task, which used a range of digits from 1 to 4, was

too easyfor the three and four-year-olds (which questions just how many digits or words

a preschooler can remember as the norm for children at age ten is seven items

remembered (Satz, 1975). Visual Short-Term Memory and Sequential Memory tasks

were normally distributed for both the three- and four-year-olds. Similarly, the

Orthographic Awareness and Language tasks were too easy for the preschoolers

studied at both age levels. The Language and Digit-Word Span Forward tasks in

particular were so easy that there was a ceiling effect at age three. Future language

comprehension and expression tasks will need to include higher levels of vocabulary

(Whitehurst and Lonigan, 1998; Snow, 1991; Walker, et al, (1994) and more complex

syntactic tasks (Tunmer, Nesdale, & Wright (1987); Tunmer, Herriman, &

Nesdale,1988).









On the Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN) (8 objects) task, most children exhibited

problems when they first tried the task with eight objects. They exhibited problems with

quick retrieval of the objects' names and often named the items in a random manner.

However, after being trained to name from left to right across rows, they were able to

perform the twelve-item version of the RAN task.

Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores for Both Three- and Four-year-olds

Experimental tasks that were normally distributed at both three and four years of

age included: Rhyme Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Sequential Memory, Visual

Short-Term Memory, Fingertapping with the Dominant and Non-dominant Index

Fingers, and Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items).

For the four-year-olds, Digit Word Span Backward was the best predictor of the

ALL Emergent Literacy Index score while both Visual Short-Term memory and Digit

Word Span Backward were the best predictors of the ALL Language Index score.

Memory was the most prominent domain that predicted the ALL within this particular

subject population. Although memory tasks were strongly correlated with a majority of

the tasks in other domains, several tasks did not correlate with any tasks from the

Memory domain. These tasks were: Rhyme Memory; Story Writing; and Fingertapping

with the Dominant Index finger. The majority of the tasks at age three were more

strongly correlated with the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score than with the ALL

Language Index score. (See Table 3-13)

Performance of the four year olds showed a more even distribution of correlations

between the ALL Emergent Literacy and ALL Language Index scores. (See Table 3-4)

The tasks not correlated with the Memory domain at age four included: Segmentation;

ABC writing; Story Writing; and Fingertapping of the Index finger in both hands.









Correlations and predictors found in linear regression analyses at both age levels

suggest that memory is a key underlying cognitive construct for many skills that are

associated with emergent literacy acquisition.

Predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index Scores

Analyses of the three-year old results showed that Letter Identification (B= .516; t=

2.54; p= .017) and Rhyme Judgment (B= .270; t= 1.99; p= .056) significantly predicted

the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score. No tasks were shown to be significant

predictors of the ALL Language Index score when highly correlated tasks were deleted

from the analysis. However, when the forced entry process of multiple regression was

used, Rhyme Judgment (B= .394; t= 2.27; p= .031) and Segmentation (B= .447; t= 2.06;

p= .050) significantly predicted the ALL Language Index score.

One year later, when the children were four-year-olds, the Rhyme Knowledge (B=

.512; t= 4.123; p= .000), Digit-Word Span Backward (B= .394; t= 3.288; p= .003) and

Segmentation (B= .303; t= 2.128; p= .042) tasks predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy

Index score and the Visual Short-Term Memory (B= .487; t= 3.341; p= .002), Rhyme

Knowledge (B= .352; t= 2.595; p= .015) and Digit-Word Span Backward (B= .255; t=

1.907; p= .067) tasks best predicted the ALL Language Index score. These findings are

illustrated in Table 4-1.

It is interesting to note that the majority of tasks predicting the ALL Index scores

were from the Memory (four tasks) and Phonological Awareness (four tasks) domains.

For the three-year-o ds, Orthographic Awareness and Phonological Awareness were

the core domains that predicted Emergent Literacy. At age four, Memory and

Phonological Awareness were the core domains that predicted Emergent Literacy.









The ALL Language Index score showed no significant predictors at age three;

however, again, at age four, Memory and Phonological Awareness were the core

predictor domains. In general, memory ski Is were the strongest of both ALL index

scores for the four-year olds, supporting the relationship between memory and early

literacy in preschool children (Case, 1982; Gathercole, 1998; Luciana & Nelson, 1998;

Cowan, 1980). Phonological awareness also played an important role as a predictor of

both ALL index scores for both the three and four-year olds.

Memory is a cognitive function that plays a key role in human intelligence

(McGrew & Flannagan, 1998; Case, 1985; Case & Okamoto, 1996; Fischer & Bidell,

1998) and studies have shown that working memory is strongly associated with reading

skill (Swanson, 1993; Siegel & Ryan, 1989; Wagner& Torgeson, 1987; Gathercole, et

al, 2006; Swanson, Cooney, & McNamara, 2004). The term working memory refers to a

brain systems) that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information

necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and

reasoning. Working memory skills capture individual differences in reading (e.g., De

Jong, 1998; Swanson, 1994), mathematics (e.g., Bull & Scerif, 2001; Mayringer &

Wimmer, 2000; Passolunghi & Siegel, 2001; Siegel & Ryan, 1989), and language

comprehension (e.g., Nation, Adams, Bowyer-Crain, & Snowling, 1999; Seigneuric,

Ehrlich, Oakhill, & Yuill, 2000).

Short-term storage capacity, sometimes referred to as "memory span" or "simple

span", reflects the capacity to reproduce a sequence of items in the order in which they

were represented (Stone & Brady, 1995). The tasks in this study that were

representative of this short-term storage capacity included: Digit Word Span Forward









(auditory; verbal); Visual Short-Term Memory; and Sequential Memory (immediate;

visual). The finding that the Visual Short-Term Memory task was a key predictor of ALL

Emergent Literacy and Language at age four is consistent with previous findings

showing that length of verbal memory spans for words and digits is an important

predictor of reading achievement (Brady, 1991; Elbro, 1996; Wagner and Torgeson,

1987).

Digit Word Span Backward (working memory) was a significant predictor of both

the ALL Emergent and Language Index scores for the four year olds. A few studies

have shown that working memory capacity predicts word decoding skill as well as

reading comprehension (Leather & Henry, 1994; Swanson, 1994). Working memory

capacity and its relationship with early reading acquisition may reflect developmental

aspects of establishing letter-sound representations. Developing automaticityfor

translating graphemes to phonemes and for sight word recognition is a process that

continues well beyond the early school years and appears to depend on the efficient

storage and processing of phonological information (Seigel, 1993).

Phonemic awareness, one's sensitivity to the sound structure of words and the

ability to manipulate sounds in words, has been found to be a core deficit in reading

disability (Adams, 1990; Goswami & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000;

Scarborough, 1998; Share & Stanovich, 1995; Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998; Wagner, et

al.1993). Most phonemic awareness tests involve some degree of working memory

processing. Beginning readers must develop an understanding of the associations

between letter names, pronunciations, and the alphabetic principle. This understanding

is dependent on working memory for both phonological and orthographic units. As


100









children begin to decode words, their ability to rehearse new phonological sequences is

of critical importance. The number of items that can be retained over a short period of

time is often used to measure an individual's "memory span". Hulme and Tordoff (1989)

found that speech rate and memory spans are significantly correlated. Hulme proposed

that children with higher speech rates could rehearse information faster and remember

it more efficiently. However, this phenomenon only occurred when items to be retained

were presented auditorily. Henry and Miller (1993) proposed that subvocal rehearsal

develops from naming behavior and that a child's increasing speed and ease with

naming influences the development of rehearsal and ultimately memory span.

Phonological awareness has been found to be highly related to verbal short-term

memory (Storch & Whitehurst, 2004). The phonological loop is important for

phonological recoding of orthographic information. Children sequentially transpose

letters into sounds until the final letter has been decoded. The temporary storage of all

of the sounds making up the word in the phonological loop help the child ultimately

recognize the word. The temporary storage of "letter sounds" is dependent on the

phonological loop and episodic buffer in case the word is a nonword.

The emergent skill of print knowledge is dependent upon both phonological and

orthographic memory. The ability to write one's name requires the integration of

phonological, orthographic, and motor memories for writing. The process of labeling

letters in one's own name requires the accessing of sounds in one's name (phonological

units), and then pairing these sounds with the corresponding letters orthographicc units).

Swanson, Zheng, & Jerman (2009) recently conducted a meta-analysis of the

literature on the relationship of working memory and short-term memory to reading









disability. Both working and short-term memory require rehearsal in order to remember

items (Unsworth & Engle, 2007; Gathercole, 1998). Tasks involving working memory or

controlled processing put high demands on attention. However, short-term memory

does not depend on the maintenance of the attention to the same degree (Cowan,

1995; Engle, Kane, & Tuholski, 1999). Both the linear regressions and the majority of

correlations of normally distributed tasks at both ages support the conclusion that

memory (short-term and working memory) and phonological awareness subserve the

acquisition of emergent literacy and language skills at three and four years of age.

Appropriate Screening Tasks for Both Age Levels

In a post-hoc description analysis, frequency tables for all tasks at both age levels

were created to determine which tasks might be appropriate for a screening tool at both

age levels. Only the tasks on which 50% or more of the children scored between the

60th and 100th percentile were included in this "potential" screening pool of tasks. The

following tests met this criterion for the three-year-olds: Naming of Letters in Name,

Digit-Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness (singing the ABC song), Letter

Discrimination, Letter Identification (receptive), Language Comprehension, Language

Expression, Fingertapping with Dominant (median= 25.66 seconds) and Non-Dominant

Index Finger (median= 21.50 seconds) and Rapid Automatic Naming of 12 items

(median= 20.75 seconds). The following tasks met this criterion for the four-year-olds:

Rhyme Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Writing of one's own name, Naming the letters in

their name, ABC writing, Story Writing, Digit-Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness

(ABC song), Letter Discrimination, Letter Identification, Language Comprehension,

Language Expression, Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger (median=

30.5 seconds), Fingertapping with Non-dominant Index Finger (median= 29.00 seconds)


102









and Rapid Automatic Naming withl2 items (median= 14.40 seconds). Finally, the

following tasks met this criterion at both age levels: Naming of Letters in own name,

Digit-Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness, Letter Identification, Letter

Discrimination, Language Comprehension and Expression, Fingertapping with

Dominant and Non-dominant Index Fingers, and Rapid Automatic Naming for 12 items.

Conclusions

These results suggest that including working memory and short-term memory

tasks in preschool screening batteries along with tasks of phonological awareness may

increase the predictive validity of these procedures for identifying children between 3

and 4 years of age who are at risk for reading difficulties. The role of memory in this

regard needs to be studied with a much larger and more diverse population.

Limitations and Weaknesses

The lack of age appropriate language tasks is a primary weakness of this study.

Many of the oral language skills were too easy for the three year olds. Furthermore, a

much larger group of children should be tested from a greater range of socioeconomic

backgrounds. These changes alone could change the predictors for both the ALL

Literacy and Language Index scores.

Future Research

For future studies a more diverse population will be sought so that the number of

subjects will be more representative of the population (i.e., socioeconomic status,

gender, IQ). Children should also be assessed using initial control measures of their

receptive and expressive language abilities, as well as, their cognition (nonverbal

intelligence test or standardized IQ test) before being administered the experimental

protocols. Measurements should include more timed tasks in order to analyze individual


103









speed of processing which may add more variability of scores. Another addition would

be to reevaluate the child over several years, such as, at three years, four years, and

six months after the child begins formalized instruction, kindergarten (as suggested by

Wilson & Lonigan, 2009) and in the first grade.

Table 4-1. Significant predictors of the ALL.
ALL Emergent Literacy ALL Language
3-year-olds 4-year-olds 3-year-olds 4-year olds

Letter Identification Rhyme N/A Visual Short-Term
Knowledge Memory
Rhyme Judgment Digit-Word Span Rhyme knowledge
Backward
Segmentation Digit-Word Span
Backward


104











APPENDIXA
LETTER TO PARENTS


i UNIVERSITY OF

SFLORIDA

Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders


336 Dauer Hall
0 Box 117420
Gainesville, FL 32611-7420
(352) 392-2113
Fax (352) 846-0243


June 9, 2008


Dear Parent,


My name is Sue Ann Eidson and I am currently a doctoral student at the University of
Florida in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders under the direction
of Dr. Linda Lombardino. I have been a practicing licensed speechllanguage pathologist
for the last 30+ years and have decided to go back to school to pursue my doctorate in
Speech/Language Pathology.

After many years of practice as a licensed speechlanguage pathologist, I now am very
focused on the early diagnosis of reading disabilities in young preschoolers (specifically
3 and 4 year olds). The IRB approved #2008U-0342 study focuses on the possible early
skills of major importance in the development of reading skills. These domains are in
rhyming, phonological awareness, copying, and memory skills. This is a longitudinal
study and your child will be tested for their p-reeading abilities now and then again in
one year.

This testing wilt take approximately 30-45 minutes with necessary play breaks included. I
have enclosed a consent form which describes the rights of you and your child during
the study as well as copies of my Florida license and certification by my professional
organization, the American Speech/Language/Hearing Association.

Finally, I would like to thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. I will
be available to answer any questions you may have at the following phone number:
352/215-9892. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at any
time




Sue Ann Eidson, MS, CCC/SLF
Doctoral Candidate
University of Florida
Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders
27D Dauer Hall
PO Box 117420
Gainesvitle, FL 32611-7420
352/392-2041; Ext. 293
352/215-9892



\.,\ L. ;LI .j l ."F, r'Lnr;^ ],,-tRL~tL r


105










APPENDIX B
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 2006-2007



# UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA


Departmrnt of Cowranunication Sciences 336 Puer [all
SODiwordm Pp.O- IBox 14

Gainesvitle, Florida 32611-7420
Ap d by (352) 39-2113
Lnriwu y 01 Flodd Fax 32) 846-0243
ASlilubo"l Review Bokud f02 S
For Us Throuh 04im2007


Prolocal TiLl; JdmrtiJfyin Prmechool Wnh Are At-Rkk for Reading DisabUitle Ples rem d th
connt decwram t carefully beoran y. kdEdee 9 yew yur child Io pirtclpare In latim udy.

Paro r nIf he Retarr h Sltldy: We plun iL ol sisyt*dvu rw yeats o bcip us idealiry chtiidn
betwca 3 und 4 years of age who pight e "z nri" (r m redding disabhly whe they rmach grde schol.

Duntg ihe first ar, w-e pla iogivte asrics ftw t clivides that we have devbopd nd dctcmineu if these
*iilies rt aipppri a for cbtWlden between n Iand4 y ~gof a One yuar later, when the childse awrc
bcewn 4 ndi 5 yrarm ofge, we plun tt let te lcbildreotgirn n a s5aI4nrdi;ed ttt orf mrgent Ljcracy.


Iftc kt ivies givan in Ihe chLhi wbt n ey e between 3 ad 4 yea of agc ae able wo prc on a paidri'lcd ih Ist mc-ignt tgilrmay icat given l Ibem when they are hcrcwcn 4 and 5 yeas of a we will
be xesmful in ideaifyirg preschooler who mignh benefit mgrdy frim specid inructional stracgiu that
should help lssn the acvcrity or even avoid ta reading problems.

What will Vour child b mked to do in 'be 9y?
You rtlild will be cvuluata by a licunsl Specc Languesg rPthologitl Your child will be evaluated one lime
when he onr sie is between 3 add 4 yen of age d one lime the fullawing ycar when he or she is hbLwcen 4
aMd 5 rin of ge.


rn lhe Firs year. your crluld wi I tesled at your hanm or an your ch id school in on seio-n. Yoi chi d will t
a4dd le parucipaLc in uuvitis that have been lirtked t lnr radingr succe Thews include ( workingng
irinmor skills. (2) rhymLrng skill, (3j copying sil, (4) finger ippng and (4) phlnnoricral preen ine hkillt.


106













In the second yea. your child will be given a slandanlrdid ist called The Assessm of Lieracy and
Language (ALL) in one session. This test is used to help identify children between the ages of 4 and years who
are showing signs of spoken language andor emetgatc literacy problems.


Your child will be provided with the opportunity to take short breaks between tasks, and will be given longer
breaks if needed. Approved by
Unrersily ol Floida
Instlituonal Review Boar 02
Time Rauied Protool 04
Ti- For Use Through 04I 7
The two testing sessions (ycar I and year 2) will take belwaen 46 nd 60 minutes


RisL% and BRene tA
There ar no risks associated with this study. There is no direct benefit to the child or their family from this
irudy.


Comnptpnlion:
There will he no compensation offered for participation in this study.


Co(nfldenl llty
VOLu chtld's identity wilt be kept confidential to the extend provided by the law. Your child will be assigned a
code number and all reference to your child and iheCr performance in the study will only be identified using the
assigncd code number. The code number will remain with the child throughout Ihe course of he study- Their
anOtnym~uL test rcsulls may be archived for funtre rcarch. Your child's name (code number) and you contact
infonnaiir n will only appear w ih the evalution sheet which will be kept in a file separate from ihc lest
material fur referecc in one year from the initial visit. This file will be kept in a locked and secured location in
the Dept. of Communicalion Sciences and Disorde-s. You are asked to keep the University of Florida Speech
and Hcaring Clinic informed of any address or phone number changes over the course of the study.


Voluntary Parricip dati
11lc participation of your child in this study is completely voluntary and there is not penalty for not
par rcipanng.


Right io withdraw from the s udv:
You have the righl to withdraw your child from the study at anytime without consequence,


107













Whom la contact f vgu have guestiTw w bouti the study;


Sue Ann Eidson, MS. CCC. SLP; LUF Deptmient of Communicalion Sciences and Disorders; Box 117420,
Unterity of Fonda; Gaincsvillt, FL 32611-7420


Ltnda Lombardino, Ph-D-; UPF Deparment ofommunicacion Sciences and Duorders; Box 117420. University
oflornda; Gaincsville. FL 32611-7420


W'h*hrn ro ontAc obut right is a research prticdelankI the irudy


UFIRB Office: Box 1 12250;, nivrsity of Florida; GaiPn.ill, FL 32611 -2250; phone: 3523920433


Agreement:


I hawc received the procedure described above. I volunteer my child to participarc in the procedure and I have
received a copy of this description.


Participant: Dtre:


Principle Invesilgator! Drale


Principle Invesriator:; Dale:









App ved by
Unefrlly or Florida
flt$IlullObL RFevw Boawd 02
Prot"l U Thro 4 a
Fw Use Thmrwh &1207


108











6

Child Assent Form





All children will not be assessed until the caregiver has signed and dated the attached
consent form. All children will be read a statement about the task and then asked if they
wish to participate


"Hi (child's name). My name is Miss Sue Ann and I am here to do some fun
activities with you today. Is that okay with you? If you feel tired, let me
know and we can stop and take a break. Okay?













Approved by
University of Florida
institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2006-U-0342
For Use Through 04/12/2007


109











APPENDIX C
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 2008-2009


, UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA


Approved by
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2006-o
For Use Through 05/27/2009


Department of Communication Sciences
& Disorders


336 Dauer Hall
P.O. Box 117420
Gainesville, Florida 32611-7420
(352) 392-2113
Fax (352) 846-0243


Informed Conset


Protocol Title: Identifying Prschoolers Who Ar At-Risk for Reading Disabilities Please read this
consent document carefully before you decide to allow your child to participate in this study.




Purose of the Research Study: We plan to conduct a study over two years to help us identify children
between 3 and 4 years of age who might be "at risk" for a reading disability when they reach grade school.


During the first year, we plan to give a series of test activities that we have developed and determine if these
activities are appropriate for children between 3 and 4 years of age. One year later, when the children are
between 4 and 5 years of age, we plan to test the children again on a standardized test of emergent literacy.

If the activities given to the children when they are between 3 and 4 years of age are able to predict their scores
on a standardized test emergent literacy test given to them when they are between 4 and 5 years of age, we will
be successful in identifying preschoolers who might benefit greatly from special instructional strategies that
should help lessen the severity or even avoid later reading problems.


What will your child be asked to do in the study?
Your child will be evaluated by a hicensd Speech/Language Patholcgist or a rcfscarch assistant *aho ;s
supervised by this professional. Your child will be evaluated one time when he or she is between 3 and 4 years
o'f ge and one time the following year when he or she is bulween 4 3nd 5 : .rs of age


110











In the first year, your child will be tested ai yor home or at your child's school in one session. Your child will
be asked to participate in activities at have been linked to later reading success. These include (I) working
memory skills, (2) rhyming skills, (3) copying skills, (4) ringer tapping, and (4) phonological processing skills.
Some of the tasks will be given orally and so ar paper and pencil tasks.


In the second year. your child will be given a standardized teI called The Asessmentf Leracy and
Language ALL) in one session as wcl as the test protocol given in Year I of the study. This ALL is used to
help identify children betwRen be ages of4 and yean who ae showing signs of spoken language an r
emergent literacy probems.-


Your child will be provided with the opportunity to take short breaks between lasks, and will be given longer
beaks if needed If de child is unable to complete the testin during one 45 minute block of time another
session will be scheduled for another day.


Titme Reuired
The two testing sessions (Year I and Ycar 2) will lake between 46 and 60 minutes


Riskt ald ..Ba1l
Thern ar no risks associated with this study. 'rhre is no direct benefit to the child or their family from this
study.

Approved by
C)nt3a0 oi University ac Fonda
"ristiutionar Review Board 02
Thncr will be no compensation offered for participation in this study. Pr toco: #0 20 -U-p342
For Use Through _7g


Your child's idtUily will be kept confidntial to the cxteni provided by thL law. Your child will be assigned a
code number and all refterncc to your child and their performance in the study wi I only be identi fed using the
assigned code number. Th' cod number will remain with the child throughout the course of h study. Their
anonymous test results may be archived for future research. Your child's name (code number) and you contact
inftknation will only appear with the evaluation shet which ill be kept in a file separate from the est
=maianj f'r ti e'-rn4 min lme >'ea fre the initial 'ist. You arn auskd k cp U'ni~rs -y of Florida Speech
..j ^ ig Cr' ... -i -.:. d 2 any ad n-.st r phein uimflbt% ,J. cS a i. h.rw : 'h .,;ii.




-* ; l| n ~ ih rl.n--r- 1" ** .***. *













in th lirt ycar. your child will be listed at yow home or a your child's school in ne session. Yor child will
be asked to puiicipate in udivities that have been linked o Ilater reading success. These include () working
memory skills, (2) rhyming skills, (3) copying skills, (4) linger tapping and (4) phonological processing skills.
Some of the tasks will be given orally and sme are paper and pencil ta"ks.


n the second year. yur child will be given a ndamrdied ics called The Anrenwa ofLierary nd
Lamnage (ALL) in one ssion as well as the test pmtocol given in Year I of the study. This ALL is used to
help idenify children b wenw the ~agF of 4 ad years who are showing sign of spoken langume and/or
cangent lit cy probkmc


Your child will be pmvided with Lbc opportunity to take short bfs bctwvn tass an d will be given longer
breaks if needed. 1f the child is unable Io complete the testing during one 45 minuic block of lim another
session will be scheduled for another day.


Time Refaired
The two tleting sessions (Year I and Year 2) will Uake between 46 and 60 minutes


Risks mad Bemef
Ther are no risks assqoated with Ihis uudy. There is o direct benefit to the child or their ranily from this
study.

Aproved by
ComesCMtio. UvrrF sy of FooIwa
Inslunionar Rve, Bosoe 02
There will be no conmpa stioi offcrd for participation in this tudy. Prolocor
For Use ThrouLh 0~ .


Your child's identity will be kept oonfidcntia to the extent provided by the law. Your child will be assigned a
code number and all reference to your child and their performance in the study -ill only be identified using the
assigned code number. The code number 'uill main with the child thnghout Ihe course of the Wsudy. Their
anonymOus test results may be archive d for futu rsca ch. YVou child's name (code number) and you contact
info rai ion will only appear with the evaluation shet which will be kept in a file separate from lh tes
riicrials for reerrence in in year from Lhe initial visit. You are asked to Iep the University of Florida Spcch
and I Icaring Clinic intfima- ofrany addzuss or phone number a s er fr r r Lhc cour or the study.




ELuJ (C pturrmti FntprL Lr


112













Voluntary Participation
The participation of your child in this study is completely voluntary and there is not penalty for not
participating.


Right to withdraw from the study:
You have the right to withdraw your child from the study at anytime without consequence.


Whom to contact if you have questions about the study:


Sue Anm Eidson, MS, CCC.SLP; UF Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Box 117420;
University of Florida; Gainesville, FL 32611-7420


Linda Lombardino, Ph.D.; UF Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Box 117420; University
of Florida; Gainesville, FL 32611-7420


Whom to contact shout rights as a research particiant in the study


UFIRB Office; Box 112250; University of Florida; Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; phone: 352/3920433


Arreement:


I have received the procedure described above. I volunteer my child to participate in the procedure and I have
received a copy of this description


Participant: Date:


Principle Investigator: -Nt 0K f CCC/ j. /m


Principle InvestigatorDate:


Approved by
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2006-U-0342
For Use Through 05/27/2009


Equal Oppnrtunity Employer


113













APPENDIX D
CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE


ASSFSSM ENT OF F.RTERACY AND IA tN1AGE


Caregiver Questionnaire


Child's Name:-
Chlld' Dateof Birth: Age:_ Grad:__
Pammrtls)'lt Guardlanial' Nlama(s:
Address:
es"- ~.


namei or ron Lm umpieunq auesxmrnnmirer:


Date Completed:


ReIationship to Child:



What concems you most about your childs development of language and reading skills?

What is your opinion of the classroom instruction that your child is receiving?


What do you want this evaluation to accomplish?


DYes DNo Was the pregnancy full term? If No, how many months was the pregnancy?

DYes DNo Were there any complications during pregnancy? If Yes please explain:

DYes DNo Did the mother take any medications during the pregnancy? If Yes, please explain:

OYes DNo Were there any complications at the time of birth? If Yes, please explain:

DYes ONo Has your child ever experienced difficulty with earinfections or hearing? If Yes please explain:

LJYes DNo Has your child undergone surgery or experienced a traumatic physical or emotional event? If Ye please explain:

Does or has your child experienced) any of the following:
DYes ONo Epilepsy/seizures.lf Yes, please explain:
OYes ONo Attention Deficit Disorder.If Ye, please explain:
OYes No Other neurological problems.If Yes, please explain:
Please list any other conditions your child has that could affect his or her progress in school

Please list any special services or therapy your child has received in the past or is receiving now:

ISBN 01S5il7t47.-4

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TO order,call:1-00-211-8378 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 B C E I9 1


114


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Estimate your child's age when he or she first demonstrated these behaviors.


Age
fed self
toilet trained
spoke first words


Age


Age
combined two words
used complete sentences
carried on a short conversation


DYes ONo Does your child have difficulty paying attention when people are speaking to him or her?
DYes O No Does your child have difficulty sustaining attention in tasks and play activities?
DYes ONo Is your child easily distracted?
OYes O No Does your child often fidget or squirm in his or her seat?
OYes OINo Does your child often lose things?
EYes ONo Is your child often forgetful in daily activities?
DYes r-No Does you child have difficulty waiting in lines or waiting for his or her turn?
OYes 1 No Does your child have difficulty paying attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities?




Sound Production
lYes O No Can you and other family members understand your child's speech?
DYes ONo Can people unfamiliar with your child understand him or her?
OYes ONo Does your child sound like other children his or her age?
Word and Sentence Production
LUYes UNo Does your child omit small words from sentences (eg, the,on, in, to, for, is, re)?
LiYes C No Does your child omit parts of words (e.g,-edfrom walked, -s from cups. -s from makes, and -ing from jumping)?
V Yes No Does your child have difficulty repeating new words or repeating long words?
O Yes O No Does your child repeat over and over words or sentences that he or she hears other people say?
OYes O No Does your child ever have difficulty saying complete sentences that you thlnk he or she should be able to say?
OYes ONo Does your child use question words (e.g,Where, How much)?
O Yes O No Does your child use negative words(eg., don't. Isn't, can't)?
OYes OMo Does your child use a variety of simple sentence types?
E Yes O No Does your child join sentences together using and, but, or (e.g,Maryrumpedrope, and Tom played bai)?
Listening Comprehension
DYes ONo Does your child act like he or she does not understand what people are saying to him or her?
OYes ONo Does your child often seem confused when you give instructions?
Vocabulary
OYes O No Does you child learn new words easily?
OYes C No Does your child have difficulty recalling words that he or she knows?
O Yes O No Does your child use a variety of words such as nouns,verbs, adjectives, and adverbs?
Storytelling
OYes NNo Does you child seem to have difficulty retelling the story of a personal event a favorite book, or a TV episode?
OYes ONo Does your child have difficulty explaining how to do something that he or she does regularly?


2


115


crawled
sat
stood
walked





















Print Concepts Including Book Handling
DYes ONo Can your child identify different parts of a book (e.g., cover,first page, titte)?
DYes No Can your child point to separate words on a page?
DYes ONo Does your child know that reading starts at the left and goes to the right?
OYes ONo Can your child match letters and words?
Alphabet Knowledge
DYes D No Can your child identify the letters from his or her name?
DYes 0 No Can your child print one or more letters in his or her name?
DYes ] No Can your child point to a few letters correctly on a page?
DYes O No Can your child name a few letters correctly on a page?
DYes O No Can your child name all the letters in the alphabet?
DYes ] No Can your child write his or her name?
DYes 0 No Can your child write all the letters in the alphabet?
SYes O No Can your child read a few words that he or she has seen in print before?
Phonics Knowledge
SYes O No Can your child match letters to the sounds they make?
DYes O No Can your child attempt to sound out a word that he or she has not seen before?
Phonological Awareness
OYes O No Does your child enjoy reciting nursery rhymes?
DYes O No Can your child tap out the syllables in simple words such as cow-boy, bose-wbol?
SDYes No Can your child tell you when two words rhyme like at and hot?
OYes C No Can your child tell you the number of syllables in words such as te-e-phone (has 3 syllables)?
OYes No Can your child tell you if two or three words begin with the same sound?
tYes ONo Does you child try to spell simple words (e.g, writes blfor bofl)
DYes No Can your child tell you the number of sounds in a simple word like baby (has four sounds)?
DYes ] No Can your child tell you which word is left when you take cup off of cupcake?





Please cirde the response that best describes your child's behavior.
Does your child show interests Ofrequently Osomdmtimes almost never ] never
in books?
Does your child ask you what certain frequently D sometimes D almost never ] never
words mean like labels or signs?
Does your child try to sound out Elfrequently a sometimes D almost never 0 never
printed words?
Can your child read words? E more than to U more than 5 Dafew no
Do you read stories to your child? D everyday almost everyday Osometimes C never
Does your child ask you to read Deveryday Dalmost everyday Osometimes 0 never
stones to him or her?
How many hours per week do you read 04 or more hours about 2-3 hours less than one hour
to or with your child at home?
coFrfned on next poge


116















Can your child remember some E remembers well O has difficulty remembering Owe don't read stories
of the stories that you have read
to him or her?
Can your child read a simple book Ocan read Dcan read a few words Orcannot read any words
without your help? some pages
How do you feel that your child D better than most O about the same as most O poorer than most
is doing in his or her development
of (pre)reading skills compared
to his or her age mates?





Have any of your child's family members had difficulty:
(if Yes, please explain.)
Family Member Comments

OYes ONo Hearing

OYes ONo Speaking clearly as a child

DYes ONo Putting sentences together as a child
DYes NoD Learning thealphabet

DYes CNo Learningtoread

O Yes ONo Learning to spell
DYes O No Writing sentences

DYes ONo School work in general

Have any of your child's family members received or are they receiving:
(If Yes, please explain.)

OYes O]No Speech and language therapy

O Yes O No Special school services for reading

DYes NOo Other special school services


Paen' Edcato H istr


Please Indicate highest level of education completed.
Mother
Less than high school (K-11)

High school or GED

Some college or technical school

Bachelor's degree

Graduate degree


Mother's occupation:

Father's occupation:





4


117









APPENDIX E.
RUBRIC FOR GRAD ING COPYING AND WRITING

Rating Scale Proximal Copying

Rating Scale for Traced Items:

2 points: minimal space between dotted line and child's tracing

1 point: same for but large difference in dotted line and child's tracing

0 points: scribble; not attempt; additional lines, loses form by straying more than inch
outside of the dotted line

Rating Scale for free form copying

2 points: same shape and form

1 point: same shape; added marks; rotated; distorted markings; used existing lines

0 points: scribbling; not attempt; no resemblance to target form


118









APPENDIX F
EXPERIMENTAL TASKS PROTOCOL I


Protocol 1: Subject:


Birthdate:


CA:


Preschool:


I. Phonological Subtests

a) Rhyming


Subtest One: (basal= 3
feedback allowed


correct; ceiling= 3 incorrect); two repetitions allowed; praise


Item Stimulus Response Score
T1 Boy toy-moon-cloud + -
T2 Hug duck- rug-sun + -
T3 Whale mail-si nk-foot + -
1 Paw straw-cake-door 1 0
2 Nest nail-vest-dog 1 0
3 Bee ice-key-book 1 0
4 Train fish-rain-box 1 0
5 Clock rock-park-truck 1 0
6 Flag bug- tag- egg 1 0
7 Rat cat- nut- plate 1 0
8 Sad black- mad- hat 1 0
Total Score


Subtest 2:


Item Response Score
T1 toy boy + -
T2 truck plant + -
1 fish play 1 0
2 door foot 1 0
3 cry sky 1 0
4 beak creek 1 0
5 pot knot 1 0
6 bay cloud 1 0
7 eight farm 1 0
8 hen pen 1 0
9 snack tack 1 0
10 sand cat 1 0
Total score


119











Task 3: Rhyme Knowledge


Directions: We're going to do something different again. I'm going to say a word and I
want you to tell me another word that rhymes with the one I say. Point to the pie and
say: Pie. Tell me a word that rhymes with pie. If child responds incorrectly, say: Some
words that rhyme with pie are by, fly, and sigh. If child responds correctly, say: That's
right! rhymes with pie.

Point to the bug and say: Bug. Tell me a word that rhymes with Bug. If child responds
incorrectly, say: Some words that rhyme with Bugare hug, mug, and rug. If child
responds correctly, say: That's right! rhymes with bug.

If child responds correctly, say: That's right! rhymes with pie.

Trial Item 1 Responses Score
T1. Pie +
T 2. Bug +-
1. Feet 1 0
2. Dog 1 0
3. Plate 1 0
4. Cap 1 0
Total Score


Task 4 Segmenting Sentences into Words


Items needed: different colored blocks; felt board/construction paper
Directions: Say to the student: I am going to say some words andl want you to
pick up a different block for every word you hear. Let's try one... "Mary (or child's
name)". Examiner places one block on the felt board then clears the felt board.

"Now you try one."

"Mary walks." (Child places two blocks on the felt board. If correct, "Very good.
That's right. I said two different words". If incorrect, training continues with the
following trials. Continue testing until child misses 2 in succession.
Trial Items

Item Stimulus Response Child Response Score
T1 Mary 1 block 1 0
T2 Mary walks. 2 blocks 1 0
T3 Baby. 1 block 1 0
T4 Baby cries. 2 blocks 1 0
T5 Dog. 1 block 1 0
T6 Dog barks. 2 blocks 1 0


120









T7 I fell. 2 blocks 1 0
T8 Mother eats apples. 3 blocks 1 0
T9 I love candy. 3 blocks 1 0


Continue testing until child misses 2 in a grouping.
Item Stimulus Response Child Response Score
la Dog. 1 block 1 0
lb Dog barks. 2 blocks 1 0
2a Mary jumps. 2 blocks 1 0
2b I jump. 2 blocks 1 0
3a Come here, Don. 3 blocks 1 0
3b Bob loves school. 3 blocks 1 0
4a Yesterday, I fell down. 4 blocks 1 0
4b What is your name? 4 blocks 1 0
5a Let's eat a pizza together. 5 blocks 1 0
5b When does the bus come? 5 blocks 1 0
Total Score


Task 5 Visual Match ina (Proximal)


Items needed: Stimulus packet; student answer booklet; preschool-sized pencil
or crayon

Instructions: "We are going to play a matching game. In each row, I want you
to point to the pictures, shapes, letters, numbers that look the same as what you see up


here


Let's try one..."


"Find the one that looks like the one up here".


Item Response Score
T1 wagon 1 0
T2 clock 1 0
T3 stop sign 1 0
T4 Ronald McDonald 1 0
1 dog 1 0
2 cupcake 1 0
3 flower 1 0
4 McDonald's Sign 1 0
5 Walk sign 1 0
6 Burger King sign 1 0
7 = 1 0









8 A 1 0
9 T 1 0
10 E 1 0
11 p 1 0
12 V 1 0
Total score


Task 6: Copying

Materials: preschool pencil with eraser; answer booklet; lined preschool paper

Directions: Say to the student, "I'm going to show you some lines. I want you to look at
each and copy it as well as you can".

Item Response Score
T1 curved line (trace) 0 1 2
T2 straight line (trace) 0 1 2
1 circle (trace) 0 1 2
2 vertical line (copy) 0 1 2
3 circle (copy) 0 1 2
4 X (copy) 0 1 2
5 1 012
6 A 012
7 E 012
8 V 012
10 I 012
Total Score


Task 7: Name Knowledge


Materials Needed: answer booklet; preschool pencil preschool crayon

Directions: I want you to write your name on this line right here (beginning point will be
marked with an "X"); Great job! Now name these letters for me... (Examiner points to
each letter... not necessarily in order for the child to name).

Scoring: (Letters written...correct or not)


Percentage Correct:


Scoring (Naming letters):


122









Percentage Correct:


Task 8: Written Knowledge


Writing ABCs:


- number of correctly formed letters without proper sequence


- number of letters/forms correctly named


012


012


Task 9: Finger Tapping


Exercise 1:

Materials Needed: Clown face; stopwatch.
Directions: I want you to push down on this clown's nose as many times as you
can with your pointy finger until say stop. (May need to shape/demonstrate the
procedure if the participant does not understand the instructions).

Directions for tester: You will need to set the stopwatch to 10 seconds and then
count how many times the child "taps" the nose in a 10 second count.





Dominant index finger: (10 seconds)

Trial # of taps
Trial 1
Trial 2
Average

Nondominant Index Finger: (10 secs)

Trial # of taps
Trial 1
Trial 2


123









Average I

Mean Difference between dominant and nondominant index finger:


Fingertapping Exercise II:


Materials: stopwatch

Activity: (Repetition task....child required to touch index finger to thumb 10x; record
the time it takes for the child to complete 10 touches is recorded; record the dominant
index finger then nondominant index finger).

Directions: Say...."You will need to touch your "pointy finger" to your thumb 10 xs."
(May need to shape/demonstrate the procedure if the participant doesn't understand).

Dominant index finger:

Trial time in seconds
Trial 1
Trial 2
Average

Nondominant Index Finger: (10 secs)

Trial time in seconds
Trial 1
Trial 2
Average

Mean Difference between dominant and nondominant index finger:


124









IV. Memory Skills

Task 10: Short Term Memory skills


a) Digit Span Forward

Instructions for child: I am going to say some numbers/words and you vUll need to say
just what I say. Let's try one:

Item Stimulus Response Score
T1 1 +-
T2 2-6 +
T3 fish-cat +-
1 1-4 10
4-9 1 0
cat-fish 1 0
2 2-5-7 1 0
6-8-1 1 0
fish-cat-cow 1 0
3 6-9-2-1 1 0
3-5-8-2 1 0
fish-cat-cow- 1 0
dog
Total

Administration and Scoring: At least 2 lists of random digits are given at each list
length, stating at Length 2. If both sequences at each length were correctly repeated,
the length of the next list is increased by one, and a further two lists given. If the child
fails to correctly repeat either of the two items at one length, no further lists were given.
When the child correctly recalls one of the two lists, a third list at that length is given. If
the third list was correctly repeated, two trials at the next length are given. If the child
fails the third item, testing stops. Span is scored as the maximum length at which the
child correctly recalls at least two sequences.


125









Task 11: Working Memory; Digit-Word Span (backward)


Task A-11: Instructions: I am going to say some numbers and you will need to say
the numbers backwards. "Let's try one".

You may train with colored blocks, animal picture cards or index cards with
numbers for visual cues. Use of picture cards can be used with the word span.
Discontinue testing when 4 consecutive errors occur.

Item Correct Response Score
response
T1 4-8 8-4 1 0
T2 4-6 6-4 1 0
T3 cow-cat cat-cow 1 0
T4 bird-fish fish-bird 1 0
If a child fails all
of the four trials,
discontinue
testing
1)1-4 4-1 1 0
cat-dog dog-cat 1 0
5-3 3-5 1 0
4-9fish-snake snake-fish 1 0
4-9 9-4 1 0
bird-ball ball-bird 1 0
2) fish-bird-cow cow-bird-fish 1 0
2-5-7 7-5-2 1 0
ball-bike-cow cow-bike-ball 1 0
6-8-1 1-8-6 1 0
snake-ball-bus bus-ball-snake 1 0
4-9-1 1-9-4 1 0


126









V. Orthographic Awareness


Task 12: Alphabet Awareness

Directions: Child required to sing the Alphabet Song.

Can sing the song without errors: 10
Can sing the song with 0-5 errors: 08
Can sing the song with 5-10 errors: 05
Can sing the song with 10-15 errors: 01
Cannot sing the song or doesn't know it: 0

Score:

Task 13: Letter Discrimination


Directions: Child required to find the letter in a field of five stimuli.

Item Response Score
T1 A 1 0
T2 B 1 0
1 P 1 0
2 E 1 0
3 C 1 0
4 D 1 0
5 S 1 0
6 Z 1 0
Total score

Task 14: Letter Naming (using the ALL protocol)

Directions: Therapist: "I want you to point to some letters. Look at these." (Point
to the appropriate row as you prompt the child). "Point to or Show me the letter
." There are no trial items in this task.


Item Response Score
1 A 10
2 c 10
3 x 10
4 o 10
5 Z 10
6 B 10
7 W 10
Total score


127









VI. Language Skills


Task 15: Story writing:

Task 15-A:
Directions: Child will be asked to write a story and then identify where it begins and
ends.
Materials needed: preschool lined paper and a preschool sized pencil with an eraser.


a) child identifies beginning of story
b) child identifies end of the story


(1) (0)
(1) (0)


Task 15-B:
Directions: Child will be asked to write their "ABCs" on the lined paper and then asked
to "read" them.


Scoring: a) exhibits left to right directionality
b) writes letters on the page
c) names the letters that they wrote


(1) (0)
(1) (0)
(1) (0)


Task 16. Listening Comprehension (Receptive Vocabulary). Present the child with a
simple sentence and then ask them a question about the statement they just heard.
Give 1 point for each correct response and 0 for incorrect responses or no response.
Discontinue testing after 3 consecutive error responses or if the trial items are in error.


Trial 1. The duck is swimming.

Trial 2. Daddy is driving a car.
(1,0)



Item 1. The dog is big.


"Who is swimming?

"What is Daddy driving?




"Who is big?"


Item 2. The kitty is playing."Who is playing?


Item 3. The baby likes milk.
0)

Item 4. The puppy is sleepy.
0)

Item 5. The boy plays ball.
0)


"What does baby like?


"Who is sleepy?"


"What does the boy play?"


128


Scoring:


(1, 0)


(1, 0)

(1, 0)









Item 6. The bug is in the jar.

Item 7. The car is little.
0)

Item 8. The pudding is too hot.
0)


"Where is the bug?"


"What is little?"


"Is the pudding too hot?"


Score:


Task 17: Language Expression/Sentence repetition


Child will be required to imitate the following sentences. 2 repetitions allowed.

Instructions: Therapist directs the child to "Say what say." If the child doesn't
understand this first directive, use the following directive using a stuffed animal or doll.
Do you know how to play "Telephone"? I'll show you. I will say something into
your ear and then you say what I say to the elephant with the big ears next to you.
Be sure to say it loud enough so he can hear. Let's see if he can say what we
say!! I bet he can!!!


Trial 1: "Baby"
Trial 2: "Hello puppy"


(1;9)
Item 1:
Item 2:
Item 3:

(2;0)
Item 4:
Item 5:


Kitty.
I sleep.
I play.


I like juice.
It is mine.


Item 6: The cat is jumping.
Item 7: Can he play ball?

(3;0)
Item 8: What is your name?
Item 9: He likes toast and milk.
Item 10: He is not running fast.

Score:
Comments on Articulation:


(1,0)


(+) (-)
(+) (-)


(+) (-)
(+) (-)
(+) (-)


(+) (-)


(+) (-)
(+) (-)


(+) (-)


(+) (-)
(+) (-)


(+) (-)


129










Task 18: Rapid Naming
The child will be trained to name objects in a matrix as quickly and as accurately as
possible. The instructor will train by doing the procedure two times before asking the
child to do the rapid naming. Be sure to remind the child to name the objects as fast as
they ca n.
Trial One:

Dog Cup Cat Bike

Item I: 8 objects

dog cup bike cat


cup bike cat

Trial One:


Item 2: 8 objects

dog cup bike cat


cup bike cat


Item Two: seconds
Average:


Item 3: 12 objects

cup cat bike dog

bike dog cup cat


cup dog cat


Item 3:


secs.


Item 4: 12 objects

cup cat bike dog

bike dog cup cat


130


dog


seconds


Errors:


dog


Errors:


bike


Errors:









cup dog cat bike

Item 4: secs. Errors:
Average:


























Figure F-1. 42 month old writing sample of her trip to disney world


I I I Iv .


I I --


Figure F-2. Undifferentiated writing; writing of child's name and story (38 month old)


132


/a L c Lc,.t I -e I t -cu


Hh li Jj r\k LI IVlm I'lr



































































Figure F-3. Undifferentiated writing sample; story writing (36 months)


















133


a~~ ,,,,,


-----








crtq~~l _


- ------iI-r^^ -^


--- -
). :Ii




_...


Figure F-4. 47. month old writing sample


134


,. M T







y, i I1tw


r ---/--- --- ; .

.-- 2- ... .. ..











Figure F-5. Same child at 4.11

















135








.A"acBl d e FF" GH iKJjKK.LIMmNnOz oP qRr Ss











'" .-...........-. -I-....... ----------. ..._






Figure F-6. 46 month old writing sample


















136











% kl0


'.. ,' in u *
c^-j--_ --- ------ ----




Figure F-7. Same child writing sample at4.10



























137









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Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge,
MA: MITPress.

Adams, M. J., and Bruck, M. (1993). Word recognition: The interface of educational
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Adams, A. M., & Gathercole, S. E. (1995). Phonological working memory and speech
production in preschool children; Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 403-
404.

Agresti, A. & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences: Third
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Agresti, A. & Finlay, B. (1997). Comparing groups: Analysis of variance methods, pp.
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American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2000). Roles and responsibilities
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Anthony, J. L., Williams, J. M., McDonald, R., Corbitt-Shindler, D., & Francis, D. J.
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Ashby, J., Rayner, K. (2006). Literacy development: Insights from research on skilled
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Baddeley, A. (1986). Working Memory; New York: Oxford University Press.

Baddeley, A. (1992). Working Memory; Science; January, 255 (5044); 556-559.

Baddeley, A. D., Gathercole, S. E., Papagno, C. (1998). The phonological loop as a
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138









Badian, N. (2000). Prediction and prevention of reading failure. York Press, Inc.;
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Ball, E.W. (1997). Phonological awareness: Implications for whole language and
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Berninger, V. (2000). Development of language by hand and its connections to
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Sue Ann Eidson was awarded her doctoral degree from the University of Florida

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders in the spring of 2010. Over the

course of thirty-five years of clinical practice her research interests lie in the diagnosis

and treatment of acquired alexia, developmental dyslexia, and Hispanic persons with

these diagnoses, diagnosis and treatment of Spoken and Written Language Disabilities,

assessment and treatment of Developmental Dyslexia; Working Memory in the young

child and its influence on the acquisition of reading, writing and the acquisition,

assessment, and intervention for English Language Learners (Hispanic) with reading,

writing and language problems.

She has also taught and supervised graduate students at the University of Florida

and the University of Central Florida in the area of Communication Sciences and

Disorders.

After graduating, she plans on carrying on her research at a university with more

bilingual and low socioeconomic preschool students in the area of reading disability

prediction and characteristics in the young child and focusing more on the underlying

constructs of emergent literacy and emergent writing.





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1 PREDICTIVE INDICATORS OF READING SKILLS IN THREE AND FOUR YEAR OLD CHILDREN By SUE ANN EIDSON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Sue Ann Eidson

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3 In memory of my mother, Elsie Mae Eidson

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my father, George T. Eidson, Jr., who has insti lled in me a love of learning throughout life and who has been supportive in all my goals. I also thank my loving daughter, Analisa, for her support and love, which have helped me through the past five years. She is a strong individual and has helped in making me a stronger and more positive academic. I also want to thank my extended family for their understanding and support throughout this life change. I could not have done this with out ALL of my family, friends and peers! I wish to express my deepest thanks to Dr. Linda J. Lombardino, who guided me in the selection of my dissertation topic and then provided me with steady encouragement and wisdom throughout the long process of completing my paper. Without her patience and constructive criticism, I would not h ave been able to achieve this goal. I also wish to thank my committee members for their support as well. Dr. Altmann unselfishly gave me ideas about my statistical methods and how t o write them clearly and concisely. She also reminded me often of the word, FOCUS!! This was a longitudinal study in which many statistical analyses and designs were utilized with her and Dr. Lombardinos guidance. Dr. Bridget Franks was key in teaching me the cognitive and psychological growth that a child undergoes when lear ning to read. She was wonderful in sparking my imagination and interest in the neuropsychology of reading and writing development. Dr. Kenneth Logan was so kind to come forward and become a committee member when I needed him most and I will always appreciate his kindness and support throughout the writing process of my dissertation and my years here at the University of Florida.

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5 Finally I would like to publicly thank all of my tried and true friends who served as my inspiration for picking myself up when things were not going as well as I had thought they should be. They supported and believed in me by supplying me with friendly nudges to move forward when I needed it. My friends have always heard the song in my heart, and sang it to me when my memory failed. I also thank the God of my understanding for testing my faith and showing me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4 :13).

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF TABLES ......................................................................................................................... 8 LIST OF FIGURES ....................................................................................................................... 9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ...................................................................................................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................. 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE ...................................................... 14 Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 14 Review of the Litera ture ..................................................................................................... 17 Cognitive Predictors of Early Reading and Spelling Ability ................................... 17 Phonological awareness ...................................................................................... 17 Orthographic awareness ...................................................................................... 22 Emergent w riting ................................................................................................... 23 Language skills ...................................................................................................... 27 Rapid automatized naming.................................................................................. 29 Fine motor functioning .......................................................................................... 30 Memory ................................................................................................................... 30 Environmental Factors ................................................................................................ 33 Improving Screening for Risk of Early Reading Failure ................................................ 34 Statement of the Problem .................................................................................................. 36 2 METHODS ........................................................................................................................... 38 Participants .......................................................................................................................... 39 Pilot Study ............................................................................................................................ 40 Task Development .............................................................................................................. 41 Final Experimental Battery ................................................................................................ 47 Phonological Awareness ............................................................................................ 48 Segmentation ............................................................................................................... 49 Orthographic Awareness ............................................................................................ 50 Memory .......................................................................................................................... 54 Fine Motor Functioning ............................................................................................... 56 Language ...................................................................................................................... 56 Rapid Automatic Naming ............................................................................................ 57 Data Collection Procedures: .............................................................................................. 58 Data Reduction .................................................................................................................... 58

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7 3 RESULTS ............................................................................................................................. 67 Testing for Normality of Scores ........................................................................................ 67 Subtests with Normal Distribution at Each Age Level ................................................... 69 Comparisons of Performance of Three and Four year olds on Tasks Meeting Normality at Both Age Levels ........................................................................................ 70 Predic tors of ALL Literacy and Language Scores at Three Years .............................. 71 Predictors of ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Scores at Age Four ................. 72 Correlations .......................................................................................................................... 74 Summary of Results ........................................................................................................... 74 4 DISCUSSION ...................................................................................................................... 90 What do We Know About Predictors? ............................................................................. 90 Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores .......................................................................... 93 Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores for Both Three and Four year olds ........... 97 Predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy and Lang uage Index Scores ..................... 98 Appropriate Screening Tasks for Both Age Levels ...................................................... 102 Limitations and Weaknesses .......................................................................................... 103 Future Research................................................................................................................ 103 APPENDIX A LETTER TO PARENTS ................................................................................................... 105 B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 2006 2007 ........................................................... 106 C INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 2008 2009 ........................................................... 110 D CLIENT QUESTIONNARE .............................................................................................. 114 E RUBRIC FOR GRADING COPYING AND WRITING ................................................. 118 F EXPERIMENTAL TASKS PROTOCOL I ...................................................................... 119 LIST OF REFERENCES ......................................................................................................... 138 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................................................................................... 151

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Tasks for three year olds .............................................................................................. 60 2 2 Experimental tasks given at three years of age administered to the same students at four years of age with................................................................................ 65 3 1 Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measured at Three Years of Age (N = 38) ........ 77 3 2 Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measured at Four Years of Age (N = 38) ............ 79 3 3 Status of tasks for meeting skewness and kurtosis values for being normally distributed in threeand 4 year old data ..................................................................... 8 1 3 4 Comparison of mean differences of normally distributed subtests at ages 3 and 4 ................................................................................................................................. 82 3 5 Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy with 3year olds (N= 38) Forced Entry Procedure ......................................................................................... 83 3 6 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 3 Years N= 38) without highly correlated tasks .............................................................................. 83 3 7 Forced Entry Regression for 3year old performance on the ALL Language Index score (N= 38) ....................................................................................................... 84 3 8 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 3 Years (N = 38) without highly correlated tasks. .................................................................................... 85 3 9 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 years (N = 38); Forced Entry Procedure ..................................................................................... 85 3 10 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 Years (N = 38); without highly correlated tasks .......................................................................... 86 3 11 Forced Entry Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 4 years (N=38) ... 86 3 12 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at Four Years (N = 38) without highly correlated tasks ..................................................................................... 87 3 13 Correlations for three year olds with normal distribution ....................................... 88 3 14 Significant correlations for 4year olds ....................................................................... 89 4 1 Significant predictors of the ALL. ............................................................................... 104

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9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page F 1 42 month old writing sample of her trip to disney world ......................................... 132 F 2 Undifferentiated writing; writing of childs name and story (38 month old) .......... 132 F 3 Undifferentiated writing sample; story writing (36 months) .................................... 133 F 4 47. month old writing sample ...................................................................................... 134 F 5 Same child at 4.11 ....................................................................................................... 135 F 6 46 month old writing sample ....................................................................................... 136 F 7 Same child writing sample at 4.10 ............................................................................. 137

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10 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S RM Rhyme Memory RJ Rhyme Judgment RK Rhyme Knowledge SEG Segmentation of words in sentences Copy Copying figures and letters at close proximity ABCs Writing ABCs to the best of the childs ability WLNM Writing letters in their name NLNM Naming letters in their name after writing them SW Story Writing SEQM Sequential Memory untimed DWSFWD Digit word span forward; repetition of spans of digits and words presented orally DWSBKD Digit word span backward (working memory task) VisSTM Visual short term memory SEQM2min repetition of a sequence of pictures, forms, or digits after a two minute delay SEQM5min repetition of a sequence of pictures, forms, or digits after a five minute delay AA Alphabetic Awareness LD Letter Discriminat ion LI Letter Identification FTDIF Finger tapping with index finger of dominant hand FTNDIF Finger tapping with index finger of nondominant hand Pincdom Pincer tapping with thumb and index finger of dominant hand Pincerndom Pincer tapping with thumb and in dex finger of nondominant hand

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11 LC Language Comprehension LE Language Expression RAN8 Rapid Automatic Naming; the time it takes for a child to name a matrix of eight pictures RAN12 Rapid Automatic Naming; the time it takes for a child to name a matrix of tw elve pictures 1 Whenever a task is followed by a one ( RM1), the results are from Year 1 or when the child was age 3 2 Whenever a task is followed by a two ( RM2), the results are from Year 2 or whe n the child was age 4 EFA Exploratory Factor Analysis

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12 Abstr act of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy PREDICTIVE INDICATORS OF READING SKILLS IN THREE AND FOUR YEAR OLD CHILDREN By Sue Ann Eidson A ugust 2010 Chair: Linda J. Lombardino Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors in threefour year olds that predict language and literacy skills at the earliest stages of reading acquisition. It has already been established that several phonological (i.e., rhyme) and nonphonological (i.e., syntax) skills in kindergarteners predict later reading abiliti es (Badian, 1994, 2000; Catts, 1997; Scarborough & Dobrich, 1990). The main question addressed was Do similar behaviors predict literacy in young children? Few studies have examined predictive skills in children younger than five years of age. This major question was approached by studying longitudinal behaviors of 38 children on tasks that are normally distributed at three years and four years of age relative to their performance on the Assessment of Language and Literacy (ALL; Lombardino, Lieberman, Bro wn, 2005). Results of the study showed that th e best predictors of the ALL Language Index score fr om exploratory tasks administered to the three year olds included Rhyme Judgment ( B = .394; t = 2.27; p = .031) and Segmentation ( B = .447; t = 2.06; p = .050) when a forced entry procedure was utilized in the analysis When all highly related correlations were removed from the analysis, t he task s that best predicted the ALL Language Index score at age four included Visual Short Term Memory ( B = .487; t =

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13 3.341; p =.002) Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .352; t = 2.595; p =.015 ) and Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .255; t = 1.907; p =.067) which was a moderate predictor At age three the best predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score included Letter Identification ( B = .516 ; t = 2.54 p = .017) and Rhyme Judgment ( B = .270; t = 1.99 p = .056). At four years of age, the best predictors in this area were Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .512; t = 4.123 p = .000), Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .394; t = 3.288; p = .003) and Segmentation ( B = .303; t = 2.128; p =.042). These findings are in agreement with other literature (Jorm,1983; Case, 1989; Gathercole, et al., 2004; de Jong,1998; Swanson, et al., 2009; Baddeley,2000; Gathercole & Baddeley,1989) that shows the contribution of working me mory phonological awareness ( Adams, 1990; Goswami & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000; Scarborough, 1998) to the development of literacy Findings from this study indicate that short term memory, sequential memory visual short term memory and wo rking memory should be studied further as potential predictors. They should be considered as potentially valuable constructs in the early identification of reading disabilities underlying well known and validated predictors.

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14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND REV IEW OF LITERATURE Introduction Reading disability is the primary deficit in 80% of all learning disabilities (Lyon, B. Shaywitz, S. and Shaywitz, B., 2003). The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 1998) reported that 69% of fourth graders and 67% of eighth graders were reading below proficiency levels. Thirty eight percent of the fourth graders had not ac hieved even basic or fundamental skills in reading. In 1998, the Committee on Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children of the National Research Council resolved, the educational careers of 25 40% of American children are imperiled because they dont read well enough, quickly enough, or easily enou gh. (Shaywitz, 2003, p. 30). While reading disabilities are associated with both environmental and biological factors (Bowey, 2005), poverty is associated with the vast majority of children who are at ri sk for reading failure (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). In numerous studies, both cognitive (intrinsic factors in the child) and non cognitive (extrinsic factors) variables associated with reading achievement have been identified (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). The cognitive factors that best predict reading skill are: phonological awareness, letter knowledge, verbal memory, naming, and overall language development. The noncognitive factors that best predict reading skill are socioeconomic status and home liter acy experiences (Badian, 2000). Identifying and remediating weak foundational skills in children at the earliest stages of schooling is the best approach to preventing reading disabilities. Knowledge of word meanings, concepts of print, phonological awaren ess, and alphabetic

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15 knowledge provide the foundation for the early stages of learning to read (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998; Bowey, 2005; Adams, 2000). These foundational skills are usually developed during the first five years of life. Emergent literacy is described as the rapid period of growth in language acquisition prior to the beginning of formal literacy instruction in kindergarten (Sulzby & Teale, 1991; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998; Lonigan, Burgess, & Anthony, 2000). The development of preliteracy kn owledge precedes the more explicit literacy instruction provided in the first grade. Many children enter kindergarten without the prerequisite skills needed to learn to read (Scarborough, 1989; Dickinson & Snow, 1987; Duncan & Brooks Gunn, 1997; Vernon Feagans, et al., 2001; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998) placing them at risk for meeting the rigorous demands of formal reading and writing instruction. The development of screening instruments such as the Dyslexia Early Screening Test (Nicolson & Fawcett, 1996), the Phonological Awareness Literacy ScreeningKindergarten (Invernizzi, Meier, Swank, & Juel, 1999) and the PreK edition (Invernizzi, Sullivan, & Meier, 2001), the Test of Early Reading Ability (Reid, Hresko, & Hammill 1989) and the Preschool Word and Pr int Awareness Assessment (Justice & Ezell, 2002) have constituted a significant step forward in the systematic early identification and management of childre n at risk of reading problems. Currently, we can predict which children are at risk for later rea ding disabilities at five years of age but we have very few reliable methods of making this prediction in younger children (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998; Scarborough, 2001). There are many advantages for early identification of reading failure. Children who are identified as being at risk for reading failure at ages three four years of age have far

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16 less educational ground to make up than those identified in elementary school. Furthermore, the test profile of a preschool child should yield more reliable and p recise results than one obtained from an older child whose test performance may have become conflated by extrinsic factors such as different teaching methods or intrinsic factors such as motivation (Muter, 2000). Teachers working with younger children often report that it is easier to work with younger children who have not established bad habits that must be unlearned before learning more effective strategies than with children who are failing to keep pace with their peers and experience excessive frustra tion and feelings of failure. In addition, recent research demonstrates a substantial link between early reading failure and later social adjustment problems or delinquent behaviors (Maughan, 1994, 1995). Finally, early identification has economic advanta ges. Implementing a two to three times we ekly teaching program over a oneyear period for a 6 year old is more economical than having to provide lon g term daily assistance to a 10 year old who is years behind his/her peers in reading ability (Muter, 2000). The literature in language and literacy development unequivocally and overwhelmingly supports the benefits of early identification and instruction. The long term goal of this research is to develop a screening instrument to aide preschool teachers in identifying students who are at risk for deficits in emergent literacy development. Toward this end, the immediate goal of this study is to identify tasks that will serve to predict which preschool children are at risk for later l anguage and literacy deficits. This goal is addressed by: 1) developing tasks that are appropriate for normally developing three year olds and 2 ) determining the predictive value of these tasks in

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17 identifying the three year old childrens language and lit eracy abilities on standardized test measures one year later. Review of the Literature This section addresses topics that have shown empirically to support the development of early literacy. These topics are: phonological awareness ; orthographic knowledge/ awareness ; oral /receptive language skills; rapid automatic naming; emergent writing skills (story writing and name knowledge) ; fine motor functioning; memory (short term memory, sequential memory (immediate and delayed), and environmental factors. Cogniti ve Predictors of Early Reading and Spelling Ability Phonological awareness Phonological awareness is the awareness of the sound structure of lan guage in general (Yopp, 2000). Phonological awareness is the skill of knowing that oral language has a structur e th at is separate from meaning. Phonological awareness is attending to the structure within words. For example, a student with phonologic awar eness understands beg has one syllable an d three phonemes; egg has one syllable and two phonemes. Phonologica l awareness includes the awareness of larger units of sound as well as phonemes, such as syllables and onsets and rimes. It is the ability to generate and recognize rhyming words, to count syllables, to separate the beginning of a word from it's ending, a nd to identify e ach of the phonemes in a word ( Treiman & Zukowsay, 1991). There is a considerable amount of evidence suggesting that phonological awareness is one of the most important predictors of learning to read in young children. Children with good early phonological awareness go on to show good reading skills

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18 (Bryant, Maclean & Bradley, 1990; Wagner & Torgesen, 1987); children with poor reading skills normally show concomitant weak phonological awareness (Bradley & Bryant, 1978; Snowling, 1981; Swan & Goswami, 1997), and training in phonological awareness can improve reading progress (Bradley & Bryant, 1978; Hatcher, Hulme & Ellis, 1994; Troia, 1999). More recently, studies have led researchers to conclude that it is awareness of phonemes, rather tha n of larger segments such as rimes and syllables, that is most closely predictive of learning to read (Hulme, Hatcher, Nation, Brown, Adams & Stuart, 2002; MacMillan, 2002; Muter, Hulme, Snowling, & Taylor, 1998). Phonemic awareness (PA) is the ability to recognize that a spoken word is composed of a sequence of individual sounds (phonemes). Children who are unaware that words consist of individual sounds will have difficulty in decoding text. Cunningham (2000) defines phonemic awareness as the ability to examine language independently of meaning and to manipulate its component sounds. Phonological awareness enables children to use letter sound correspondences to read and spell words. Next to knowledge of letters, phonemic awareness is a good predictor of childrens first year reading achievement. B oth knowledge of letters and PA, have been found to bear a strong and direct relationship to success an d ease of reading acquisition. This awareness is acquired gradually through experiences with spoken and writt en language. Due to more recent studies concluding that phoneme awareness is the form of phonological awareness most closely related to reading, determining how phoneme awareness develops is important to discuss. If p honeme awareness is not developing in a prereading child (Bryant, Maclean, Bradley & Cros sland, 1990; Fox &

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19 Routh, 1974), the skill should develop rapidly once they begin formal school training (Duncan, Seymour & Hill, 1997). Some researchers (Goswami & Bryant, 1990; Treiman & Zukowski, 1991) have suggested that awareness of larger phonological segments (i.e., syllables and rimes ) is an important precursor to phoneme awarenes s. Goswami and Bryant (1990) concluded that awareness of syllables and rimes develops naturally in the pre school years, while phoneme awareness develops out of this awareness once children begin to learn to read. There is a good basis of evidence suggesting a reciprocal relationship between the development of reading and phoneme awareness, as described by Goswami and Bryant (1990). Gombert (1992) suggested that learning to read forces children to move from epilinguistic phonological awareness (or global sensitivity to sound similarity), to metalinguistic phonological awareness (or explicit awareness of sound segments) In support of this view, s tudies examining the phonological awareness of prereaders (Liberman, Schankweiler, Fischer & Carter, 1974) and illiterate adults (Morais, Cary, Alegria & Bertelson, 1979) have shown that reading seems to play a role in the dev elopment of explicit phonemic awareness. More speci be the element of reading that is causally related to phoneme awareness. A further study ( Read, Zhang, Nie, & Ding, 1986) showed that the development of explicit phonemic awareness was limited to languages with an alphabetic writing system concluding that learning of letters play s a central role in the development of phonemic awareness. Phonological Awareness encompasses larger units of sound as well as phonemes, such as s yllables and onsets and rimes. It is the ability to generate and recognize rhyming words, to count syllables, to separate the beginning of a wor d from

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20 it s ending, and to identify each of the phonemes in a word. Cunningham (2000) defines phonological awareness as the ability to examine language independently of meaning and to manipulate its component sounds. Phonological awareness enables children to use letter sound correspondences to read and spell words. Many studies have demonstrated that individu al differences in childrens sensitivity to speech sounds within words are casually related to the normal acquisition of beginning reading skill. Adams (1990) suggested four types of phonological tasks that succe ssfully predict reading skill: 1) rhyming ta sks that include knowledge of nursery rhymes and identification of the non rhyming stimuli in a se quence of three or four words, 2) syllable and phoneme segmentation tasks in which the child taps, counts out, or identifies syllables and/or phonemes within words, 3 ) sound blending tasks in which the examiner provides the phonemes of a word and the child is asked to put them together, and 4) phoneme manipulation tasks in which require the child is required to delete, add, substitute, or transpose phonemes wit hin words. Some phonological awareness tasks are demonstrated in children as young as two and three years of age (e.g., syllable blending, syllable segmentation, and a few types of rhyming skill), but they are not necessarily stable abilities at these young ages. Other skills emerge later in reading development and may depend on exposure to print and explicit reading instruction (e.g., phoneme segmentation and manipulation tasks). Phonological sensitivity becomes increasingly stable during the preschool years (Lonigan et al., 1998) and phonological processing abilities are remarkably stable during the primary school years (Wagner, Torgesen & Rashotte, 1994; Wagner et al., 1997; Lonigan et al, 1998; Muter & Snowling, 1998).

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21 Adams (1990) suggested four types of phonological tasks that r eliably predict reading skill: 1) rhyming tasks that include knowledge of nursery rhymes and identification of the non rhyming word in a se quence of three or four words, 2) syllable and phoneme segmentation tasks that the chil d taps, counts out, or identifies syllables and/or phonemes within words, 3) sound blending tasks where the examiner provides the phonemes of a word and the child is asked to put them together, and 4) phoneme manipulation tasks that require the child to de lete, add, substitute, or transpose phonemes within words. Some phonological awareness tasks are demonstrated in children as young as two and three years (e.g., syllable blending, syllable segmentation, and some aspects of rhyming skill), but they are not necessarily stable abili ties at that age (McGuinness 2005). Other reading skills emerge later in development and depend on exposure to print and explicit reading instruction (e.g., phoneme segmentation and manipulation tasks) (McGuinness, 2005). Phonological sensitivity becomes increasingly stable during the preschool years (Lonigan et al., 1998) and phonological processing abilities are stable during the primary school years (Wagner, Torgesen & Rashotte, 1994; Wagner et al., 1997; Lonigan et al, 1998; Muter & Snowling, 1998). Muter, Snowling, and Taylor (1994) proposed that segmentation ( a phonological processing task) may be a more influential phonological skill in the beginning stages of learning to read than rhyming. Muter et al. (1998) studied prereading children and found that sound segmentation was strongly correlated with reading and spelling skills at the end of the first year of learning to read, while rhyming was not. By the end of the second year, rhyming had begun to have a predictive effec t on spelling. Berninger

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22 (1992) reported that the task of segmentation of phonemes in words was a significant precursor to later word decoding. Two strong positions exist regarding the developmental course and the precursors of phoneme awareness in the pr ocess of alph abetic reading acquisition. One theory claims that phoneme awareness develops as a consequence of experience with print (Morias, Bertelson, Cary Alegri a 1986). The other theory states that phoneme awareness is contingent upon awareness of la rger sublexical units and is a precursor to alphabetic literacy (Bryant, MacLean, Bradley, & Cross land, 1990). They proposed that additional factors, namely the phonology and orthography experiences to which a child is exposed, must be taken into considera tion if the development and role of phoneme awareness i n reading acquisition is to be more fully understood by preschoolers. Orthographic awareness The orthographic system deals with the form of letters and the s pelling patterns within words. Or thographic awareness is what the child see s in the written word and remembers It requires visual perception and is a widely accepted and acknowledged fact that a childs knowledge of the alphabet at the beginning of formal school instruction is one of the best predictors of later achievement in reading and spelling skill (Adams, 1990; Bond & Dykstra 1967; Chall 1967 ; Cunningham, Perry, & Stanovich, 2001). A beginning reader who is unable to recognize and distinguish individual letters of the alphabet will surely have difficulty learning those letters represented in words (Mason, 1990). In the early stages of learning to read and write young children are creating relationships between the orthographic representations of words and their phonological makeup. The creation of such relationships depends upon knowledge of the phonetic characteristics of the sounds fo r which letters represent (Ehri, 1992; Rack et al., 1994).

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23 Byrne et al. (1997) found that letter knowledge accounted for more variance in a decoding task in preschool and kindergarten children than did a measure of phonemic awareness. Hulme, Muter, and Snowling (1998) suggested that letter knowledge skill on entry to school was the best single predictor of word recognition one year later. Similarly, (Muter et al., 1998; Justice, 2001) found that letter skill predicted both reading and spelling dur ing the first year at school. Orthographic awareness refers to the childs ability to form a mental representation of the appearance of a letter or word. In addition, orthographic awareness helps preschoolers become aware of the common spelling patterns that exist in a language (Hulme, Muter, and Snowling, 1998; Perry & Stanovich, 2001). Emergent writing Emergent writing is characterized by a childs practice of pret e nding to write a story, the ABCs or his or her own name, bef ore formal instruction by their caretakers or teachers. After his analysis of the development of print literacy in four year old children, Mason (1980) concluded that children begin to use print as a commun ication tool to recite the alphabet and to become familiar with letters and words found in print. Stuart (1995) proposed that the development of these skills during the preschool period is an important predictor of later reading achievement. D uring the period of emergent literacy, children develop expectations that certain types of intonations and wording are used with books and other written materials as their caretakers read to them. Those who are read to frequently and enjoy this activity begin to recite key phrases or longer stretches of words specific to certain books. (i.e., Do you like my party hat? No, I do not like your party hat. Goodbye! Goodbye! from Go Dog Go by P. D. Eastman (1961).

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24 Between the ages of three and four, children exhibit significant growth in literacy, as they experiment with writing by forming scribbles, random strings of letters or letter like forms. Many older preschoolers will begin to recognize distinguishable sounds withi n words read to them. Some four year olds use distinguishable sounds in their writing by beginning to use invented spelling with initial consonants (Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, 1998). Tests that were reviewed before developing the experimental task of Copying were The Process Assessment of the Learner: Test Battery for Reading and WritingScreenin g Battery for Grades K 2 (PAL RW ) ( Berninger, 2001) and the Dyslexia Screening Test (DST ) (Fawsett & Nicolson, 1996) whereby 6.616.6 year olds copied as many words from a writing passage as possible in one minute. Ber n ingers Alphabet Writing a nd Copying domains required prekindergarten to second graders to print an ordered set of al phabet letters within a 15secon d time limit. The Copying subtest of the PAL RW req uired k indergarteners through fifth graders to copy as many letters in a given sentence within twenty seconds. Early name w riting may represent a child's first step in using printed symbols for meaning. A study by Haney, Bissonnette & Ge hnken (2003) investigated the relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in kindergarten students. A measure of name writing proficiency was developed (Name Writing Scale). Results revealed that name writing was significantly correlated with word and non word identification. No significant gender differences were found on the measure of name writing. They stressed the inclusion of name writing assessments in early screening batteries f or students at risk for reading difficulties, and to address the hypothesis that

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25 name writing skills may reflect an understanding of the alphabetic principle. Early name writing may represent a child's first step in usi ng printed symbols for meaning. This study investigated the relationship between name writi ng and early literacy skills in kindergarten students. Vygotsky (1962) proposed that the awareness of names signifies the point at which language and thought come together to form the basis of intellect. Like developmental milestones in emotion and cognit ion, name writing follows a predictable developmental course potentially useful in screening for those with some types of developmental delays. By age three, children spontaneously produce scribbles that are distinctly different when attempting to draw from those made when attempting to print (Brenneman, Massey, Machado, & Gelman, 1996; Deford, 1980). Children learn to write in a predictable pattern including circular scribbles, linear continuous scribbles, letter like symbols, and finally actual letters. C lay (1982) described the developmental process of learning to write which involves trial and error and hypothesis testing becoming more complex with age, as opposed to a rote process of copying models of print. In addition to being the earliest attempt at print and following a predictable developmental course, name writing is arguably the initial, meaningful print in a young child's environment. One's own printed name is an extremely meaningful piece of text that young children are likely to see in print an d be encouraged to learn more words (Clay, 1982). During childrens initial stages of emergent writing preschoolers use writing to translate spoken utterances into indistinct, linear, and discontinuous graphic patterns

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26 that resemble the general aspect of print they observe in their environment. What children imitate from the environment serves as a guide to work out constraints on interpretability (Tolchinsky & Teberosky, 1998). For example, in order for a string of letter like forms to be readable, it mus t be of a limited number and have sufficient variety. These constraints serve to regulate childrens writing, and appear to hold true across langu ages and scripts (Tolchinsky & Teberosky, 1998). The developmental stage of formally constrained writing is c haracterized by the appearance of a sufficient number and variety of letters paired to what the child is trying to express. The child also begins to use the letters in his or her name in different combinations to form other words (see Figure A), modify the number of marks, shapes, and combinations of marks to distinguish one word from another, and interpret his or her own text (Treiman, Sotak, & Bowman 2001; Treiman & Kessler, 2003, Tolchinsky, 2003). At this stage of writing development, personal names play an important role. In numerous studies and in all of the different languages that have been researched, whenever children are required to write their own name along with other words or sentences, the childs name always shows a higher level of development than other areas being assessed. This is true for superordinate features and conventional letters (Chan, 1990; Tolchinsky Landsmann & Levin, 1987). Personal names constitute the first clearly meaningful text, as names are not forgotten or unchanged in pronunciation (Treiman & Kessler, 2005). Although children may acquire the shapes of letters from other words they have learned, most frequently their own names are the source and point of reference for early letter writing (Brennemann, et al., 1996; Prou in, & Harmon, 2009; Treiman & Kessler, 2005). (See Figures B & C)

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27 In the next stage of writing development, writing becomes a system in which written marks represent the sound of words rather than the meaning of words (phonetization) (Tolchinsky, 2003; Treiman & Bourassa, 2000) During this stage, children become increasingly aware that writing is related to language. At this stage something said (a word or sentence) has a relationship with a graphic pattern. A pair of writing samples from the age of three t o four of the same child is illustrated at th is stage. (See Figures D and E) In the following stage, children discover the alphabetic principle, that phonemes represent letters (whenever a particular phoneme occurs in a word, and in whatever position, it i s represented by the same letter). This discovery is quickly followed by their production of invented spelling (Ehri & Wilce, 1985; Richgels, 1995; Scott & Ehri, 1990). I nvented spelling is an attempt by beginning readers and writers to spell a word when t he standard spelling is unknown to them. They use whatever knowledge of sounds or visual patterns they have learned to write a word. Print awareness and letter knowledge are realized through the development of writing and invented spelling (Ehri, 1994; Ric hgels, 1995; Treiman, 1985; Scott & Ehri, 1990). A childs ability to pretend to write and learn to write their own name are initial examples of emergent wr iting. Because emergent writing is considered an expressive language act among preschoolers, emergent writing tasks (scribbling and drawing) are appropriate for assessing writing at the preschool level (Justice, 2001). Language s kills Prereaders exhibit a consistent relationship between phonological sensitivity and vocabulary size. Children with larger v ocabularies have more proficient p honological sensitivity (Wagner et al., 1997) and this relationship begins early in the preschool

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28 period. Verbal ability has been tested instead of general cognitive knowledge to determine the abilities that are fundament al to reading achievement (Stanovich, 1991). Numerous researchers have established that preschool language development predicts later reading achievement in normally developing children (Bryant, McLean, & Bradley, 1990; Lundberg, 1985). Many emergent liter acy studies have shown that a young childs vocabulary size is a strong predictor of early reading sk ill, specifically, phonologic a l sensitivity (Lonigan, et al. 1998, 2000; Wagner, et al. 1997). Earlier, Bowey (1995) found that receptive vocabulary at the beginning of kindergarten predicted 2027% of the variance in first grade reading achievement. In terms of grammatical development as a predictor of later reading and spelling achievement, Share et al. (1984) found that grammatical development at the beginning of kindergarten predicted 17% of the variance on a composite reading achievement factor by the end of first grade (N=479). Researchers also e valuated kindergartener s abilities to correct minor grammatical er rors in sentences or rearrange scrambled sentences to form logical ones. However, as noted by Bowey (1994; 2001), judgment tasks requir e semantic processing and ver bal working memory skill but it is not yet clear how different aspects of oral language devel opment (vocabulary, grammatical and pho nological skills) contribute to reading. It is also difficult to determine the underlying causal relationships between different c oncepts in this area. Baddeley et al. (1998) and Elbro et al. (1998) argue that tests of language development only reflect t he contri bution of underlying abilities such as phonological memory or phonological processing ability.

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29 Rapid a utomatized n aming Rapid automatized naming (RAN) tasks have been the topic of many recent research studies investigating predictors of reading sk ill. Rapid naming tasks evaluate the speed of word re trieval on serial naming tasks (Wolf, Bally, & Morris, 1986). Stimuli utilized are usually digits, colors, or pictures of familiar objects. T hus, it is assumed that the naming responses are ov er learned and/or automatized. RAN colors and RAN pictures in kindergarten students and school entrants predict later reading abili ty (Badian, 2000; Catts, et al. 2001). RAN colors predicted 20% of variance in second graders word identification and 22% of v ariance in reading comprehension (N=83). De Jong & Vander Lei j. (1999) found that RAN pictures at the beginning of kindergarten predicted 13% of variance in word and nonword reading rate at the end of the second grade. It should be noted that they studied Dutch speaking children and in Dutch, a shallow orthography, children learn to read in second grade. Felton and Brown (1990) demonstrated that rapid automatized naming predicted reading development in the fir st grade. Manis, Seidenberg, & Doi (1999) suggested that naming involves arbitrary associations between print and sound, whereas phoneme awareness is more related to the learning of systematic spelling sound correspondences. They noted that, in general, learning arbitrary associations between sounds and letters plays a central role in the dev elopment of early reading skill, whereas knowledge of segmental phonology is relevant to later phases of learning to read. Therefore, they concluded rapid naming is a logical predictor of beginning reading ability

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30 Fine m otor f unctioning The languageby hand system (writing) is unique among the language systems in that it involves the fine motor system of the hand (Berninger & Hart, 1992). Several soft neurological signs (handedness and fingertapping) were found t o be significantly low in children with specific reading disability (Satz, Friel & Goebel,1975). Dowering, et al. ( 1981) found that dyslexic children performed deficiently on subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Wechsler, 1995), which measured finger agnosia, fingert apping speed and grip strength. The areas of repetition, succession, localization, and r ecognition of finger movements are related significantly to written production (Berninger & Rutberg, 1992). The International Dyslexia A ssociation (2000) suggested that an accurate assessment for the diagnosis of dysgraphia (the inability to write) must include posture, grip, position, fatigue, cramping, and tremor of the writing hand, eyed ness, and handedness. Fine motor finger tapping i s a measure of the childs ability to imitate and execute a fingertapping movement and was first studied by Denckla (1973). This was the only task assessed in this study as the pilot study showed that many of the children quit participating if they could n ot perform the more difficult tasks (S atz, Rardin, & Ross, 1971; Satz et al. 1975). Memory Learning to read is a complex task and many researchers have tried to find the subset of memory that is associated most with learning to read. Primarily, research has been mostly dedicated to the correlation of verbal memory and reading skill. Memory

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31 has b een associated with several academic (i.e., reading and writing) and cognitive areas (i.e., problem solving and inference from text). Short term memory, or memory span, is the ability to remember a random list of items or numbers that have no relevance to each other This has been the focus in the analysis of memory skills during the past decade. However, working memory developed from discontent with the limits of the short term memory concept (Baddeley, 1986). His theory was that working memory is a plac e in the brain with a vibrant quality where operations are carried out on input from the individuals environment, or from pure thought, or a combination of both. Pribram and McGuiness (1992) found that working memory is the sum of parallel neural proc essing in all parts of the brain relevant to the task we are aware of at any one time. Since Baddeleys (1980) first proposed model of working memory, there has been much debate and additions made to his original theory and model. Efficient long term mem ory occurs when the brain permanently stores memories that can be accessed and retrieved somewhat easily. Vocabulary is stored via longterm memory as at a very young age, words are heard then acquired and as long as the child continues to hear the words (familiarity from daily conversations) they can easily retrieve them out of context and use them in their expressive language development. This leads to an obvious bias at entry to formal schooling for emergent literacy as many preschoolers who have been r aised with decreased literacy input have problems with learning to read and write (Justice, 2001; Stanovich, 1992; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 2001).

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32 Some of the modes of responding to memory assessment tasks are via recognition memory (remembering with a prompt ) such as a face, a spoken or printed word, a picture, smell, or anything that brings an association or a complete experience to mind (reading and writing), recall (to remember without a prompt or any kind of support) and spelling (McGuinness, 2005). Res ponses may be written, verbal or by pressing a switch. A short term memory task usually involves verbatim repetition of input heard in the exact order. Probably the most utilized type of memor y test is the intentional task, whereby the participant is told to remember what they hear or see before assessment. Incidental learning occurs when participants are required to make judgments about a set of words or pictures, then are surprised when they are asked to recall them. McGuinness (2005) states that the mean ingful processing involved in incidental learning creates an increase in memory performance, as it is an example of a meaning to memory task. Phonological Memory is the ability to hold soundbased information in immediate memory (short term memory) the b etter the child can hold soundletter match in memory while decoding, the more ability cognitive resources have for decoding and comprehension. Katz, Healy, and Shankweiler (1983) documented that short term verbal memory was closely related to the level of reading skills for letters and words (Brady, Shankweiler, & Mann, 1983), or sentences (Mann, Liberman, & Shankweiler, 1980). Of the three systems of Baddeleys working memory model (central executive, phonological loop, and visuospatial sketchpad (1986), the phonological loop was found to be the most important for language and literacy learning. The phonological loop and

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33 store plays a key role in learning the pronunciation of novel vocabulary items (Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989; Baddeley, Gathercole & Papagno, 1998) and in influencing the acquisition of syntax (Adams & Gathercole, 1995). Snowling, et al (1994) found a significant correlation between working memory and phonological awareness. In the beginning phases of reading development, children have minimal understanding of orthographic knowledge but excel in oral vocabulary tasks. Oral vocabulary and metalinguistic knowledge are established predictors of emergent literacy/reading skills and would incorporate the phonological loop and visuo spatial sketchpad in proper encoding and storage of words/language experienced in their environment. An association of the visuospatial sketchpad and phonological loop would also be employed later during the processing of orthographic and phonological input. Scien tific literature has documented that short term verbal memory is closely related to the level of reading skills for letters (Katz, Healy, & Shankweiler, 1983), words (Brady, Shankweiler, & Mann, 1983), and sentences (Mann, Liberman, & Shankweiler, 1980). H ansen and Bowey (1994) conducted a co rrelational study of sevenyear olds, whereby both phonological analysis and verbal working memory accounted for unique variance in three reading measures. However, other studies have suggested that short term verbal me mory does not significantly predict reading skills after controlling for phonological abilities (Rohl & Pratt, 1995; Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 1994). Environmental Factors A young childs level of language proficiency and their reading skills are clos ely correlated with socioeconomic status (SES) of their parents or caretakers, with middleclass children attaining higher levels of language and literacy than lower class children

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34 (Feagans & Farran 1982; White, 1982). However, Bryant (1998) found that S ES differences in word level reading in young children were mediated partly through preexisting differences in phonological sensitivity. When phonological sensitivity scores were considered, SES differences were no longer significant in the tests of readi ng accuracy. Bowey (1995) also suggested that many children from lower socioeconomic groups might be arriving at school with underdeveloped phonological awareness placing them at a serious disadvantage in acquiring early reading skills. Scarborough and Dobrich (1994) reviewed 31 studies that analyzed the impact of parents reading on their preschoolers oral language and literacy development. They concluded that frequency of reading to preschoolers was positively associated with growth in lexical and semant ic content of language and in developing literacy, but the association was of modest proportions, with most correlations at or less than .28. However, Senechal et al. (1998) found that in the study of frequency of storybook reading and teaching reading an d writing of words, storybook exposure explained statistically significant unique variance in childrens oral language skills, but not in their written language. These authors concluded storybook exposure might enhance childrens oral language skills, wher eas additional support in the form of reading instruction may be necessary to enhance written language skills. Improving Screening for Risk of Early Reading Failure Most children learn to read without any difficulty, but up to 25% of all children experienc e reading problems in school (Shaywitz, Escobar, Shaywitz, Fletcher, & Makuch, 1992). Four to six percent of the preschoolers are specifically diagnosed with a reading disability (Badian, 1994; Stedman & Kaestel, 1987); these children face almost certain s ch ool failure (Badian, 1993, 1998; Felton & Pepper, 1995; Gough, 1996;

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35 Stanovich, 1986). Children who exhibit difficulty with the beginning stage of the reading process rarely become strong readers. Stanovich and Siegel (1994) found that of children identi fied as exhibiting a reading disability in the early grades (i.e., kindergarten and first grade), 74% continued to be labeled as having a reading disability in the ninth grade. Many studies have documented the efficacy of early identification and intervent ion in prevention of school failure, leading to increased interest in preschool and kindergarten screening programs (Ball & Blachman, 1991; Berrieta, et al. 1984; Felton & Brown, 1990; Hurford, et al. 1994; Lundberg, Frost, & Peterson, 1988). Researchers generally have found that standardized tests predicted children at risk for reading failure better than teachers. Reported teacher prediction rates are low, ranging from 15% to 41% correct identification of children at risk (Feshbach, Adelman, & Fuller, 1974; Fletcher & Satz, 1984; Flynn & Rahbar, 1998a; LaTorre et al.,1982; Stevenson et al., 1976). In contrast, test identification rates are reported to be much higher range from 71% to 80% (Fletcher & Satz, 1984; Flynn & Rahbar, 1998a). M ost screening prog rams test general developmental tasks, such as language skills, resulting in results that ar e not warranted for design ing specific interventions (Satz & Fletcher, 1988; Majsterek & Ellenwood, 1995). The instruments are often used to make inappropriate deci sions such as delayed school entrance, retention in grade, or transition programs (Gredler, 1992). These findings suggest that early detection of risk is important and screening tests should be developed to test known predictors of reading failure and lang uage development Screeners should also be easy for teachers to administer and aid in the

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36 selection of children who are at risk. Ultimately, screening programs should lead to early intervention and to decreased numbers of children with reading failure. Re cognizing weak foundational skills in children at the earliest stages of development is the best approach to preventing reading disabilities The development of screening and associated early intervention instruments has constituted a significant commodity in the systematic early identification and management of children at risk of reading problems. Specifically, improving teachers observation skills for deficits in emergent literacy skills is one key method for early identification. Kindergarten teachers need to know how to observe developmental skills from studies of precursors to reading achievement. They also need to know how to match childrens profiles with research validated interventions in order to intervene effectively and efficiently identify at risk individuals and prescribe intervention as soon as possible. Statement of the Problem Currently, we are able to identify many children who are at risk for later reading disabilities by the end of kindergarten but we have very few reliable methods o f making this prediction in younger children. In order to begin to address the issue of early identification and prevention in the preschool population, tasks are needed for younger children to predict their risk for future reading difficulties with a reasonable degree of reliability and validity. This study was designed to develop such tasks for threeyear olds and to determine which of these tasks best predict the childrens performance on a standardized test of language and literacy one year later. Task s were developed to reflect areas in the literature that are associated with future reading ability. These tasks chosen for this study represent the following skill domains: phonological knowledge,

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37 orthographic knowledge, verbal memory, fine motor functioning, receptive and expressive language, and rapid automatic naming. To address the lack of empirically tested tasks that can be used to test three year old children for the purpose of identifying their risk for future reading difficulties, the following experimental questions were investigated: 1. Which experimental tasks meet normality criterion for three year olds and again one year later? 2. Whi ch experimental tasks for threeyear olds showed normal distribution and growth one year later? 3. Which of the experi mental tasks that meet normality criterion best predict the ALL Language and Emergent Literacy Index scores at age three? 4. Which experimental tasks best predict the ALL Language and Emergent Literacy Index scores at age four?

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38 CHAPTER 2 METHODS The purpose of this study was to 1) develop a battery of tasks that showed a normal distribution of scores for typically developing threeand four year old children and to 2) determine which of these tasks best predicts the performance of threea nd four year olds o n a standardized measurement of emergent literacy and language in preschoolers. A battery of tasks was developed to test the participants at three and four years of age. These tasks were chosen that represented constructs or skills that have been associate d with later language and emergent literacy in previous studies (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 2001; Scarborough, 1998; Bowey, 2005; Ashby & Rayner, 2006). After several months of task development and pilot testing, a battery of experimental t asks was compiled across seven domains: (1) Phonological Awareness, (2) Orthographic Awareness, (3) Emergent Writing, (4) Memory Skills, (5) Language (recepti ve and expressive) skills, (6) Rapid Automatic Naming ability (RAN), and (7) Fine Motor F unctioning. Children were t ested on these experimental tasks at three years of age (3648.0 months) and again, one year later, when they were four years of age (48.160.0 months). During the second year of the study, the preschoolers were also tested on a standardized battery of l anguage and literacy tests. This chapter includes information on the subjects, examiner, equipment, procedures, stimuli, scoring, and analysis.

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39 Participants Participants were recruited from several preschool teaching sites in Alachua and Orange/Seminole counties areas in Florida. A total of 38 subjects, 21 females and 17 males, participated in this study. During the first year of testing, participants ranged in age from 37 months to 47 months, with an average age of 43 months. During the second year of t esting, participants ranged in age from 48 months to 60 months of age, with an average age of 56 months. Only participants who were tested over the two consecutive years were included in the database for analyses. Children were selected for study if they w ere reported by their teachers to have a negative history for language/speech deficits, cognitive deficits, or hearing impairment and if this information was confirmed in a parent questionnaire. Parents were asked to complete an inform ed consent form and a questionnaire from the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL, 2005) requesting information on the childs family background, health, language development milestones and emergent literacy skills (See Appendix D). The mothers educational levels ranged from 14 to 20 years with an average of 16 years of formal schooling. Prior to recruiting subjects, research approval was granted from the Institutional Review Board (IRB 2) committee at the University of Florida (S ee Appendix A) for copies of the IRB Prot ocol #2006U 0342 for th e first year of testing and IRB Protocol #2007U 0342 for the second year of testing (see Appendix B). Information about the study and an invitation to participate was distributed to the teachers, who were asked to pass flyers on to parents of children (See Appendix C)

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40 Pilot Study The experimenter conducted all assessments during the pilot study with 10 threeyear olds. There were no tests used to qualify subjects for participation; however, their caretakers and teachers reported no history of speech, language, or hearing deficits. Data collection took place in a quiet room at the childrens preschools or in a quiet room at the childs home. The initial pilot test protocol was administered to each participant and was presented in the same order for each child (S ee Appendix 23 for a copy of the test protocol for the pilot study). The total test time dur ing the pilot testing for threeyear olds was one hour. Some of the children were tested over twothree days depending on their atten tiveness and compliancy. The testing never went beyond the duration of 23 days in one week. The children were tested between October and December of 2006. Several of the tasks were deemed as being too easy or difficult for inclusion in the final test protocol f or the study. These included: Visual M atching (proximal and distal), Nonsense Word Repetition, Rhyme Production in Context (child was read a story and required to complete sentences with a real or nonsense rhyming word) an d Rhyme Judgment, as many t hreeyear olds were able to just guess at the answer and be 50% correct. This task was replaced with Rhyme Production, which required the child to supply a rhyming word for the word stated in a picture, such as pie. Since many of the threeyear olds had difficulty with the Digit Word Span B ackward task, other more basic memory tasks were added to the protocol: Sequential Memory (immediate recall); Sequential Memory after a 2 minute and 5 minute delay, and Visual Short Term M emory. (See Table 2 1 for the procedures involved in these tasks) Once the pilot study was completed in December of 2006, the final protocol of exploratory tasks was adopted and testing began with a threeyear old population

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41 whose caretakers had consented to allow their children to take part in the study. Prior to beginning the study, eight undergraduate students were trained by the investigator to administrate the exploratory tasks. Weekly meetings were scheduled for all undergraduate students to meet with the investigator regarding p roblems with data taking, scoring, and tabulation of scores. One specific undergraduate student was placed in charge of rechecking the scoring and then entering the scores for each child into an Excel spreadsheet. Undergraduate students on the study team c hecked each others protocols for efficiency and correctness of scoring. The writing samples in the Emergent Literacy domain were reviewed by a group of undergraduate students, the investig ator and the major professor. A rubric for scoring such tasks as Na me Writing, Copying, Writing of ABCs, Naming Letters in Name and Story Writing was developed by this group Task Development Rationale By six years of age, most children demonstrate fairly sophisticated levels of emergent literacy knowledge. Important reading prerequisites are shown in preschool childrens emerging abilities to recognize environmentally embedded and contextualized print, to understand the form and func tion of print, and to perceive relationships between speech and print (Mason, 1980; Go odman, 1986; Dickinson & Snow, 1987). These and other emergent literacy abilities form th e foundation for young childrens imminent entrance into formal literacy instruction. Preschoolers who a re judged to be at r isk for delayed attainment of literacy i nclude children with l anguage impairment (Boudreau & Hedberg, 1999; Ezell et al., 2000), children reared in poverty (Dickinson & Snow, 1987; Chaney, 1994), children with developmental di sabilities (Koppenhaver, et al. 1991; Saint Laurent, et al. 1998),

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42 and children learning English as a second language (Snow et al. 1998). Young children with language impairment, for example, demonstrate sufficiently less skill in recognizing commonly occur ring environmental print (e.g. Coke and Band aid ) than their typic a lly developing peers (Gillam & Johnston, 1985). Delayed attainment of such skills may serve as warning signal s of later difficulties in higher level literacy development. Speech language pathologists and early childhood educators are encouraged to identif y preschool children experiencing delayed emergent literacy acquisition and to provide the necessary instruction to prevent future reading fai lure (Boudreau & Hedberg,1999; Ezell, et al. 2000; Justice & Ezell, 2000). The key preliteracy precursors for suc cessful transition to conventional literacy (Teale & Sulzby, 1986; Chaney, 1992) include: print awareness, word awareness, and phonological awareness. Pri nt awareness refers to children s ability to recognize the function and form of print and the relationship between oral and written language (Hiebert, 1981; Goodman, 1986). Word awareness describes childrens ability to recognize words as discrete elements of both print and speech and to discern the relationship between written and spoken words (Tunmer e t al. 1983; Bowey et al. 1984). Phonological awareness describes young childrens ability to identify and manipulate the sounds of a language (Lundberg, et al. 1988; Bal l, 1997). Skills across all th e dimensions are acquired incidentally and gradual ly dur ing the preschool period. In recent years, considerable attention has been directed towards young childrens acquisition of phonological awar eness. Word and print awareness, in contrast, have received substantially less attention in the developmental liter ature (Justice & Ezell, 2001). Yet, longitudinal studies have shown that word and print awareness serve as key

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43 predictors of later reading achievement (Adams, 1990) and involve important elements of the foundation of emergent literacy knowledge (Stuart, 1995). Most studies examining preschool childrens word awareness have focused on childrens concept of word within oral contexts. Investigations into childrens ability to handle word referent discrimination (Bowey et al., 1984; Chaney, 1992), to understan d the meaning of the term word (Bowey et al., 1984), and to segment orally presented strings of words (Tunmer et al., 1983; Chaney, 1992, 1994). Such studies have shown that preschool children readily make sophisticated metalinguistic judgments about wor ds, including the ability to discriminate words from sounds and the ability to segment spoken utterances into their respective word elements (Tunmer et al., 1983; Chaney, 1992; Bowey et al., 1984). To date, however, there are limited empirical data regardi ng preschoolers word awareness in written language contexts. Word awareness in written language contexts is a necessary competency for beginning reading development, with the concept of word and pointing tasks comprising a key element of early rea ding instruction (Clay, 1979; Invernizzi et al. 2000). In contrast to the scarcity of research on word awareness in written language contexts, a number of studies have addressed preschoolers accomplishment of print awareness, or print literacy (Mason, 1980; Snow, 1983; Goodman, 1986; Chaney, 1992). Like word awareness, print awareness gradually emerges within the preschool period. Print awareness is a sign of childrens emergent abilities to think about and interact with written language, consequently r epresenting childrens growing understanding of the form and function of print. The understanding that print carries meaning develops between the third and nd

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44 that, at this time children undergo a significant trans formation in which independent and self motivated interactions with print exponentially increase. For example, children begin to use print as a communication device, to recite the alphabet, and to recognize letters and words occurring in print. Development of such skills within the preschool period is an important predictor of later reading achievement (Adams, 1990; Stuart, 1995). Word and print awareness, along with phonological awareness, are considered key building blocks for conventional literacy. Both early c hildhood educators (Snow, et al. 1998) and speech language pathologists (American Speech LanguageHearing Association [ASHA], 2000) have been persuaded to address these skills in prevention, assessment and intervention activities. A problem faced b y educators and therapists is that there are few formal or informal measures available by which to examine preschool childrens word and print awareness. Many educators feel limited in their ability to incorporate a systematic emergent literacy focus when working with young children due to the lack of available measures for quantifying these skills (Justice & Ezell, 2001). Liberman et al. (1974) first acknowledged the development of an appreciation of the sound structure of language throughout the preschool years. Previous obse rvational data obtained with four to five year old children demonstrated the early availability of rhyme (Dowker, 1989) and supported the hypothesis that rhyme awareness is the earliest stage of metaphonological development. Goswami and Bryant (1990) found that tasks of rhyming skills assess the childs und erstanding of onset and rime units within words, such as the onset containing the consonant or consonant cluster that precedes the vowel and the rime containing the vowel and succeeding consonants (such as t ake, st eak, fl ake, and l ake). Rhyming tasks have been successfully

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45 performed by children as young as four and five years of age and are predictive of later success in reading (Bradley & Bryant, 1983). In order to assess this area in younger preschoolers (threeyear old s) the following three subtests were added to the Phonological Awareness domain of testing: Rhyme Memory, Rhyme Judgment, and Rhyme Production. Knowledge of the alphabet at school entry (kindergarten is one of the best predictors of later reading achievement (Adams, 1990). Another area of language processes related to reading acquisition is orthographic processing. Orthographic awareness refers to the familiarity with the written symbols (letters) representing the sounds that children become aware of during the development of phonological awareness. This ability enables kindergarten and f irst grade readers to delineate between misspelled and correctly spelled written words. (F oorman, 1994; Vellutino, et al. 2000). Orthographic processing refers to the use of orthographic information in processing oral or written language (Wagner & Barker, 1994). There has been an increasing interest in orthographic processing as a probable predictor of reading acquisition since many studies have shown a low amount of variance that phonological awareness plays in word recognition (Berninger, 1994; Manis, et al. 2000; Stanovich & Siegal, 1994; Roberts & Mather, 1997). Two issues in assessing orthographic processing in preliterate children include concerns about construct validity of the measures (Ve llutino, et al. 1994) and the efficiency of assessing orthographic processing ability in children with minimal or no reading experience (B adian, 1994). Vellutino, et al. (1994) argue that the majority of orthographic awareness tests actually measure word identification or spelling ability

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46 instead of the underlying cognitive systems that control those activities. They also contend that there are no pure tasks of orthographic processing as reading involves both orthographic and phonological coding. Once the child has learned to read, they exhibit the ability to perf orm orthographic processing tasks using their word recognition and spelling knowledge. A second concern relates to the difficulty of testing this domain in preliterate children. Due to the fact that most of the orthographic awareness tasks involve the child differentiating between real and pseudo words or distinguishing correctly spelled words from misspelled words, these measures cannot be used with preschoolers. Badian (1994) tried to solve this problem with preschoolers by developing a tenitem visua l matching task that involved alphanumeric symbols (letter and digit sequences). Badian (1994) found that this orthographic measure was significantly related to first grade reading skills with letter knowledge controlled. A modified version of the Visual Matching subtest found in the Predict ive Reading Profile (2001; for kindergarteners and Ff rst graders) was utilized in the exploratory task, Letter Discrimination, which did not contain sequences of letters but a sequen ce with only one letter out of a field of five different shapes The Visual Matching task was removed from the protocol as many individual symbols, objects and individual letters were presented. It was too easy as compared to Badians (1994) sequences of alphanumeric symbols. General cognit ive ability has been shown to be only indirectly associated with emergent literacy skills via phonological processing abilities. The speed with which pictures, digits, and letters can be names is a well documented linguistic correlate of reading ability th at is thought to reflect phonological memory or retrieval processes.

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47 Individual differences in what is referred to as rapid automatized naming (RAN) have been shown to predict reading development in the first grade (Felton and Brown, 1990) and in the third and fourth grades (Badian et al. 1990). Whether a naming difficulty in a poor reader reflects a problem in the process by which representations are retrieved or whether the problem lies in the phonological representations themselves being indistinct or u nrefined continues to be an area for debate. However, Manis, Seidenberg, and Coi (1999) proposed a model of reading development in which they indicated that naming tasks account for distinct variance in reading when compared to phoneme awareness because naming involves arbitrary associations between print and sound whereas phoneme awareness is more related to the learning of systematic spellingsound correspondences. Learning arbitrary association between sounds and letters probably plays a central role in the development of early reading skill and knowledge of segmental phonology and is relevant to both the earlier and later phases of learning to read. Therefore, the Rapid Object Naming tasks (eight and twelve objects) were added to the battery. Torgesen et al. (2006) concluded that many of the children presenting with phonological processing difficulties also exhibited difficulties in copying letters and words during their assessment and reading remediation program. The Copying subtest measures the accuracy with which the threeand four year olds can trace and ultimately copy shapes and letters proximally. Final Experimental Battery Th e final experimental battery is comprised of twelve tasks within seven domains: 1) Phonological Awareness, 2) Orthographic Awareness, 3) Emergent Writing, 4) M emory skills, 5) Language ( rec eptive and expressive) skills, 6) Rapid Automatic

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48 Naming, and 7) Fine Motor F unctioning. A rationale for including each domain in the battery follows along with a list of the tests in each domain. Descriptions of all e xperimental tasks are shown in T ables 2 1 and 2 2. Phonological Awareness Phonological awareness refers to the emergent readers ability to think about and manipulate units in spoken language that are smaller than the syllable (Stahl & Murray, 1998; Stanovich, 1991). Many researchers have adopted various tasks to study the phonological abilities of children in kindergarten and beyond. These tasks include blending of sounds in words, segmenting sounds in words, deleting sounds (e.g., Yopp, 1988; Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, 1999). Phonological awareness is one of the most studied topics in cognitive psychology, as it has been found to be critical for the development of proficient reading and spelling skills. Rhym ing tasks have been successfully per formed by children as young as four and five years of age and are predictive of later success in reading (Bradley and Bryant, 1983). In order to assess this area in younger preschoolers (threeyear old s) the following three subtests were added to the Phonological Awareness domain of testing: Rhyme Memory, Rhyme Judgment, and Rhyme Production. To measure phonological awareness, several subtests involving rhyme awareness were included in the final protoco l. The Rhyme Memory Task was adapted from The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (Invernizzi & Meier, 2002). The child is required to choose a picture that sounds like or rhymes with one of three presented pictures. The child was asked to name all of the stimuli in the task. If a child did not know the name of an object, the examiner said the name, then asked the child to imitate during a delayed imitation task. If the child could not spontaneously name any of the

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49 target words, a delayed imitation strategy was used during the testing. The title memory was added to this task as the child needed to remember the stimuli for a short time while working memory helps them to analyze the sound segments. Those children who exhibit poor phonological memory are at a deficit when learning phonological awareness, which is critical to reading acquisition (Torgeson, 1996; Gathercole & Baddeley, 1993). The raw scores were tallied on the protocol and then later transferred to the Excel worksheet for later data anal ysis. The Rhyme Judgment task was adapted from The Dyslexia Early Screening Test (DEST ) ( Nicolson & Fawsett, 1996), which is a norm referenced set of measures for scre ening abilities in children (four to five throug h five to six year olds) where difficul ties may be related to dyslexia. The Rhyme Detection task on the DEST was modified for the younger preschoolers by using two pictures and then having the child indicate whether the two pictures rhyme. Again, the pictures were stated for the child to make sure that vocabulary knowledge was not influencing the score. The raw score of correct responses was tallied and entered into the database. The Rhyme Production task was adapted from the Rhyme Produc tion in Words subtest in the Asse ssment of Literacy an d Language ( Lombardino, Lieberman, and Brown 2005). This task measures a childs rhyme production in words. The examiner says a word (pie) and then asks the child to think of a word that rhymes (sounds like) pie. The raw score is tallied and added to the database for later analysis. Segmentation Since many of the three year olds were not yet able to segment sounds in CVC words (consonant+vowel+consonant), they were required to sequence words in simple one to three word sentences Therefore, the Segmentation of Sentence to Words

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50 subtest was included in the experimental test battery. The childrens ability to segment spoken language units (i.e., se ntences into words) was assessed using an adaptation from the Segmentation subtest of the Phonological Awareness Test (PAT; Robertson & Salter, 1997). In the Segmentation task, children were presented with a series of oneto four word sentences (e.g., He can swim ) and were r equired to repeat each sentence while placing a block on the table for each w ord. This subtest required six trial items before raw scores were tal lied. Orthographic Awareness The letter is the basic unit of reading and writing, and letter knowledge has consistently been shown to be one of the best predictors of later reading success (Adam s, 1990; Scarborough, 1998; Stevenson & Newman, 1986). A beginning reader who cannot recognize and distinguish the individual letters of the alphabet will have difficulty learning the sounds those letters represent (Mason, 1980). Badian (1994) concludes t hat assessment of orthographic processing/awareness ability in children with little or no reading experience is a problem. Badian (1994) developed a ten item visual matching task that included alphanumeric symbols (letter and digit strings) to begin to ass ess early orthographic processing skills in preschool children. Badian (1994) concluded that preschool performance on this orthographic measure was significantly correlated with first grade reading skills, even with letter knowledge controlled. From Badians procedure and The Predictive Reading Profile (PRP ) ( Flynn, 2001), the adapted exploratory tasks included: Alphabet Awareness (singing of ABCs), Letter Identification (receptive), and Letter Discrimination tasks.

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51 It is important to note that the Predic tive Reading Profile is a groupadministered screening battery which is timed and designed to measure a set of kindergartenlevel reading precursors for children between the ages of five and six. On the Letter Discrimination exploratory task, the child was to find the letter in a series of five stimuli containing shapes, letters, numbers and erroneous writing of letters. Measures were obtained via raw scores. The Letter Identification task was adopted from the ALL (2005) and involved the child pointing to letters named by the instructor. Again, scores were tallied as raw scores (amount correct). The Singing of the ABCs task was adopted from an article written by John A. Smith (May, 2000) where he concluded that singing the ABCs supports early literacy devel opment in the areas of letter names and sounds, phonemic awareness, print conventions, vocabulary, decoding and writing. Scores for this task was determined on the following scale: sing without errors= 10; 0 5 errors= 8 points; 510 errors= 5 points; 1015 errors= 1 point; cannot sing song= 0 points. The research team decided upon this rubric of scoring after the pilot study of this task. Emergent Writing The exploratory task Copying, consisted of children tracing, copying shapes and letters proximally and then being judged on their accuracy. The committee got together as a group and would judge the score on the participants production s. (Please see the rubric for obtaining either a 0, 2, or 3 score on this task in Appendix D ) Early name w riting may re present a child's first step in using printed symbols for meaning. A study by Haney, Bissonnette & Gehnken (2003) investigated the relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in kindergarten students. A measure of name writing proficiency w as developed (Name Writing Scale). Results

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52 revealed that name writing was significantly correlated with word and non word identification. No significant gender differences were found on the measure of name writing. They stressed the inclusion of name wri ting assessments in early screening batteries f or students at risk for reading difficulties, and to address the hypothesis that name writing skills may reflect an understanding of the alphabetic principle. Early name writing may represent a child's first s tep in usi ng printed symbols for meaning. This study investigated the relationship between name writing and early literacy skills in kindergarten students. A measure of name writing proficiency was developed (Name Writing Scale). Results revealed that name writing was significantly correlated with word and nonword identification. Suggestions are made for future research to address inclusion of name writing assessments in early scre ening batteries for students at risk for reading difficulties, and to addres s the hypothesis that name writing skills may reflect an understanding of the alphabetic principle. Understanding that a word corresponds to a printed symbol may be as important a precursor to reading as being able to segment an orally presented word into phonemes (Olson, 2002). However, Lieberman (1985) considers learning to write as a process of modeling complicated visual motor skills through direct teaching activities (Lieberman, 1985). Vygotsky (1962) proposed that the awareness of names signifies the point at which language and thought come together to form the basis of intellect. Like developmental milestones in emotion and cognition, name writing follows a predictable developmental course potentially useful in screening for those with some types of developmental delays. By age three, children spontaneously produce scribbles that are distinctly different when attempting to draw from those made when attempting to print (Brenneman, Massey, Machado, & Gelman,

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53 1996; Deford, 1980). Children learn to write i n a predictable pattern including circular scribbles, linear continuous scribbles, letter like symbols, and finally actual letters. Clay (1982) described the developmental process of learning to write which involves trial and error and hypothesis testing becoming more complex with age, as opposed to a rote process of copying models of print. In addition to being the earliest attempt at print and following a predictable developmental course, name writing is arguably the initial, meaningful print in a young child's environment. One's own printed name is an extremely meaningful piece of text that young children are likely to see in print and be encouraged to learn more words (Clay, 1982). The Emergent Literacy domain includes Name Knowledge (writing name and th en naming each letter in name; the examiner would point to a form and ask c hild, Which letter is this?. The scores on these tasks were determined by percentage correct so as not to penalize children with extremely long names. This exploratory task was adapted from The Name Writing Screen (NWS) developed as a research tool by Haney, Bissonnette, and Behnken (2003) for use with kindergarteners. Interrater reliability was addressed as the entire research committee met and analyzed and checked the score. Another exploratory task, Writing ABCs measures the childs ability to write their ABCs and was adapted from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test II (WIAT II (2001). This test contains a subtest for Written Expression which requires four to eighty f ive year olds to write their ABCs or words as quickly as possible. Scoring included the number of correctly formed letters without proper sequence and the numbers of letters written that were properly named. 0 = no letters written; 1= 24 letters

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54 named or properly written; 2= any letters properly written and named (over 4 letters). Again inter rater reliability was used as the entire committee met and analyzed and checked scoring of this task. The final exploratory task, Story Writing, measures the childs ability to write a story as best they could and made sense to them. The children were asked to write a story about their favorite animal. Afterward, they were then asked to identify where it begins and ends and were also asked to read what they had writte n. The children were given a preschool sized pencil with an eraser and preschool lined paper. As the child wrote their ABCs and a story (some children refused to write a story but were more excited to write their ABCs), their abi lity to write from left to right use some formidable letters on the page and to name the letters or words they wrote were tallied They were scored either a 0 or 1 on these tasks. It should be noted that the examiner taperecorded this part of the session so as to be able to ident ify the childs idea of what they had written. This exploratory task was adapted from the Predictive Reading Profile: Story Writing (Flynn, 2001) whereby the child is asked to write a story about a favorite animal and is scored on a 10point scale. Memory Research has shown a correlation between verbal memory and r eading skill (Berninger, et al. 2006). Of the three systems of Baddeleys working memory model (central executive, phonological loop, and visuo spatial sketchpad (1986), the phonological loop was found to be the most important for language and literacy learning. Data support that the phonological loop plays a key role in learning the pronunciation of novel vocabulary items (Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989; Baddeley, Gathercole & Papagno, 1998).

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55 Two categories of tasks have been used most frequently to assess phonological memory: verbal memory span and speech repetition. Verbal memory span tasks require children to repeat sequences of words, digits, or other verbal material. In the measurement of s hort term memory children must hold a small amount of information passively in memory for a short period of time and then reproduce it in unmodified form. In contrast, working memory tasks, such as the backward digit span tests, require the child to mai ntain information while performing some kind of operation on it. Verbal memory span tasks are considered to measure phonological memory only if they require immediate verbatim recall of item sequences without stimulus manipulation (Torgeson, 1996) and incl ude forward word span, forward digit span, and sentence imitation tasks. The explor atory task chosen was the Digit Word Span Forward task and was adapted from The Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities: Memory for Words (2001) which measured th e childs ability to repeat strings of words. To assess working memory the Digit W ord Span Backward task was utilized. Many of the children at age three had problems learning the task but after a few trials with visual cues, most were able to complete the task with only auditory presentation. They were required to listen to a list of words and then produce them in reversed order The Sequential Memory task was adopted when the Digit Word Span B ackward task was found to be too difficult for the threeyear ol ds during the pilot study. This task required the children to remember a sequence of digits or pictures previously seen and then replicate them either immediately, or after two to five minutes. Currently, there are no screening instruments that include thi s memory task.

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56 Fine Motor Functioning Two types of fingertapping task measures were chosen : 1) a measure of the number of times the child is able to tap the index finger of the dominant hand in one minute using a scientific calculator for precision. This procedure was replicated on the nondominant hand This task was repeated twice on each hand and the results were averaged for each hand as the raw score, and 2) a measure of how long it takes a child to touch their thumb to their index finger ten times (m odified pincer grasp) as rapidly as possible. After two trials the number of seconds were averaged giving a total raw score. The same calculations were performed on the nondominant hand. Language Developmental relationships between language and literacy s kills are often exhibited in beginning readers, preschoolers with language impairments, children of adults with a history of reading difficulties and children having problems with reading development in preschool or kindergarten. Some studies that have inc luded populations of preschool languagedisordered children have shown that those children are at risk for developing later readi ng disabilities (Catts, Fey, & Tomblin, 1997; Rescorla, 1999; Bishop & Snowling, 2004). Estimates show that about 12% of childr en beginning kindergarten in the United States and Canada have been diagnosed with language impairment (Beitchman, Nair, Clegg, Pat el, Fergusen, Pressman, et al. (1986); Tomblins, Records, Buckwalter, Zhang, Smith & OBrien, 1997). For these experimental t asks, both receptive and expressive tasks were administered. The Language Comprehension subtest required that the children repeat differing lengths of sentences in their own age range (sentence l ength did not extend

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5 7 more that four words). The other task in this domain utilized findings fr om earlier assessments of the threeyear old phoneme repertoire (Hodson, 2005); whereby, the child was required to imitate the words and short sentences stated by the therapist. Rapid Automatic Naming Performance on rapid automatized naming tasks (RAN) has been found to be a strong predictor of reading acquisition (Bishop & League, 2006; Sunseth & Bowers, 2002; Wolf, Bally, & Mooris, 1986). A reading disabled child will often exhibit reduced rates of speed on this task (Wil lburger, Fusseneger, Moll, Wood, & Landerl, 2008). Stimuli utilized are usually digits, colors, or pictures of familiar objects to elicit naming responses that are overlearned or automatized. This particular task is used to study underlying cognitive correlates (i.e., accuracy and naming speed) to further analyze if these correlates are crucial to learning to read. Despite the use of the predictive power of automatic naming speed tasks, RAN measures that involve letters and digits (numbers) are un able to be used with preschool children who do not know the alphabet or numbers. Many incoming kindergarteners are unable to name colors. The exploratory task of Rapid Automatic Naming was adapted from the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing: Rapid Object Naming task (1999) and the Dyslexia Early Screening Test Rapid Naming (1996) which only included pictures of objects. The experimental tasks chosen for this section consisted of 1) Rapid Automatic Naming of eight familiar pictures (dog, bike, cat, cup etc. ) with a matrix of two rows of four pictures; 2) a Rapid Automatized Naming task consisting of a matrix of twelve familiar pictures (dog, bike, cat, cup, etc. ). The children were timed in seconds for each task and were averaged for the final raw score in seconds.

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58 Data Collection Procedures: Data was collected using the test protocols containing the experimental tasks (See Appendix F). All scores were raw scores or percentage scores reflecting the amount of items correctly completed. Please refer to each domain explained above for the scoring and data collection practices. Data Reduction D ata were organized using an Excel worksheet by one of the undergraduate research assistants. Data consisted of raw scores, percentages and proportional scores (Writing Let ters in Name task and Naming Letters in Name Written by the child) In order to better analyze the percentage scores, they were changed into proportion values which is another term for relative frequency. Proportion al values are calculated by dividing th e number of times an event occurs by the total number of times an experiment is carried out (rfn(E)= r/n or 30/50=3/5=.6). S o if a child only wrote of their name (the Result (r=3) would be divided by the actual numb er of letters in their name (n= 4), the proportion value would equal .75. After all of the childs performance scores on the experimental tasks at age three and at age four were documented into the database, the scores were calculated using SPSS (originally, Statistical Package for the Social Sc iences) was released in its first version in 1968 after being developed by Norman H. Nie and C. Hadlai Hull. Currently, this program is PASW: IBM PASW (Predictive Analytics SoftWare) (Nie & Hull, 2009) and was used to convert the raw and proportional scores into z scores (Newton & Rudestam, 1999). A z score is a transformation of a normal probability distribution in such a way that the mean of the distribution will be 0 and the standard deviation is equal to 1. The z score standardizes the distribution. T he term standard normal distribution

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59 is used to describe thi s type of curve. Therefore, a z score of +1 indicates the point on the horizontal axis that i s one standard deviation above the mean. These z scores were then used in all the analyses in the project and are further reported in Chapter Three

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60 Table 2 1. Tasks for three year olds Domain Tasks Description # of items in task Scoring Criteria Phonological Processing Task 1: Rhyming Knowledge with pictures Two words were presented to the child both orally and with pictures of the words. For example, the child was presented a picture of a hat and a cat and asked to tell the examiner if the words rhyme or not. 10 items Basal= three consecutive correct Ceiling= three consecutive incorrect Task 2: Rhyme Memory The child was presented with a stimulus word, such as dog, and then shown a series of three pictures named by the examiner. For example, the child was required to point to the item in the series that rhymed with the stimulus word dog. (frog, pig, can). There are seven items, which include words that rhyme with maximal phonetic differences (i.e., paw/straw); seven items, which contain a final consonant match for rhyming (i.e. night/kite), and then six pairs that contain a vowel match for rhyme (i.e., sad/mad). four trial s and eight test items Basal: three correct Ceiling: three incorrect Task 3 : Rhyme Production The child was read a story containing rhyming stanzas; then the child was required to fill in the missing blank with either a word or pseudoword that rhymes with the stanza. two trial s ; four test items Basal: two consecutive correct Ceiling : two consecutive incorrect Task 4 : Segmenting Sentences to Words The child was asked to match blocks to the number of different words they heard. For example, the examiner states Joe and the child must place one block on the table. The examiner then states, Joe walks and the ch ild was required to place two different colored blocks on the table. Item s that range in length from two six words. six trial items; ten test items Basal: three correct Ceil ing: two incorrect in a grouping

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61 Table 2 1. Continued Domain Tasks Description # of items in task Scoring Criteria Emergent Writing Task 5: Copying The child was required to copy strokes (horizontal, vertical, crossover patterns, such as X), shapes (circle and triangle), numbers, and capital letters that were presented on a test booklet placed in fr ont of him/her with a preschool -sized pencil or crayon. eight items Basal: three correct Ceiling: three incorrect Task 6: Name Writing Child asked to write their name on a piece o f preschool paper with a pre pencil N/A %age of letters correctly formed Task 7: Identifying letters in name Child required to name the letters in their name that they just wrote N/A %age of letters in name correctly named and pointed to Task 8: Story writing Child was given a piece of paper w/ which to draw a picture and then write a story about it on lined paper. N/A 1= identify beginning and ending of story; 0= no reply or inaccurate answer Task 9: ABC writing Child required to write th eir ABCs as best they could using preschool lined paper and a larger preschool pencil. No time limit. N/A 1= identifies beginning and end of story they wrote or ABC sequence; 1=exhibits left to right directionality; 1= names some of letters written

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62 Table 2 1. Continued Domain Tasks Description # of items in task Scoring Criteria Fine Motor Functioning Task 10. Finger tap ping with index finger with both dominant and nondominant Child asked to press down on a ny button on a scientific calculator with their dominant index finger first and then their nondominant index finger as many times as they could in one minute. N/A two trials: average in seconds on each of the dominant and nondominant index fingers Task 11: Pincer tapping with both dominant and nondominant hands Child instructed to touch their index finger to their thumb (as in a modified pincer grasp) 10 times. First, they were to perform this action on their dominant hand for two trials and then their nondominant hand over two trials. N/A The childs performance of this task was measured as the amount of seconds tak en to repeat ten pincer taps. They were given two trials and the measures were averaged. Orthographic knowledge Task 12 : ABC knowledge Child required to sing the ABC song N/A 10= sings song without errors; 08= 0-5 errors; 05= 5-10 errors; 01= 10-15 errors; no singing of song= 0. Task 13: Letter Discrimination Child required toidentify a letter from a field of five shapes, numbers, and one letter. eight items Measured as the number correct (raw score) Task 14: Receptive Letter Identification Using modified ALL protocol, child was required to point to letters named by the examiner Seven items The childs performance was measured by the amount of correct items (raw score). Memory Skills (Verbal Memory) Task 15: Digit -Word Span F orward Child required to repeat series of numbers/nouns presented orally. These sequences contained from 2-4 items in a sequence Ten trials Basal: three correct; Ceiling= three consecutive incorrect

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63 Table 2-1. Continued Domain Tasks Description # of items in task Scoring Criteria Memory (verbal) Task 16 : Digit word span backward (Working Memory) Child required to repeat a series of two three numbers -animals presented orally in reverse order. For example, the child heard "apple-grapes" and then asked to repeat them backwards, "grapes -apple". This task was first trained with a visual cue for three items before the cue was taken away and data taking began. 10 items Basal: 2 consecutive correct Ceiling: 2 consecutive incorrect Memor y (visual) Task 17 : Short term visual memory Ch ild presented with a series of two four pictures, blindfolded, and then asked to name the missing item when blindfold was removed. One item was removed while child was blindfolded 10 items Basal: three correct; Ceiling: three consecutive incorrect Task 18 : Sequential Memory (visual; immediate) Ch ild presented with series of two four pictures of familiar animals; then the child was blindfolded, once the blindfold was removed, the child was asked to place pictures in the same place they had seen them initially. 10 items Basal: 2 correct; Ceiling: 2 consecutive incorrect

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64 Table 2 1. Continued Task 19 : Sequential Memory after a delay of two minutes Task 20: Sequential Memory after a delay of five minutes Child was asked to put a set of pictures in order (2-4) that had been correctly reproduced in Task 18. The delay was set at two minutes after Task 18 was completed. Child was asked to put a set of pictures in order (two-four ) th at had been correctly reproduced in Task 18. The delay was s et at five minutes after Task 18 was completed. one item One item Basal: series correctly reproduced Ceiling: series reproduced with errors Basal: series correctly reproduced Ceiling: series reproduced with errors Language Task 21 : Listening Comprehension Child presented with a simple sentence and then asked a question about the contents of the sentence they just heard. For example, "The bird is swimming": "Who is swimming?" No pictures were used with this task. ten items Basal: three consecutive correct; Ceiling: three consecutive incorrect Task 22: Expressive Language Child was requested to listen to an age appropriate sentence and then repeat it. ten items Basal: 2 consecutive correct Ceiling: 2 consec. incorrect Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN) Test 20: Rapid Automatic Naming (8 items) The child was required to name pictures of animals (cat, dog, cup, bike) presented in a matrix of two rows containing four pictures. Only eight items in a matrix of 2x4; 2 trials conducted Each of two trials was measured in seconds and then averaged. Test 21: Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items) The child was required to name pictures of familiar objects (cat, dog, cup, bike) presented in a matr ix of two rows containing four pictures. 12 items presented in a matrix of 3x4; two trials conducted Each of two trials was measured in seconds and then averaged.

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65 Table 2 2. Experimental tasks given at three years of age administered to the same students at four years of age with the addition of the standardized ALL Emergent Literacy Composite Score for ALL Tasks Description # of items Scoring Criteria Task 1: Letter Knowledge Includes three aspects of letter knowledge: letter identification, letter naming, and letter production. In letter identification, the child points to letters named by the examiner; in letter naming, child names letters as the examiner points to them; and, in letter production, the child writes lett ers, in either uppercase or lowercase, as they are dictated by the examiner 30 items Ceiling: six consecutive incorrect answers Task 2: Rhyme Knowledge Assessed through two tasks: rhyme recognition and identification of rhyme oddities. Rhyme Recogniti on: child listens to the examiner name two pictures (i.e., bone/phone ) and then must determine if the words sound alike. In identity of rhyme oddity, the examiner names three four pictures and the child identifies which one doesn't rhyme (i.e., cat, pen hat). eight items Ceiling= six consecutive errors Task 3 : Rhyme Production On rhyme production in words task, the examiner says a word ( f eet ) and the child supplies a rhyming word (e.g., meet, beat, seat ) in rhyme production in context, the examiner reads a story to the child and in each sentence of the story, they must complete the sentence with a real or nonsense rhyming word (e.g., When she turned on the light, she saw a ____.) 25 items Ceiling= six cons ecutive incorrect

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66 Table 2 2. Continued Language Skills Composite Score for ALL Tasks Description # of items Scoring Criteria Task 4: Basic Concepts Examiner presents an oral direction, such as, "Point to the big tree," or "Show me the third turtle". The child then points to the best representation of the concept from a series of three, four or five pictures 28 Basal: six consecutive 0 scores Ceiling: six consecutive 0 scores Task 5: Receptive Vocabulary Using a picture identification task, the examiner says a word and the child selects a picture out of four choices that best illustrates the word. 20 items Basal= six consecutive 0 scores Ceiling: six consecutive 0 scores Task 6. Parallel Sentence Production In modified procedure, the examiner describes a picture with a sentence containing a targeted grammatical morpheme or sentence type, such as, irregular past tense or a passive sentence. The child then views a second picture designed to elicit the sametargeted structure. 30 items Basal: si x consecutive 0 scores Ceiling: six consecutive 0 scores Task 7: Listening Comprehension Child is read three stories and then is asked to retell the story and answer questions about it. 21 items none for discontinuing testing

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67 CHAPTER 3 RESULTS This study was designed to provide developmental longitudinal data on preschoolers performance on subtests in the domains of phonological awareness emergent writing, memory, orthographic awareness, fine motor speed, language, and rapid automatic naming The four specific objectives of this study were to determine: 1) Which tasks show a normal distribution of scores (i.e., without skewness and /or kurtosis) at three years of age and which show a normal distribut io n of scores at four years of age? 2) Which tasks show a normal distribution of scores at both three and four years of age? 3 ) Which tasks that meet normality criterion at three years of age best predict the childrens performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Langu age Index scores, and 4) Which tasks that meet normality criterion for the same children at four years of age best predict the childrens performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores? Testing for Normality of Scores In o rder to ascertain which tasks showed a normal distribution of scores at each age level, des criptive statistics, skewness, and kurtosis scores were used to justify normality. Skewness a nd kurtosis scores (Brown, 1997) show that abnormally skewed and peaked distributions of data may be signs of trouble and that problems may then arise in applying testing statistics. Therefore, each task was analyzed for its skewness and ku rtosis values for the threeyear olds and for the four year olds in order to make decisi ons about excluding tasks that were too easy or difficult. Task s were judged as showing normal distribution based on w hether they fell within +/ 1.00 of the mean for skewness, or +/ 1. 00 from the mean for kurtosis. The descriptive statistics for each of

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68 the tasks measured when the children were three years old and when they were four years old are displayed in Tables 3 1 and 32, respectively. Most statisticians use the skewness levels for decisions regarding distribution of scores. Typically, the kurtos is levels are only used for a more indepth analysis of abnormal distributions ( Newton & Rudestam, 1999). For this study, both skewness and kurtosis values were used to determine if a tasks score met the criteria for being normally distributed. This conservative approach was taken because at the outset of the study, it was unknown which tasks were appropriate for normally developing threeyear old children. In statistics, skewness is a measure of the asymmetry of the probability distribution of a real valued random variable and renders a value of the degree of asymmetry of a distribution around its mean (Agresti & Finlay, 1997). As represented by the normal curve, data are not skewed if they fall symmetrically on each side of the mean (68% of the data falls within one standard deviation of the mean with 34% above and below the mean). Positive skewness in dicates a distribution with an asymmetric tail extending towards more positive values. Negative skewness demonstrates a distribution with an asymmetric tail extending towards more negative values ( Agresti & Finlay, 1997). Normal distributions produce a ske wness statistic of around zero. As the skewness departs from zero, a negative value indicates the possibility of a negatively skewed distribution with a concentration of scores on the high end of the scale. In the present data set, skewness values of +/ 1 .00 or greater were two standard errors below the mean for a normal distribution and represented scores that were skewed to a significant degree ( Newton & Rudestam, 1999) When the score on a task was positively skewed,

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69 the task was considered too difficul t for the children; conversely, when a score on a task was negatively skewed, the task was considered too easy. Kurtosis is a measure of the peakedness of the probability distribution of a real valued random variable. Higher kurtosis means more of the va riance is due to infrequent extreme deviations, as opposed to frequent modestly sized deviations (Newton & Rudestam, 1999). Normal distributions produce a kurtosis statistic of around zero as represented by the bell shape of the normal curve. A positive ku rtosis value indicates the possibility of a leptokurtic distribution (high peak) and a negative value indicates a platykurtic distribution (flat or concave shape). Values of two standard errors above or below the standard error of kurtosis indicate a signi ficant kurtosis problem in the data. In the present data set, tasks that revealed kurtosis values greater than +/ 1.0 0 represented curves that were either leptokurtic or platykurtic (Newton & Rudestam, 1999). Subtests with Normal Distribution at Each Age Level The first research goal was to ascertain which subtests show a normal distribution of scores (without skewness or kurtosis) at three years of age and which show a normal distribution of scores at four years of age. The following experimental tasks w ere normally distributed at three years of age: (1) Rhyme Judgment; (2) Segmentation; (3) Copying,; (4) Visual Short Term Memory, (5) Sequential Memory; (6) Sequential Memory after two minute delay; (7) Sequential Memory after five minute delay; (8) Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger; (9) Fingertapping with Non dominant Index Finger; (10) Letter Identification; and (11) Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items).

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70 Those subtests showing normal distribution at age four included: (1) Rhyming Judgment; (2) Rhym e Knowledge; (3) Segmentation; (4) Copying; (5) Digit Word Span Backward; (6) Visual Short term Memory; (7) Sequential Memory; (8) Fingertapping with Dominant and Non dominant Index Fingers; and (9) Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items). Table 3 3 lists the task scores that were normally distributed and abnormally distributed at each age level. As shown in this table, many of the tasks were normally distributed during the first year of testing but abnormally distributed during the second year and vice versa. C ompari sons of Performance of Three and Four year olds on Tasks Meeting Normality at Both Age Levels The second research goal was to find those tasks that were normally distributed at both three and four years of age. Those subtests which were normally dis tributed at both age levels included: (1) Rhyme Judgment; (2) Segmentation; (3), Copying; (4) Fingertapping with Dominant and Non dominant Index fFngers; (5) Visual Short term Memory; (6) Sequential Memory; and (7) Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items). Pai red sample t tests were used to compare the performance of the children at three years of age and four years of age for each of the normally distributed tasks. These data are important because some of these tasks may be suitable measures for screening pres choolers (3 5 year olds) who are at risk for later language and/or literacy difficulties). The p value was set at .001 with a confidence level of 99% in order to decrease the probability of a Type Two error (inaccurate rejection of the null hypothesis). The smaller the p value, the stronger the evidence against the null

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71 hypothesis (Ho (phase 1= phase 2 mean) and in favor of the alternative hypothesis (H (phase means are not equal). The results of the paired t test analyses are shown in Table 3 4. As expected, the preschoolers exhibited a significant increase in their scores on all of the normally distributed tasks between three and four years of age. Predictors of ALL Literacy and Language Scores at Three Years The third objective of the study was to predict which normally distributed tasks during the first year of the study (threeyear olds) best predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language I ndex scores one year later. Initially, a forced entry regression procedure (i.e., all normally distributed independent variables are included in the equation and are not deleted from the equation based on any criterion) was utilized for analyzing the threeyear old scores. Four tasks significantly predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score at age three: Letter Identification ( B = .597; t = 3.09; p = .005;, Rhyme Judgment ( B = .391; t = 2.82; p = .009); Fingertapping with n ondominant index finger ( B = .626; t = 2.50; p = .019); and Fingertapping with the dominant index finger ( B = .495; t = 2.05; p = .050). The model data revealed an Adjusted R2 = .443; F (11, 26)= 3.680; p = .003. (See Table 3 5) Again, all tasks that correlated strongly with other normally distributed tasks at age three were deleted before conducting Multiple Linear Regression analysis. The deleted tasks were Fingertapping with the n on dominant i ndex f inger which correlated with F ingertapping with the dominant index finger and Sequential Memory with a FiveMinute Delay which correlated with Sequential Memory with a TwoMinute Delay. In this model, with correlated tasks deleted, Letter Identification ( B = .516; t = 2.54; p = .017) and Rhyme Judgment ( B = .270; t = 1.99; p = .056) predicted performance on the ALL Literacy

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72 Index score. For this model, the Adjusted R2 = .356; Model F (9,28)= 3.280; p = .008. (Refer to Table 36) The same procedure was conducted with the threeyear olds and pr edictors of the ALL Language Index score When a forced entry procedure was used in the analysis, Rhyme Judgment ( B = .394; t = 2.28; p = .031) and Segmentation ( B = .447; t = 2.06; p = .050) predicted the All Language Index scores one year later. For this model the Adjusted R2 = .134; Model F (11,26)= 1.521; p = .183. (Refer to Table 3 7) With all the highly correlated tasks at age three deleted, the regression analysis no longer showed significant predictors with the ALL Language Index score. This model revealed an Adjusted R2 = .323; F (9, 28)= 1.483; p = .202 Predictors of ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Scores at Age Four The fourth objective of this study was to find which tasks meeting normality criterion for the same children at four years of age best predict the childrens performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores. Initially, a forced entry reg ression procedure was conducted to determine which of the ten exploratory task scores in year two of testing (four year olds) significantly predicted performance in ALL Index scores. The tasks which were normally distributed for this analysis included: Rhy me Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger, Fingertapping with Nondominant Index Finger, Digit Word Span Backward, Visual Short term Memory, Sequential Memory and Rapid Automatic Naming of 12 items. The f indings of the forced entry analysis are presented in Table 39 and revealed that Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .552; t= 3.776; p = .001), Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .384; t = 3.114; p = .004) and Segmentation ( B = .317; t = 2.069; p = .048) significantly predicted t he ALL Emergent

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73 Literacy Index score. This model score included an Adjusted R2= .563; F (10, 27)= 5.769; p = .000. Again, all highly correlated tasks were excluded for the regression analysis and i ncluded: Rhyme Judgment, which correlated with Rhyme Knowledge and Fingertapping with Non dominant Index Finger which correlated with Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger The results of th is analysis revealed that Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .512; t = 4.213; p = .000), Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .394; t= 3.288; p = .003) and Segmentation ( B = .303; t = 2.128; p = .042) predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score The model scores were as follows: Adjusted R2 = .581; F (8, 29)= 7.422; p = .000. (See Table 310) Using the same progression of steps as described abov e, a forced entry regression procedure was used initially for analyzing which of the normally distributed tasks at age four were significant predictors of the ALL Language Index score. F ind ings showed that Visual short term memory (B = .513; t = 3.198; p = 004) and Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .350; t = 2.123; p = .043) significantly predicted the ALL Language index score at age four. Digit Word Span Backward moderately predicted the ALL Language Index score ( B = .263; t = 1.890; p = .070) (See Table 311) When the highly correlated tasks were omitted from the multiple linear regression procedure, the tasks of Visual Short term Memory ( B = .487; t = 3.341; p = .002) and Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .352; t = 2.595; p = .015) were strong predictors in this area. Digit W ord Span Backward ( B = .255; t = 1.907; p = .067) was moderately predictive of the ALL Language Index score at age four. (See Table 312)

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74 Correlations In the three year old group, several of task were significantly correlated at the p< .01** and p< .05* level s. Segmentation correlated with Visual Short term Memory (r= .43**) and Fingertapping with NonDominant Index Finger (r= .42**). To a lesser degree, Segmentation correlated with Copying (r= .41*) and Fingertapping with dominant index finger (r= .40*). Copying correlated with Letter Identification (r= .51) and RAN (12 items) (r= .323). Fingertapping with the dominant index finger significantly correlated with the Fingertapping with the nondominant index finger (r= .79). Visual Short Term Memory significant ly correlated with Sequential Memory (r= .56**) and Letter Identification (r= .40*). Letter Identification correlated with Sequential Memory (r= .63**) and Sequential Memory with a Five Minute Delay correlated significantly with Sequential Memory with a Tw o Minute Delay (r= .87**). (See Table 313) In the four year old group, Rhyme Knowledge significantly correlated with Rhyme Judgment (r= .60**) and Segmentation correlated with Rhyme Judgment to a lesser degree (r= .33*). Copying correlated significantly with Segmentation (r= .54**), Sequential Memory (r= .40**) and RAN (12 items) (r= .33*). Sequential Memory significantly correlated with Copying (r= .38*). Fingertapping with the dominant index finger correlated with Fingertapping with the nondominant index finger task (r= .63**) and RAN (12 items) (r= .32*). Digit Word Span Backward correlated with Sequential Memory (r= .35*) and Visual Short term Memory correlated with RAN (12 items) (r= .50**). (See Table 3 14) Summary of Results The tasks that w ere normally distributed during the first year of testing included Rhyme Judgment, Segme ntation, Copying, Fingertapping with D ominant and Non-

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75 dominant index fingers, Visual Short Term Memory, Sequential Memory, Sequential Memory after Twoand Five Minute Delays Letter Identification and RAN (12 items). Those that were normally distributed during the second year of testing included Rhyme Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with both Dominant and Non dominant Index Fingers, Digit Word Span Backward, Visual Short term Memory, Sequential Memory, and RAN (12 items). The tasks that were normally distributed at ages three and four included: Rhyme Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger, Fingertapping with n on dominant index finger, Visual Short term Memory, Sequential Memory and RAN (12 items). These tasks were utilized for multiple regression analyses. C hildrens performance on all of these tasks showed significant improvement over the course of one year (p < .001). (See Table 34) The experimental tasks that significantly predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score at age three when the highly correlated tasks were removed included Letter Identification ( B = .516; t = 2.535; p= .017) and Rhyme Judgment ( B = .270; t = 1.997; p = .056). At age four when highly correlated tasks were removed Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .512; t = 4.213; p = .000), Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .394; t = 3.288; p = .003), and Segmentation ( B = .303; t = 2.128; p = .042) were the significant predi ctors of the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score. At age three, when the highly correlated tasks were removed, there were no significant predictors of the ALL Language Index scores At age four, when the highly correlated tasks were deleted, Visual Short ter m Memory ( B = .487; t = 3.341; p = .002) and Rhyme Knowledge ( B =.352; t = 2.595; p = .015) were the significant predictors of the

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76 ALL Language Index score. However, Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .255; t = 1.907; p = .067) showed a tendency toward predicting the ALL Language Index score. It should be noted that only those experimental tasks showing normal distribution were utilized in these analyses. A greater subject population will increase the power of these results. Tasks in the domains of Phonological Awareness and Memory most frequently predicted both the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores.

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77 Table 3 1. Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measur ed at Three Years of Age (N = 38) Task Total Possibl e Points Range Minimu m Max Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis Phonological Awareness Rhyming Memory 8 8.00 .00 8.00 3. 63 2.94 3.5 0 .215 1.38 Rhyming Judgment 10 10.00 .00 10.00 5.74 3.20 5.00 .233 .755 Rhyming Knowledge 4 4.00 .00 4.00 .973 1.48 0.00 1.16 .323 Segmentation 10 9.00 .00 9.00 4.79 2.78 5.00 .375 1.06 Emergent Writing Copying 22 18.00 4.00 22.00 13.80 4.33 13.00 .134 .482 Writing letters in name 1.00 1.00 .00 1.00 .489 .432 .415 .123 1.79 Naming letters in name 1.00 1.00 .00 1.00 .568 .447 .700 .205 1.85 Writing ABCs 4 4.00 .00 4.00 1.62 1.66 1.00 .452 1.45 Story W riting 5 5.00 .00 5.00 2.08 1.81 2.00 .224 1.31 Fine motor functioning N/A Finger tapping with dominant index finger 35.5 12.00 47.50 25.82 7.70 25.66 .700 .472 Finger tapping with non dominant Index finger 19.50 12.50 32.50 22.36 4.75 21.50 .397 .368 Pincer tapping with dominant hand 8.28 2.72 11.00 4.88 1.78 4.50 1.89 3.79 Pincer tapping with non dominant hand 7.35 2.65 10.00 4.87 1.66 4.50 1.82 3.74 Memory Digit Word span forward 9 3.00 6.00 9.00 8.26 1.00 9.00 1.24 .443 Digit word span backward 12 12.00 .00 12.00 2.61 3.72 .000 1.19 .289 Visual short term memory 6 6.00 .00 6.00 4.03 1.78 4.00 .894 .147 Sequential memory 8 8.00 .00 8.00 3.87 2.24 4.00 .052 .690 Sequential memory after two min. 3 3.00 .00 3.00 1.21 1.04 1.00 .306 1.09 Sequential memory after five min. 3 3.00 .00 3.00 .947 1.14 .000 .689 1.08 Orthographic A wareness Alphabet awareness 10 10.00 .00 10.00 7.61 3.56 10.00 1.31 .101 Letter discrimination 6 6.00 .00 6.00 4.89 1.39 5.00 1.65 3.17

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78 Table 3 1. Continued. Task Total Possible Points Range Minimum Maximum Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis Letter identification 5 5.00 .00 5.00 3.74 1.60 4.50 1.04 .086 Language Language comprehension 8 8.00 .00 8.00 6.74 1.77 7.00 2.16 5.54 Language expression 10 10.00 2.00 8.00 8.24 2.44 9.00 2.22 5.43 Rapid automatic naming N/A For eight items 17.00 8.00 25.00 13.16 3.88 12.25 1.14 1.09 For 12 items 22.00 11.50 33.50 21.12 5.62 20.75 .162 .722

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79 Table 3 2. Descriptive Statistics for Tasks Measu red at Four Years of Age (N = 38) Task Total Possible Points Range Minimum Max Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis Phonological processing Rhyming Memory 8 7.00 1.0 8.00 6.5 5 1.7 2 7.00 1.61 2.50 Rhyming Judgment 10 7.00 3.0 10.00 8.63 2.12 10.00 .821 .965 Rhyming Knowledge 4 4.00 .00 4.00 2.74 1.43 3.00 .980 .307 Segmentation 10 8.00 2.00 10.00 6.32 2.00 6.00 .269 .164 Emergent Writing Copying 22 11.00 11.00 22.00 18.84 2.80 20.00 .824 .155 Writing letters in name 1.00 .75 .25 1.00 .890 .197 1.00 2.02 3.76 Naming letters in name 1.00 .71 .29 1.00 .934 .179 1.00 2.66 6.05 Writing ABCs 4 4.00 .00 4.00 3.42 1.244 4.00 2.03 2.86 Story writing 5 5.00 .00 5.00 4.13 1.36 5.00 1.75 2.77 Fine motor functioning N/A Finger tapping with dominant index finger 27.00 19.00 46.00 32.22 6.99 30.50 .255 -.698 Finger tapping with nondominant index finger 30.00 15.50 45.50 28.46 6.54 29.00 .175 .561 Pincer tapping with dominant hand 3.50 2.50 6.00 3.60 .754 3.50 1.14 1.43 Pincer tapping with nondominant hand 4.94 2.56 7.50 3.84 .941 3.50 2.23 6.43 Memory Digit word span forward 9 4.00 5.00 9.00 8.47 .893 9.00 2.32 6.27 Digit Word span Backwards 12 12.00 .00 12.00 7.26 3.11 7.00 .413 .301 Visual short term memory 6 4.00 2.00 6.00 4.68 1.32 5.00 .723 .431 Sequential Memory 8 7.00 1.00 8.00 5.40 2.06 6.00 .428 .941

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80 Table 3 2. Continued Task Total Possible Points Range Minimum Max Mean SD Median Skewness Kurtosis Memory Sequential Memory after 2 minute delay 3 3.00 .00 3.00 1.53 1.35 2.00 .045 -1.63 Sequential memory after five min. 3 3.00 .00 3.00 1.16 1.24 1.00 .400 1.54 Orthographic awareness Alphabet awareness 10 10.00 .00 10.00 9.26 2.30 10.00 3.72 13.60 Letter discrimination 6 3.00 3.00 6.00 5.66 .745 6.00 2.23 4.34 Letter identification 5 1.00 4.00 5.00 4.76 .431 5.00 1.29 .359 Language Language comprehension 8 2.00 6.00 8.00 7.58 .683 8.00 1.38 .622 Language expression 10 2.00 8.00 10.00 9.79 .577 10.00 2.65 5.80 Rapid automatic naming N/A For eight items 20.50 4.00 24.50 9.56 4.36 8.38 1.73 3.57 For 12 items 20.50 8.00 28.50 15.79 5.19 14.50 .607 .164

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81 Table 3 3. Status of tasks for meeting skewness and kurtosis values for bein g normally distributed in threeand 4 year old data Domain Subtests for three year olds Subtests for four year olds Normal Abnormal Normal Abnormal Phonological Awareness Rhyme Judgment Rhyme Knowledge Seg mentation Rhyme Memory Segmentation Rhyme Memory Rhyme Knowledge Rhyme Judgment Emergent W riting Copying Write Name Copying Write Name Name Letters in Name Name Letters in Name Write ABCs Write ABCs Story Writing Story Writing Memory Vis. Short Memory Digit Word Span Forward Digit Word Span Backward Digit Word Span Forward Sequential Memory Digit Word Span Backward Vis. Short Memory SEQM 2 min delay SEQM 2 min delay Sequential Memory SEQM 5min delay SEQM 5min delay Orthographic Awareness Letter Identification Alphabet Awareness N/A Alphabet Awareness Letter Discrimination Letter Discrimination Letter Identification Fine motor function/speed Finger tapping index finger (dominant) Pincer tapping (dominant) Finger tapping index finger (dominant) Pincer tapping (dominant) Finger tapping index finger (nondominant) Pincer tapping (nondom) Finger tapping index finger (nondominant) Pincer tapping (nondom) Language N/A Language Comprehension N/A Language Comprehension Language Expression Language Expression Rapid Auto N aming 1 2 items N/A 12 items 8 items

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82 Table 3 4. Co mparison of mean differences of normally distributed subtests at ages 3 and 4 Paired Differences 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean Lower Upper t df Sig. Pair 1 Rhyme Judgment 2.89474 3.05614 0.49577 3.89926 1.89021 5.839 37 0.000 Pair 2 Segmentation 1.52632 3.01112 0.48847 2.51605 0.53658 3.125 37 0.000 Pair 3 Copying 5.05263 4.04667 0.65646 6.38274 3.72252 7.697 37 0.000 Pair 4 Ft dif1 ftdif2 6.40015 9.694 1.57257 9.58649 3.21382 4.07 37 0.000 Pair 5 F tnondomif1 ftnif2 6.09288 6.61938 1.0738 8.26861 3.91714 5.674 37 0.000 Pair 6 Vis. Short Term Mem 1 & 2). 0.65789 2.0438 0.33155 1.32967 0.01388 1.984 37 0.006 Pair 7 Sequential Memory 1.52632 2.94762 0.47817 2.49518 0.55746 3.192 37 0.000 Pair 8 RAN (twelve items) 5.32658 4.87762 0.79125 3.72335 6.92981 6.732 37 0.000 Note. These values obtained using *p< .001. Note: ftdif1 and 2 represent Fingertapping with the dominant index finger and ftnondomif 1 and 2 represent Fingertapping with non-dominant index finger. Note: RAN (twelve objects) represents Rapid Automatic Naming of twelve items

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83 Table 3 5. Linear Regression Results for A LL Emergent Literacy with 3year olds (N= 38) Forced Entry Procedure Subtest B SE t Sig. Tolerance Rhyme Judgment Segmentation Copying Fingertap (dominant index) Fingertap (nondom. index) Visual Short term Memory Sequential Memory Seqmemory with 2 min. delay Seqmemory with 5 min. delay Letter Identification RAN with 12 items .391 .035 .087 .495 .626 .116 .229 .395 .255 .597 .015 .139 .174 .164 .241 .250 .168 .204 300 .285 .194 .154 2.82 .202 .527 2.05 2.50 .690 1.125 1.320 .894 3.09 .094 009 .841 .603 .050 .019 .496 .271 .199 .379 .005 .925 .781 .496 .556 .258 .240 .534 .361 .167 .185 .402 .632 Note Adjusted R2= .443; F (11, 26) = 3.680; p = 003 Table 3 6 Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Emergent Literacy at 3 Years N = 38) without highly correlated tasks Subtest B SE t Sig. Tol. Rhyming j udgment Segmentation Copying Finger tap (dominant index) Visual short term memory Sequential memory Seqmemory with 2 min. delay Letter identification RAN with 12 items .270 .129 .078 .013 .017 .257 .013 .516 .070 .135 .180 .174 .152 .171 .219 .154 .204 .160 1.99 .713 .448 .083 .102 1.17 .085 2.54 .440 .056 .482 .657 .934 .919 .251 .933 .017 .664 .952 .535 .574 .754 .594 .363 .736 .419 .679 Note. Model A djusted R2 = .356. Model F (9,28) = 3.275, p = 008.

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84 Table 3 7. Forced Entry Regression for 3year old performance on the ALL Language Index score (N= 38) Variable B Std. Error t Sig. Tolerance Rhyme Judgment .394 .173 2.27 .031 .781 Segmentation .447 .217 2.06 .050 .496 Copying .120 .205 .584 .564 .556 Fingertapping with index finger (dominant hand) .527 .301 1.80 .092 .258 Fingertap (nondom. hand) .441 .312 1.41 .170 .240 Visual short term memory .339 .209 1.62 .117 .534 Sequential Memory .061 .255 .240 .812 .361 Seqmemory with 2 min. delay .254 .374 .679 .503 .167 Seqmemory with 5 min. delay .445 .356 1.250 .222 .185 Letter Identification .384 .241 1.60 .123 .402 RAN with 12 items 165 .192 .859 .398 .632 Note. Model Adjusted R2= .134; Model F (11,26) = 1.521, p= .183

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85 Table 3 8. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 3 Years (N = 38) without highly correlated tasks. Variable B SE t Sig. Tol. Rhyming j udgment Segmentation Copying Finger tap (dominant index) Visual short term memory Sequential memory Seqmemory with 2 min. delay Letter identification RAN with 12 items .270 .348 .099 .202 .244 .034 .239 .301 .080 1.59 .213 .205 .179 .202 .258 .181 .240 .189 1.694 1.64 .483 1.127 1.209 .133 1.320 1.253 .422 .101 .112 .633 .269 .237 .895 .197 .221 .676 .952 .535 .574 .754 .594 .363 .736 .419 .679 Note Model R2 = .323. Model adjusted R2 = .105. Model F (9,28) = 1.483, p = 202 Table 3 9 Multiple Linear Regression Result s for ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 years (N = 38); Forced Entry Procedure Variable B SE t Sig. Tol. Rhyme Judgment Rhyme Knowledge Segmentation Copying Fingertapdominant index finger Fingertapnondominant index finger Digit word span backward Visual short term memory Sequential memory Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items .091 .552 .317 .032 .207 .107 .384 .117 .080 .184 .153 .146 .153 .162 .155 .163 .123 .142 .135 .146 .592 3.776 2.069 .196 1.331 .655 3.114 .823 .595 1.259 .559 001 048 846 194 518 004 417 557 .219 .504 .552 .504 .451 .489 .444 .776 .584 .647 .552 Note R2 for model = .681. Adjusted R2= 563. F (10,27)= 5.769 p = .00 0 .

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86 Table 3 10. Multiple Linear Regression Results f or ALL Emergent Literacy at 4 Years (N = 38); without highly correlated tasks Tasks B SE t Sig. Tol. Rhyme knowledge Segmentation Copying Fingertapnondominant index finger Digit word span backward Visual short term memory Sequential memory Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items) .512 .303 .017 .138 .394 .144 .09 .196 .122 .142 .139 .119 .120 .131 .126 .139 .4.213 2.128 .126 1.162 3.288 1.103 .741 1.413 .000 042 .900 .255 .003 .279 .465 .168 .766 .560 .590 .801 .786 .663 .712 .586 Note Model R2 = .672. Model adjusted R2 = .581. Model F (8,29) = 7.422. p = .000 Table 3 11. Forced Entry Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at 4 years (N=38) Task B SE t Sig. Tol. Rhyme judgment Rhyme knowledge Fingertapdominant index finger Fingertapnondominant index finger Segmentation Copying Digit word span backward Visual short term memory Sequential Memory Rapid Automatic Naming12 items .013 .350 .155 .087 .237 .137 .263 .513 .061 .271 .173 .165 .175 .184 .173 .182 .139 .160 .152 .165 .073 2.123 .887 .475 1.371 .752 1.890 3.198 .397 1.641 .943 .043 .383 .638 .182 .459 .070 004 .694 .112 .504 .552 .489 .444 .504 .451 .776 .584 .647 .552 Note. R2 for model = .594; Adjusted R2 = .444; Model F (10.27)= 3.958; p = .002

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87 Table 3 12. Multiple Linear Regression Results for ALL Language at Four Years (N = 38) without highly correlated tasks Task B SE t Sig. Tol erance Rhyme knowledge Segmentation Copying Digit span backward Visual short term memory Sequential memory Fingertap dominant index finger Rapid Automatic Naming 12 items .352 .230 .107 .255 .487 .056 .208 .255 .136 .159 .155 .134 .146 .141 .133 .155 2.595 1.451 .692 1.907 3.341 .397 1.566 1.642 .015 .158 .494 .067 .002 .694 .128 .111 .766 .560 .590 .786 .663 .712 .801 .586 Note. Model adjusted R2 = .478; Model F (8,29) = 5.238; p = .000

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88 Table 3 13. Correlations for three year olds with normal distribution Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1. Rhyme Judgment 2. Segmentation .006 3. Copying .008 .409* 4. Finger tap dom. index finger .084 .399* .196 5. Finger tap nondominant index finger .071 .418** .241 .786** 6. Visual Short term memory .046 .433** .257 .28 .133 7. Sequential memory .174 .316 .298 .18 .189 .556** 8. Sequential memory with 2 minute delay .001 .22 0.08 .01 .248 .099 .266 9. Sequential memory with 5 minute delay .114 .261 .057 .03 .181 .134 .272 .874** 10. Letter identification .088 .244 .511** .06 .074 .395* .634** .096 .008 11. RAN with 8 items .276 .062 .102 0.1 .091 .183 .058 .064 .063 .057 12. RAN with 12 items .049 .002 .323* 0.18 .235 .269 .432 .107 .156 .32

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89 Table 3 14. Significant correlations for 4year olds Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1. Rhyme Judgment 2. Rhyme Knowledge .600** 3. Segmentation .327* 0.21 4. Copying 0.11 .099 .536** 5. Finger tap dominant index finger .013 .144 .046 .039 6. Finger tap nondominant index finger .176 .252 .027 .207 .629** 7. Digit word span backward .187 .205 .356* .251 .095 .002 8. Visual short term memory .17 .228 .264 .302 .012 0.15 .126 9. Sequential memory .312 .119 .460** .382* .028 .042 .346* .276 10. RAN with 12 items .145 .208 .331* .217 .322* .236 .258 .498** .258 Note. p < .05. ** p < .01.

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90 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION What do We Know About Predictors? Juel (1988) noted that childrens reading performance is highly stable from early in elementary school and Berninger et al. (2002) and Coyne, et al. (2004) stated that more success with prevention and earlier intervention is achieved with younger than with older students. Information of this nature underscores the importance of determining which children are at risk for developing reading difficulties so th at prevention can be instituted as early has possible. The majority of predictive studies have focused on children in kindergarten with only a few looking into the predictive accuracy of testing batteries administered to preschool children. The current stu dy was an attempt to take prevention one step further by studying the behaviors of preschool children relative to their performance on a standardized test of literacy and language. Badian (1988; 1994; 1998) demonstrated that multidimensional assessment bat teries show high predictive power in identifying children with reading difficulties up to nine years post initial testing. Studies that have incorporated child performance variables (e.g., phonological awareness, rapid automatic naming, visual matching), d emographics, and family history to achie ve have identified strong, predictive factors results of broad reading performance (Badian, 1994; Fowler & Cross, 1986). Other studies, which solely included only measures of preschoolers performance in the areas of emergent literacy tasks, have also identified significant predictors of future reading achievement (Chaney, 1998; Bowey, 1995; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). A few norm referenced and or criterion referenced diagnostic measures have been developed for kindergarten and preschool children to be utilized for diagnostic

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91 assessment. While these measures have used included adequate psychometric properties and demonstrated simultaneous validity, few have shown a reliable, consistent, and longitudinal predictive capacity, such as, strong correlations with later decoding or comprehension measures, and the power to positively identify at risk children (Havey, Story, & Baker, 2002; Phillips, Lonigan, & Wyatt, 2008; Wilson & Lonigan, 2009). Nevertheless, the following assessments are routinely used by trained professionals: Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI: Texas Education Agency, 1999), the Test of Early Reading Ability 3 (Reid, Hresko, & Hammill, 2001), Test of Phonological Awareness 2 (Torgeson & Bryant, 2004); the Assessment of Language and Literacy (Lombardino, Lieberman, & Brown, 2005), the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL; Lonigan, Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 2007), and the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening in both kindergarten and preschool versions (PALS K and PALS PreK; Invernizzi, Juel, Swank, & Meier, 2007; Invernizzi, Sullivan, Meier, & Swank, 2004). The popular kindergarten entry readiness tests of broad measures of cognition and academic skills have not shown provable validity (Mo rrison, Griffith, & Alberts, 1997; Shepard, 1997; Stipek, 2002). La Paro and Piantas (2000) metaanalysis of thirty two studies claiming to predict academic outcomes in kindergarten and/or first grade based on academic measures in preschool resulted in an average correlational finding of .43 (range= .08.72). A short, an easy to administer screening tool to adequately identify preschool children for later emergent reading and later language difficulties is needed due to time constraints inherent in typica l classroom schedules and routines.

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92 In their attempt to examine this issue in emergent literacy screeners, Wilson & Lonigan (2008) used two screening tools: the recently revised Get Ready to ReadRevised (GRTR R; Lonigan & Wilson, 2008), and the Individual Growth and Developmental Indicators (IGDIs; McConnell, 20). These two screening tools were administered to the preschoolers just before they entered preschool. After two months, when the children had acclimated to their classes and teachers, their emergent literacy skills were assessed usin g a diagnostic tool, the Test of Preschool Early Literacy ( TOPEL ; Lonigan, Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 2007) which was normed on 852 children at three, four and five years of age. In this study, sensitivity settings were generated through receiver operat ing characteristic curves (ROC) and optimal cut scores were selected for each screening tools prediction of criterion measures of print knowledge, phonological awareness, oral language, and overall emergent literacy skills prior to data analysis. Both scr eeners were administered just before the beginning of the preschool year and then three months afterwards. The TOPEL was administered when the children had been in their preschool classes for a month. The researchers found that at optimal cut scores of .90, the GRTR R was a more accurate screening tool for accurate classification of overall emergent literacy skills than the IGDIs and was less timeconsuming for teachers and other professionals to administer. A weakness of th e GRTR R is that its results do n ot categori ze a specific weakness in a specific area of emergent literacy skill (such as, print knowledge, oral language, and/or phonological awareness). Furthermore, numerous instances of false positives occurred when compared to the TOPEL subscales (Wil son & Lonigan, 2008; p.72).

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93 Numerous studies have addressed the question of which emergent literacy skills predict later reading ability in four to fiveyear olds (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 2001; Scarborough, 2001; Velluntino & Scanlon, 2001; Berninger, & Har t, 1992; Justice, Invernizzi, Meier, 2002); however, knowledge of the development of emergent literacy in three year olds has appeared in the literature only within the last decade (Bowey, 2005; Lonigan, Burgess, & Anthony, 2000). In order to begin to develop a screening tool for preschoolers, the present study was designed to determine (1) which exploratory tasks were most appropriate for normally developing three year olds (i.e., normally distributed) and (2) which of these tasks predicted the childrens performance on the ALLs Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores, respectively (ALL ; Lombardino, Leiberman, & Brown, 2005) The following four research questions were addressed: (1) Which exploratory tasks showed a normal distribution of scores (i.e., without skewness and/or kurtosis) for threeyear olds and which showed a normal distribution four year olds ? 2) Which exploratory tasks showed a normal distribution of scores at both three and four years of age? (3) Which tasks that met normality criteri a for the threeyear old sample best predicted the childrens performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores, respectively, one year later? and (4) Which exploratory tasks that met normality criteria for the same children at four years of age best predicted their performance on the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index scores, respectively? Tasks with Normally Distributed Scores Eleven of the exploratory tasks were normally distributed for the threeyear old sample: Rhyme Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with dominant and nondominant index finger, Visual Short Term Memory, Sequential Memory, Sequential Memory after a two and five minute delay, Letter Identification, and Rapid Automatic

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94 Naming (12 items). Ten of the exp loratory tasks were normally distributed tasks for the same children at four years of age were: Rhyme Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Segmentation, Copying, Fingertapping with the dominant index finger and non dominant index finger, Digit Word Span Backward, S equential Memory, Visual Short Term Memory and Rapid Automatic Naming for 12 items. These tasks were used in the correlation and multiple regression analyses to reduce the influence of multicollinearity. For the threeyear olds, the tasks that were negati vely skewed (too easy) were: Digit Word Span Forward, Alphabetic Awareness (ABC song), Letter Discrimination, Language Comprehension and Language Expression. The tasks that were too difficult for this age level included: Rhyme Knowledge, Pincer tapping wi th dominant hand and with nondominant hand, Digit Word Span Backward and Rapid Automatic Naming (8 items). The tasks that showed kurtosis (platykurtic) problems were Rhyme Memory, Writing Letters in Name, Naming Letters in Name, Writing ABCs and Story Wri ting. Those tasks that indicated a high peak, or leptokurtic problem included Pincer tapping with dominant and nondominant hand, Language Comprehension, Language Expression and Rapid Automatic Naming (8 items). For the four year olds, tasks that were too easy were: Rhyme Memory, Writing and naming letters in their name, Writing ABCs, Story Writing, Digit Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness, Letter Discrimination, Letter Identification, Language Comprehension and Language Expression. The tasks that were too difficult at this age level included: Pincer tapping with both dominant and non dominant hands and Rapid Automatic Naming for eight items. Those tasks that were platykurtic included: Sequential Memory after a two and five minute delay and Letter Iden tification. Those

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95 that were leptokurtic were Rhyme Memory, Writing Letters and Naming Letters in Name, Writing ABCs, Story Writing, Pincer tapping with both dominant and nondominant hands, Digit Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness, Letter Discrimination, Language Expression and Rapid Automatic Naming (8 items). Most studies of phonological sensitivity in preschool children have been limited by small sample sizes at each age level and by the limited number of phonological measures used. Lonigan, et al. (1998) found that, on the average, young childrens performance on tasks designed to assess phonological sensitivity was relatively low. However, a number of the two and threeyear old children in th eir study demonstrated phonological sens itivity at the phonemic level MacLean, et al. (1987) found that 21% of threeyear olds performed above chance on a rhyme oddity task, and 38% scored above chance on an alliteration oddity task Fox and Routh (1975) required 50 children (10 at each age from 3 to 7 years) segment sentences into words, words into syllables, and syllables into phonemes. They found that even some of the threeyear olds could segment syllables into phonemes In the current study, Segmentation and Rhyme Judgment were the on ly task s in the Phonol ogical Awareness domain that were normally distributed at both three and four years of age. Level & Cantor ( 1981) and Smith & Tager Flushberg (1982) found agerelated performance differences on a forced choice rhymematching ta sk with preschool age children. Chaney (1992) administered several phonological sensitivity tasks (i.e., rhyme matching, sent ence segmenting, phoneme blending) to 43 threeyear old children but

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96 did not report the relations between performance on the different tasks; however, a composite phonological index was correlated with both age and language scores. For the four year olds, writing skills were much too easy with the exception of the Copying task, which was normally distributed at both age levels. The three year olds scores were not skewed but they were platykurtic which indicates a lower, wider peak around the mean (that is, a lower probability than a normally distributed variable of values near the mean) and thinner tails (if viewed as the height of the probability density that is, a lower probability than a normally distributed variable of extreme values ) (Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1982; Harst, Woodward & Burke, 1984; Sulzby, 1986). Most of them were already beginning to write their names and name the letters in their name. The Digit Word Span Forward task which used a range of digits from 1 to 4 was too easy for the three and four year olds (w hich questions just how many digits or words a preschooler can remember as the norm for children at age ten is seven items remembered (Satz, 1975) Visual Short T erm Memory an d Sequential Memory tasks were normally distributed for both the three and four year olds Similarly, the Orthographic Awareness and Language tasks were too easy for the preschoolers studied at both age levels. The Language and Digit Word Span Forward tasks in particular were so easy that there was a ceiling effect at age three. Future language comprehension and expression tasks will need to include higher levels of vocabulary (Whitehurst and Lonigan, 1998; Snow, 1991; Walker, et al, (1994) and more com plex syntactic tasks (Tunmer, Nesdale, & Wright (1987); Tunm er, Herriman, & Nesdale,1988)

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97 On the Rapid Automatic N aming (RAN) (8 objects) task most children exhibited problems when they first tried the task with eight objects. They exhibited problems wi th quick retrieval of the objects names and often named the items in a random manner. However, after being trained to name from left to right across rows, they were able to perform the twelve item version of the RAN task Tasks with Normally Distributed S cores for B oth T hree and F our year olds Experimental tasks that were normally distributed at both three and four years of age included: Rhyme Judgment, Segmentation, Copying, Sequential Memory, Visual Short Term Memory, Fingertapping with the Dominant and Non dominant Index Fingers, and Rapid Automatic Naming (12 items). For the four year olds, Digit Word Span Backward was the best predictor of the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score while both Visual Short Term memory and Digit Word Span Backward were the best predictors of the ALL Language Index score. Memory was the most prominent domain that predicted the ALL within this particular subject population. Although memory tasks were strongly correlated with a majority of the tasks in other domains, several tasks did not correlate with any tasks from the Memory domain. These tasks were: Rhyme Memory; Story Writing; and Fingertapping with the Dominant Index finger. The majority of the tasks at age three were more strongly correlated with the ALL Emergent Literac y Index score than with the ALL Language Index score. (See Table 313) Performance of the four year olds showed a more even distribution of correlations between the ALL Emergent Literacy and ALL Language Index scores. (See Table 34) The tasks not correlat ed with the Memory domain at age four included: Segmentation; ABC writing; Story Writing; and Fingertapping of the Index finger in both hands.

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98 Correlations and predictors found in linear regression analyses at both age levels suggest that memory is a key u nderlying cognitive construct for many skills that are associated with emergent literacy acquisition. Predictors of the ALL Emergent Literacy and Language Index Scores Analyses of the threeyear old results showed that Letter Identification ( B = .516; t = 2. 54; p = .017) and Rhyme Judgment ( B = .270; t = 1.99; p = .056) significantly predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score. No tasks were shown to be significant predictors of the ALL Language Index score when highly correlated tasks were deleted from the a nalysis. However, when the forced entry process of multiple regression was used, Rhyme Judgment ( B = .394; t = 2.27; p = .031) and Segmentation ( B = .447; t = 2.06; p = .050) significantly predicted the ALL Language Index score. One year later, when the children were four year olds, the Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .512; t = 4.123; p = .000), Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .394; t = 3.288; p = .003) and Segmentation ( B = .303; t = 2.128; p = .042) tasks predicted the ALL Emergent Literacy Index score and the Visual Short Term Memory (B = .487; t = 3.341; p = .002), Rhyme Knowledge ( B = .352; t = 2.595; p = .015) and Digit Word Span Backward ( B = .255; t = 1.907; p = .067) tasks best predicted the ALL Language Index score. These findings are illustrated in Table 4 1. It is interesti ng to note that the majority of tasks predicting the ALL Index scores were from the Memory (four tasks) and Phonological Awareness (four tasks) domains. For the threeyear olds, Orthographic Awareness and Phonological Awareness were the core domains that p redicted Emergent Literacy. At age four, Memory and Phonological Awareness were the core domains that predicted Emergent Literacy.

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99 The ALL Language Index score showed no significant predictors at age three; however, again, at age four, Memory and Phonological Awareness were the core predictor domains. In general, memory skills were the strongest of both ALL index scores for the four year olds, supporting the relationship between memory and early literacy in preschool children ( Case, 1982; Gathercole, 1998; Luciana & Nelson, 1998; Cowan, 1980). Phonological awareness also played an important role as a predictor of both ALL index scores for both the three and four year olds. Memory is a cognitive function that plays a key role in human intelligence (McGrew & Flannagan, 1998 ; Case, 1985; Case & Okamoto, 1996; Fischer & Bidell, 1998) and studies have shown that working memory is strongly associated with reading skill (Swanson, 1993; Siegel & Ryan, 1989; Wagner & Torgeson, 1987; Gathercole, et al, 2006; Swanso n, Cooney, & McNamara, 2004). T he term working memory refers to a brain system(s) that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and reasoning. W orking mem ory skills capture individual differences in reading (e.g., De Jong, 1998; Swanson, 1994), mathematics (e.g., Bull & Scerif, 2001; Mayringer & Wimmer, 2000; Passolunghi & Siegel, 2001; Siegel & Ryan, 1989), and language comprehension (e.g., Nation, Adams, Bowyer Crain, & Snowling, 1999; Seigneuric, Ehrlich, Oakhill, & Yuill, 2000). S hort term storage capacity sometimes referred to as memory span or simple span reflect s the capacity to reproduce a sequence of items in the order in which they were represented (Stone & Brady, 1995). The tasks in this study that were representative of this short term storage capacity included : Digit Word Span Forward

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100 (auditory; verbal); Visual Short Term Memory; and Sequential Memory (immediate; visual). The finding that the Visual Short Term Memory task was a key predictor of ALL Emergent Literacy and Language at age four is consistent with previous findings showing that length of verbal memory spans for words and digits is an important predictor of reading achieveme nt (Brady, 1991; Elbro, 1996; Wagner and Torgeson, 1987). Digit Word Span Backward (working memory) was a significant predictor of both the ALL Emergent and Language Index scores for the four year olds. A few studies have shown that working memory capacity predicts word decoding skill as well as reading comprehension (Leather & Henry, 1994; Swanson, 1994). Working memory capacity and its relationship with early reading acquisition may reflect developmental aspects of establishing letter sound representation s. Developing automaticity for translating graphemes to phonemes and for sight word recognition is a process that continues well beyond the early school years and appears to depend on the efficient storage and processing of phonological information (Seigel, 1993). Phonemic awareness, ones sensitivity to the sound structure of words and the ability to manipulate sounds in words, has been found to be a core deficit in reading disability (Adams, 1990; Goswami & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000; Sca rborough, 1998; Share & Stanovich, 1995; Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998; Wagner, et al.1993). Most phon emic awareness tests involve some degree of working memory process ing Beginning readers must develop an understanding of the associations between letter names, pronunciations and the alphabetic principle. This understanding is dependent on working memory for both phonologi cal and orthographic units. As

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101 children begin to decode words, their ability to rehearse new phonological sequences is of critical impo rtance. The number of items that can be retained over a short period of time is often used to measure an individuals memory span. Hulme and Tordoff (1989) found th at speech rate and memory spans are significantly correlated. Hulme proposed that childre n with higher speech rates could rehearse information faster and remember it more efficiently. However, this phenomenon only occur red when items to be retained were presented auditorily Henry and Miller (1993) propose d that subvocal rehearsal develops fro m naming behavior and that a childs increasing speed and ease with naming influences the development of rehearsal and ultimately memory span. P honologica l awareness has been found to be highly related to verbal short ter m memory (Storch & Whitehurst, 2004). The phonological loop is important for phonological recoding of orthographic information. Children sequentially transpose letters into sounds until the final letter has been decoded. The temporary storage of all of the sounds making up the word in the phonological loop help the child ultimately recognize the word. The temporary storage of letter sounds is dependent on the phonological loop and episodic buffer in case the word is a nonword. The emergent skill of print knowledge is dependent upon both phonological and orthographic memory The ability to write ones name requires the integration of phonological, orthographic, and motor memories for writing The process of labeling letters in ones own name requires the accessing of sounds in ones name (phonological units ), and then pairing these sounds w ith the corresponding letters ( orthographic units). Swanson, Zheng, & Jerman (2009) recently conducted a metaanalysis of the literature on the relationship of working memory and short term memory to re ading

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102 disability. Both working and short term memory require rehearsal in order to remember items (Unsworth & Engle, 2007; Gathercole, 1998). Tasks involving working memory or controlled processing put high demands on attention. However, short term memory does not depend on the maintenance of the attention to the same degree (Cowan, 1995; Engle, Kane, & Tuholski, 1999). Both the linear regressions and the majority of correlations of normally distributed tasks at both ages support the conclusion that memory (short term and working memory) and phonological awareness subserve the acquisition of emergent literacy and language skills at three and four years of age. Appropriate Screening Tasks for Both Age Levels In a post hoc description analysis, frequency tables for all tasks at both age levels were created to determine which tasks might be appropriate for a screening tool at both age levels. Only the tasks on which 50% or more of the children scored between the 60th and 100th percentile were included in this potential screening pool of tasks. The following tests met this criterion for the three year olds: Naming of Letters in Name, Digit Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness (singing the ABC song), Letter Discrimination, Letter Identification (receptive), Lan guage Comprehension, Language Expression, Fingertapping with Dominant (median= 25.66 seconds) and NonDominant Index Finger (median= 21.50 seconds) and Rapid Automatic Naming of 12 items (median= 20.75 seconds). The following tasks met this criterion for t he four year olds: Rhyme Judgment, Rhyme Knowledge, Writing of ones own name, Naming the letters in their name, ABC writing, Story Writing, Digit Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness (ABC song), Letter Discrimination, Letter Identification, Language Com prehension, Language Expression, Copying, Fingertapping with Dominant Index Finger (median= 30.5 seconds), Fingertapping with Non dominant Index Finger (median= 29.00 seconds)

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103 and Rapid Automatic Naming with12 items (median= 14.40 seconds). Finally, the fo llowing tasks met this criterion at both age levels: Naming of Letters in own name, Digit Word Span Forward, Alphabet Awareness, Letter Identification, Letter Discrimination, Language Comprehension and Expression, Fingertapping with Dominant and Non domin ant Index Fingers, and Rapid Automatic Naming for 12 items. Conclusions These results suggest that including working memory and short term memory tasks in preschool screening batteries along with tasks of phonological awareness may increase the predictive validity of these procedures for identifying children between 3 and 4 years of age who are at risk for reading difficulties. The role of memory in this regard needs to be studied with a much larger and more diverse population. Limitations and Weaknesses Th e lack of age appropriate language tasks is a primary weakness of this study. Many of the oral language skills were too easy for the three year olds. Furthermore, a much larger group of children should be tested from a greater range of socioeconomic backgr ounds. These changes alone could change the predictors for both the ALL Literacy and Language Index scores. Future Research For future studies a more diverse population will be sought so that the number of subjects will be more representative of the population (i.e., socioeconomic status, gender, IQ). Children should also be assessed using initial control measures of their receptive and expressive language abilities, as well as, their cognition (nonverbal intelligence test or standardized IQ test) before be ing administered the experimental protocols. Measurements should include more timed tasks in order to analyze individual

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104 speed of processing which may add more variability of scores. Another addition would be to reevaluate the child over several years, suc h as, at three years, four years, and six months after the child begins formalized instruction, kindergarten (as suggested by Wilson & Lonigan, 2009) and in the first grade. Table 4 1. Significant predictors of the ALL. ALL Emergent Literacy ALL Language 3 year olds 4 year olds 3 year olds 4 year olds Letter Identification Rhyme Knowledge N/A Visual Short Term Memory Rhyme Judgment Digit Word Span Backward Rhyme knowledge Segmentation Digit Word Span Backward

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105 APPENDIX A LETTER TO PARENTS

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106 APPENDIX B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 20062007

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110 APPENDIX C INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD 20082009

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114 APPENDIX D CLIENT QUESTIONNARE

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118 APPENDIX E. RUBRIC FOR GRADING COPYING AND WRITING Rating Scale Proximal C opying Rating Scale for Traced Items: 2 points: minimal space between dotted line and childs tracing 1 point: same for but large difference in dotted line and childs tracing 0 points: scribble; not atte mpt; additional lines, loses form by straying more than1 inch outside of the dotted line Rating Scale for free form copying 2 points: same shape and form 1 point: same shape; added marks; rotated; distorted markings; used existing lines 0 points: sc ribbling; not attempt; no resemblance to target form

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119 APPENDIX F EXPERIMENTAL TASKS PROTOCOL I Protocol 1: Subject: _________ Birthdate: _________ CA: ________ Preschool: ___________ I. Phonological Subtests a) Rhyming Subtest One: (basal= 3 correct; ceiling= 3 incorrect); two repetitions allowed; praise feedback allowed Item Stimulus Response Score T1 Boy toy moon cloud + T2 Hug duck rug sun + T3 Whale mail sink foot + 1 Paw straw cake door 1 0 2 Nest nail vest dog 1 0 3 Bee ice key book 1 0 4 Train fish rain box 1 0 5 Clock rock park truck 1 0 6 Flag bug tag egg 1 0 7 Rat cat nut plate 1 0 8 Sad black mad hat 1 0 Total Score Subtest 2: Item Response Score T1 toy boy + T2 truck plant + 1 fish play 1 0 2 door foot 1 0 3 cry sky 1 0 4 beak creek 1 0 5 pot knot 1 0 6 bay cloud 1 0 7 eight farm 1 0 8 hen pen 1 0 9 snack tack 1 0 10 sand cat 1 0 Total score

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120 Task 3: Rhyme Knowledge Directions: Were going to do something different again. Im going to say a word and I want you to tell me another word that rhymes with the one I say. Point to the pie and say: Pie Tell me a word that rhymes with pie. If child responds incor rectly, say: Some words that rhyme with pie are by, fly, and sigh If child responds correctly, say: Thats right! ______ rhymes with pie Point to the bug and say: Bug Tell me a word that rhymes with Bug. If child responds incorrectly, say: Some words that rhyme with Bug are hug, mug, and rug If child responds correctly, say: Thats right! ______ rhymes with bug. If child responds correctly, say: Thats right! ______ rhymes with pie Trial Item 1 Responses Score T1. Pie + T 2. Bug + 1. Feet 1 0 2. Dog 1 0 3. Plate 1 0 4. Cap 1 0 Total Score Task 4 Segmenting Sentences into Words Items needed: different colored blocks; felt board/construction paper Directions : Say to the student: I am going to say some words and I want you to pick up a different block for every word you hear. Lets try oneMary (or childs name). Examiner places one block on the felt board then clears the felt board. Now you try one. Mary walks. (Child places two blocks on the felt board. If correct, Very good. Thats right. I said two different words. If incorrect, training continues with the following trials. Continue testing until child misses 2 in succession. Trial Items Item Stimulus Respo nse Child Response Score T1 Mary 1 block 1 0 T2 Mary walks. 2 blocks 1 0 T3 Baby. 1 block 1 0 T4 Baby cries. 2 blocks 1 0 T5 Dog. 1 block 1 0 T6 Dog barks. 2 blocks 1 0

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121 T7 I fell. 2 blocks 1 0 T8 Mother eats apples. 3 blocks 1 0 T9 I love candy. 3 blocks 1 0 Continue testing until child misses 2 in a grouping. Item Stimulus Response Child Response Score 1a Dog. 1 block 1 0 1b Dog barks. 2 blocks 1 0 2a Mary jumps. 2 blocks 1 0 2b I jump. 2 blocks 1 0 3a Come here, Don. 3 blocks 1 0 3b Bob loves school. 3 blocks 1 0 4a Yesterday, I fell down. 4 blocks 1 0 4b What is your name? 4 blocks 1 0 5a Lets eat a pizza together. 5 blocks 1 0 5b When does the bus come? 5 blocks 1 0 Total Score Task 5 Visual Matching (Proximal) I tems needed: Stimulus packet; student answer booklet; preschool sized pencil or crayon Instructions: We are going to play a matching game. In each row, I want you to point to the pictures, shapes, letters, numbers that look the same as what you see up here Lets try one Find the one that looks like the one up here. Item Response Score T1 wagon 1 0 T2 clock 1 0 T3 stop sign 1 0 T4 Ronald McDonald 1 0 1 dog 1 0 2 cupcake 1 0 3 flower 1 0 4 McDonald s Sign 1 0 5 Walk sign 1 0 6 Burger King sign 1 0 7 = 1 0

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122 8 A 1 0 9 T 1 0 10 E 1 0 11 p 1 0 12 V 1 0 Total score Task 6: Copying Materials: preschool pencil with eraser; answer booklet; lined preschool paper Directions: Say to the student, Im going to show you some lines. I want you to look at each and copy it as well as you can. Item Response Score T1 curved line (trace) 0 1 2 T2 straight line (trace) 0 1 2 1 circle (trace) 0 1 2 2 vertical line (copy) 0 1 2 3 circle (copy) 0 1 2 4 X (copy) 0 1 2 5 0 1 2 6 A 0 1 2 7 E 0 1 2 8 V 0 1 2 10 0 1 2 Total Score Task 7: Name Knowledge Materials Needed: answer booklet; preschool pencil preschool crayon Directions: I want you to write your name on this line right here (beginning point will be marked with an X); Great job! Now name these letters for me (Examiner points to each letternot necessarily in order for the child to name). Scoring: (Letters writtencorrect or not) Percentage Correct: ________ ___ ___ ____ ___ ___ ____ _____ ____ ___ __ Scoring (Naming letters):

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123 Percentage Correct: ______ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ Task 8: Written Knowledge Writing ABCs: number of correctly formed letters without proper sequence 0 1 2 ___ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ number of letters/forms correctly named 0 1 2 ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ Task 9: Finger Tapping Exercise 1: Materials Needed: Clown face; stopwatch. Directions: I want you to push down on this clowns nose as many times as you can with your pointy finger until I say stop. (May need to shape/demonstrate the procedure if the participant does not understand the instructions). Directions for tester: You will need to set the stopwatch to 10 seconds and then count how many times the child taps the nose in a 10 second count. Dominant index finger: (10 seconds) Trial # of taps Trial 1 Trial 2 Average Nondominant Index Finger: (10 secs) Trial # of taps Trial 1 Trial 2

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124 Average Mean Difference between dominant and nondominant index finger: ________________ Fingertapping Exercise II: Materials: stopwatch Activity: (Repetition task.child required to touch index finger to thumb 10x; record the time it takes for the child to complete 10 touches is recorded; record the dominant index finger then nondominant index finger). Directions: Say.You will need to touch you r pointy finger to your thumb 10 xs. (May need to shape/demonstrate the procedure if the participant doesnt understand). Dominant index finger: Trial time in seconds Trial 1 Trial 2 Average Nondominant Index Finger: (10 secs) Trial time in seconds Trial 1 Trial 2 Average Mean Difference between dominant and nondominant index finger: _______________

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125 IV. Memory Skills Task 10: Short Term Memory skills a) Digit Span Forward Instructions for child: I am going to say some numbers/words and you will need to say just what I say. Lets try one: Item Stimulus Response Score T1 1 + T2 2 6 + T3 fish cat + 1 1 4 1 0 4 9 1 0 cat fish 1 0 2 2 5 7 1 0 6 8 1 1 0 fish cat cow 1 0 3 6 9 2 1 1 0 3 5 8 2 1 0 fish cat cow dog 1 0 Total Administration and Scoring: At least 2 lists of random digits are given at each list length, stating at Length 2. If both sequences at each length were correctly repeated, the length of the next list is increased by one, and a further two lists given. If the child fails to correctly repeat either of the two items at one length, no further lists were given. When the child correctly recalls one of the two lists, a third list at th at length is given. If the third list was correctly repeated, two trials at the next length are given. If the child fails the third item, testing stops. Span is scored as the maximum length at which the child correctly recalls at least two sequences.

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126 Task 11: Working Memory; Digit Word Span (backward) Task A 11: Instructions: I am going to say some numbers and you will need to say the numbers backwards. Lets try one. You may train with colored blocks, animal picture cards or index cards with numbers for visual cues. Use of picture cards can be used with the word span. Discontinue testing when 4 consecutive errors occur. Item Correct response Response Score T1 4 8 8 4 1 0 T2 4 6 6 4 1 0 T3 cow cat cat cow 1 0 T4 bird fish fish bird 1 0 If a child fails all of the four trials, discontinue testing 1) 1 4 4 1 1 0 cat dog dog cat 1 0 5 3 3 5 1 0 4 9fish snake snake fish 1 0 4 9 9 4 1 0 bird ball ball bird 1 0 2) fish bird cow cow bird fish 1 0 2 5 7 7 5 2 1 0 ball bike cow cow bike ball 1 0 6 8 1 1 8 6 1 0 snake ball bus bus ball snake 1 0 4 9 1 1 9 4 1 0

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127 V. Orthographic Awareness Task 12: Alphabet Awareness Directions: Child required to sing the Alphabet Song. Can sing the song without errors: 10 Can sing the song with 0 5 errors: 08 Can sing the song with 5 10 errors: 05 Can sing the song with 10 15 errors: 01 Cannot sing the song or doesnt know it: 0 Score: ________ Task 13: Letter Discrimination Directions: Ch ild required to find the letter in a field of five stimuli. Item Response Score T1 A 1 0 T2 B 1 0 1 P 1 0 2 E 1 0 3 C 1 0 4 D 1 0 5 S 1 0 6 Z 1 0 Total score Task 14: Letter Naming (using the ALL protocol) Directions: Therapist: I want you to point to some letters. Look at these. (Point to the appropriate row as you prompt the child). Point to or Show me the letter _____. There are no trial items in this task. Item Response Score 1 A 1 0 2 c 1 0 3 x 1 0 4 o 1 0 5 Z 1 0 6 B 1 0 7 W 1 0 Total score

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128 VI. Language Skills Task 15: Story writing: Task 15A: Directions: Child will be asked to write a story and then identify where it begins and ends. Materials needed: preschool lined paper and a preschool sized pencil with an eraser. Scoring: a) child identifies beginning of story (1) (0) b) child identifies end of the story (1) (0) Task 15B: Directions: Child will be asked to write their ABCs on the lined paper and then asked to read them. Scoring: a) exhibits left to right directionality (1) (0) b) writes letters on the page (1) (0) c) names the letters that they wrote (1) (0) T ask 16. Listening Comprehension (Receptive Vocabulary). Present the child with a simple sentence and then ask them a question about the statement they just heard. Give 1 point for each correct response and 0 for incorrect responses or no response. Disconti nue testing after 3 consecutive error responses or if the trial items are in error. Trial 1 The duck is swimming. Who is swimming? ___________ (1 0) Trial 2 Daddy is driving a car. What is Daddy driving? ___________ (1, 0) Item 1 Th e dog is big. Who is big? ___________ (1, 0) Item 2. The kitty is playing. Who is playing? ___________ (1, 0) Item 3. The baby likes milk. What does baby like? ___________ (1, 0) Item 4 The puppy is sleepy. Who is sleepy?____________ (1, 0) Item 5. The boy plays ball. What does the boy play? ___________ (1, 0)

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129 Item 6. The bug is in the jar. Where is the bug? _____________ (1, 0) Item 7. The car is little. What is little? _____________ (1, 0) Item 8. The pudding is too hot. Is the pudding too hot? _____________ (1, 0) Score: ______________ Task 17: Language Expression/Sentence repetition Child will be required to imitate the following sentences. 2 repetit ions allowed. Instructions: Therapist directs the child to Say what I say. If the child doesnt understand this first directive, use the following directive using a stuffed animal or doll. Do you know how to play Telephone? Ill show you. I will say s omething into your ear and then you say what I say to the elephant with the big ears next to you. Be sure to say it loud enough so he can hear. Lets see if he can say what we say!! I bet he can!!! Trial 1: Baby (+) ( ) Trial 2: Hello puppy ( +) () (1;9) Item 1: Kitty. (+) ( ) Item 2: I sleep. (+) ( ) Item 3: I play. (+) ( ) (2;0) Item 4: I like juice. (+) ( ) Item 5: It is mine. (+) ( ) Item 6: The cat is jumping. (+) ( ) Item 7: Can he play ball? (+) ( ) (3;0 ) Item 8: What is your name? (+) ( ) Item 9: He likes toast and milk. (+) ( ) Item 10 : He is not running fast. (+) ( ) Score: ____________ Comments on Articulation: _____________________________________________________

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130 Task 18: Rapi d Naming The child will be trained to name objects in a matrix as quickly and as accurately as possible. The instructor will train by doing the procedure two times before asking the child to do the rapid naming. Be sure to remind the child to name the objects as fast as they can. Trial One: Dog Cup Cat Bike Item I: 8 objects dog cup bike cat cup bike cat dog Trial One: ______seconds Errors: ____________ Item 2: 8 objects dog cup bike cat cup bike cat dog Item Two: ______seconds Errors: _________ Average: ___________ Item 3: 12 objects cup cat bike dog bike dog cup cat cup dog cat bike Item 3: ____ secs. Errors: _________ Item 4: 12 objects cup cat bike dog bike dog cup cat

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131 cup dog cat bike Item 4: ____ secs. Errors: _______ Average: ________

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132 Figure F 1. 42 month old writing sample of her trip to disney world Figure F 2. Undifferentiated writing; writing of childs name and story (38 month old)

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133 Figure F 3. Undifferentiated writing sample; story writing (36 months)

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134 Figure F 4. 47. month old writing sample

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135 Figure F 5. Same child at 4.11

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136 Figure F 6. 46 month old writing sample

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137 Figure F 7. Same child writing sample at 4.10

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151 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sue Ann E idson was awarded her doctoral degree from the University of Florida Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders in the spring of 2010. Over the course of thirty five years of clinical practice her research interests lie in the diagnosis and treatment of acquired alexia, developmental dyslexia, and Hispan ic persons with these diagnoses, diagnosis and treatment of Spoken and Written Language Disabilities assessment and treatment of Developmental Dyslexia; Working Memory in the young child and its influence on the acquisition of reading, writing and the a cquisition, assessment, and intervention for English Language Learners (Hispanic) with reading, writing and language p roblems. She has also taught and supervised graduate students at the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida in the area of Communication Sciences and Disorders. After graduating, she plans on carrying on her research at a university w ith more bilingual and low socioeconomic preschool students in the area of reading disability prediction and characteristics in the young child and focus ing more on the underlying constructs of emergent literacy and emergent writing.