By Lynette Bradley

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Extra resources for Assessing Reading Difficulties: A diagnostic and remedial approach

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The child learning to read and spell must come to understand that one unit of speech can be represented by more than one unit in the alphabetic script. So although 'butterfly' has three speech units, or syllables, they are represented by nine letters in the printed word. 'Bag' though only one speech unit, is represented by three letters. The child would not read 'butterfly' instead of 'bag' if he were looking for a word with three 25 phonemic (sound) segments to correspond to the printed word 'bag', instead of looking for a word with three speech (syllabic) units.

35 Three years after the first sound categorisation tests at age 5, when the children were eight- to nine-years old, we gave them all standardised tests of reading and spelling. The results clearly show that children skilled at categorising sounds when they come to school do better at reading and spelling three years later, regardless of intelligence. The training study The second part ofthe project was a training study, to ensure that the children's progress was related to their skill at sound categorisation and not some other factor.

In the third series of trials three words had the same opening phoneme while the odd one did not, for example: hat pen pig pup. The position of the odd word varied systematically in all three series. 28 Great care was taken to pronounce each word with the same emphasis so that the child was not given any additional cue to the correct word. The experimenter also always hid her mouth from the child's view with a card, so that the shape of her mouth would not provide any additonal cue for any of the children.

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