Development of poor and better readers during the elementary school
SourceEducational Research and Evaluation, 6, 3, (2000), pp. 251-278
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OE
SW OZ BSI BO
Educational Research and Evaluation
SubjectLearning in changing contexts
The goal of this longitudinal study was to describe the average development of word recognition, reading comprehension, vocabulary and spelling of poor and better readers during the elementary school period and to determine whether the differences between these readers increase over a period of 6 years of elementary education. Poor and better readers were defined to belong to the lowest 30% and to the higher 70% of a longitudinal sample, respectively. It appeared that for word recognition the developmental curves for the groups were very distinct and followed similar patterns. For reading comprehension, vocabulary and spelling, the developmental curves showed similar patterns with decreasing differences across grades, however. Clear seasonal effects were found for reading comprehension, vocabulary and spelling, while the seasonal effect for word recognition was restricted to the early grades. It appeared that students with initially poor abilities in word recognition and reading comprehension showed greater improvement over time on reading comprehension, vocabulary and spelling than students with initially better abilities in word recognition and reading comprehension. These findings contradict the existence of a Matthew effect for these skills. For word recognition, a clear differential effect could not be found: the groups did not differ systematically in mean development. The gap between the poor and better decoders did not widen over time for this skill; so a Matthew effect for word recognition was not supported.
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