Welcome to the discussion area of the Dyslexia Positive website. The idea is that anyone interested in dyslexia can join in a discussion based on themes initiated by a member of the Dyslexia Positive team. Please participate by commenting on the articles and feel free to ask any questions!
Showing posts with label vocabulary. Show all posts

Posted 29th August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

What counts as knowing a word; is it enough to be able to read it? To spell it? To know what it means?

Our colleague Ros Wright, a very skilled trainer, answered this question in our seminar in a great demonstration of micro-teaching.  Here are some of the notes she used:

1.Where I started with the Vocabulary issue!

  • My background as ESOL teacher, where systematic teaching of vocabulary is the norm
  • Anecdotal/ my children: “guitar” – baby’s first spoken word! “exhilarating” – 10 year old son describing a theme park.
  • A piece of local research: “Full on English”  by Philida Schellekens (2005) – based on students at City College, born in UK to ESOL parents.
  • I have a growing concern about the limited vocabulary shown by many students I support.

Continue reading this article… »

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Posted 26th August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

What can the WRIT vocabulary subtest tell us about reading ability?

by Alison Earey

The Vocabulary subtest depends upon the participants’ understanding and production of oral language.  Therefore, the Vocabulary subtest is inappropriate for individuals unfamiliar with English.

Vocabulary tests are among the best predictors and commonly demonstrate the highest correlation with total IQ at any subtest within a given ability battery (WRIT manual, p60).

STEC Guidelines (SASC 2005) tell us that WRIT is a measure of underlying ability.

So,the question re-phrased is –  What does being able to define words orally tell us about reading ability?

The Vocabulary subtest tells us whether a person knows what word means or not. It doesn’t tell us whether they have learned the word from reading or from conversation. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 24th August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

CREVT-3 Comprehensive Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary Test, Third Edition

http://www.proedinc.com/customer/productView.aspx?ID=5174

What do you think this test measures? If there were a U.K. version would you use it?

notes by Sue Partridge 

What it measures:

  • Receptive vocabulary
  • Expressive vocabulary
  • But only for spoken language, not necessarily for reading
  • Receptive = matching a spoken word to a picture (multiple choice). It is like naming as in rapid naming tests.
  • Expressive = being able to give a meaning of a word and talk about that meaning in some detail.  So, this is like the WRIT Vocabulary subtest.
  • A general vocabulary index is calculated by combining the two sub scores
  • It compares scores for ages 5 – 89, so giving a standardised score, based on an overall sample of 1535 subjects, USA, 2011.

Continue reading this article… »


Posted 23rd August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

A study in 2016 found that the average 20-year-old recognises about 42000 words. After that age people typically learn 1 – 2 words each day. 65 year olds have vocabulary levels bigger than university students.  Explain and evaluate the research:

Brysbaert et al. (2016) How Many Words Do We Know? Practical Estimates of Vocabulary Size Dependent on Word Definition, the Degree of Language Input and the Participant’s Age http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01116/full

Summarised in http://www.iflscience.com/brain/the-average-20yearold-american-knows-42000-words-claims-study/

Summary and Notes by Yvonne Gateley 

Language experts have always struggled to estimate the size of people’s vocabulary. But now researchers have been dipping into a huge pool of information collected through social media in a bid to settle a piece of the debate.

The psychologists from Ghent University in Belgium found that an average 20-year-old native English-speaking American knows 42,000 dictionary words. Their findings were recently published in Frontiers in Psychology. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 2nd August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

This was the first question… does anyone have anything to add?  Please leave a comment.

What is the difference between receptive vocabulary and expressive vocabulary?

Discuss this in relation to both speaking & listening and reading & writing.

by Julie Baister

In terms of definitions, Receptive language skills are the ability to understand information. This involves understanding words, sentences and the meaning of what others say or what is read.

Expressive language skills are the ability to put thoughts into words and sentences, in a way that makes sense and is grammatically accurate.

At the vocabulary level, Receptive Vocabulary refers to all the words that can be understood by a person, including spoken, written, or even manually signed words.

In contrast, Expressive Vocabulary refers to the words that a person can express or produce, for example, by speaking or writing them in a grammatically acceptable manner. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 1st August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

When Dyslexia Positive met  in June, we decided to have a discussion about vocabulary.  I devised some seminar questions as follows, with some background reading:

Seminar questions about vocabulary

Pick a question and be prepared to lead a brief discussion on the topic. 

 

  1. What is the difference between receptive vocabulary and expressive vocabulary? Discuss this in relation to both speaking & listening and reading & writing.
  2. What counts as knowing a word; is to enough to be able to read it? To spell it? To know what it means?
  3. A study in 2016 found that the average 20-year-old recognises about 42000 words. After that age people typically learn 1 – 2 words each day. 65 year olds have vocabulary levels bigger than university students.  Explain and evaluate the research:

Brysbaert et al. (2016) How Many Words Do We Know? Practical Estimates of Vocabulary Size Dependent on Word Definition, the Degree of Language Input and the Participant’s Age http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01116/full

Summarised in http://www.iflscience.com/brain/the-average-20yearold-american-knows-42000-words-claims-study/

  1. What do you think this test measures?  If there were a U.K. version would you use it? CREVT-3 Comprehensive Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary  Third Edition:http://www.proedinc.com/customer/productView.aspx?ID=5174
  2. What can the WRIT vocabulary subtest tell us about reading ability?

Some general background reading:

Braze et al (2007) Speaking Up for Vocabulary: Reading Skill Differences in Young Adults

[Accessed 3 June 2017]

McShane, S. (2005) [online] Applying research in reading instruction for adults. First steps for teachers, Washington DC, National Institute for Literacy https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/applyingresearch.pdf [accessed 3 June 2017], especially Chapter 6.

Wise et al (2007) The Relationship Among Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, Pre-Reading Skills, Word Identification Skills, and Reading Comprehension by Children With Reading Disabilities

[accessed 3 June 2017]

Over the next few days, I will post the notes of some of our discussions!

 

 

 

 

2 Comments so far: leave a comment or ask a question »

Posted 30th January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

When I was writing the concluding chapters of my Ed D thesis, attempting to answer my research questions, I pondered over what counts as a tangible improvement in word recognition skills.

My research attempted to guide the practitioner on how to measure improvement on an individual basis and in comparison to others in the adult literacy context.

The obvious starting point was a standardised test of word recognition, since any changes in performance can be compared with established norms for learners in the same age bands.  Adult literacy in the UK has rightly sought to avoid the anomaly of improvements being judged against educational grade designators or reading ages with inappropriate ceiling levels.

Using the WRAT 4 word recognition subtest (Wilkinson and Robertson 2006), in practice, none of my 10 learners made an improvement in score that could be considered as being beyond test error.

A typical confidence interval spans 12 or 13 standard points (for 90% confidence).  Taking the example of an adult aged 35 years using the green form subtest (see page 215 of the test manual), this change would represent an additional 11 words read for someone falling within the average range, but only 5 extra words for someone reading at above the mean 100 point score.  For an adult of this age it takes a nine word improvement simply to get out of the lowest band (the 0.1st percentile), assuming they can read the alphabet (which accounts for the first 15 points). It would take a massive 35 word improvement to get this learner from this baseline to a score at the lowest point of the “average” band (standard score 84, which represents one standard deviation below the mean and the point used as the criterion for examination boards in the UK to decide whether exam concessions are applicable)

Given the random nature of the word selection in this test (a mixture of phonetically regular and irregular words), short of teaching to the test, we are no clearer in being able to quantify in reality how many extra words of vocabulary a reader has to learn to recognise to show suitable progress, let alone being able to describe what extra word attack skills they need.

What do you think is reasonable progress in developing a learner’s vocabulary to enable them to recognise more words by sight?  How useful do you find WRAT 4  as an assessment tool?

Partridge, S.E.  (2012) Unravelling reading: Evaluating the effectiveness of strategies used to support adults’ reading skills, (Ed D thesis), Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Wilkinson, G. & Robertson, G. J. (2006) WRAT 4 Wide Range Achievement Test, Professional Manual, Lutz, Florida, Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.

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Posted 22nd January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

There were some really big names at the BDA conference in 2016, many of them world experts on reading (though still no one who talks specifically about adults).  Here are a few highlights, one “so-what” and one lowlight for me:

  • In a recent study, Susan Gathercole had been looking at underlying factors that might explain difficulties with reading, vocabulary and maths, concentrating on executive function, working memory and inattention.  Perhaps surprisingly she  found that poor working memory is not a good predictor of reading difficulty. However, good working memory may be a protective factor for problems with reading and maths.
  • Karin Landerl, researching German speaking children was surprised to find a link between problems with reading and maths but not between reading and spelling.  She was still not sure of the reason for this.  Relevant to my work with adults, a longitudinal study showed that reading difficulties are persistent through childhood, despite support.  Even more reason for us to find new approaches for adults!
  • Tom Nicholson was speaking to the converted in urging us to combine phonics with real reading. He did however drop in a controversial point.  Phonological awareness may be a consequence of reading acquisition, rather than a requirement for reading. His keynote address gave a historical overview about the impact on phonological awareness training on success in acquiring reading skills, with little input from more recent studies. He comes from the point of view of “liking phonics and enjoying giving phonics instruction.”  However, in his last but one slide he cited research from Castles and Coltheart (2004), Ehri (1998), Johnston and Watson (2005) to say that this could be an issue of chicken and egg. Maybe we see good phonemic awareness in successful readers, not because they have been specifically trained in this, but because the process of learning to read itself gives a degree of phonemic awareness. He reminded us of studies denying the effect of phonemic awareness training, though these are well outweighed by the studies that show a positive effect. Finally, he made the remark (without a formal reference) that phonemic awareness training should be combined with reading of text to help improve letter-sound awareness.
  • Don Compton has investigated more about comprehension and found a positive link between reading/listening comprehension and prior knowledge. Is this surprising?
  • A new version of the Adult Reading Test (ART)  was due out soon, with improvements. Rob Fidler pleased me by mentioning not just their extensive validation data, but also case study findings that highlight the strength of a diagnostic problem solving approach to reading support, using qualitative observations from testing.
  • I have to confess to having been very excited at the prospect of hearing Elena Grigorenko speak for the first time (having heard her co-author on the Dyslexia Debate, Joe Elliott previously).  I was less excited at the prospect of Maggie Snowling, as I have heard her many times and been disappointed in her narrow stance on reading and dyslexia.  At the BDA international conference in March 2016, however, I was proved wrong. Grigorenko was boring and uninspiring, spending far too long on the historical context and then whizzing through some rather difficult information from her latest research about mapping the phenotype of reading difficulty to specific points in the genome.  We were told of exciting news coming out in a journal soon… (too hush, hush for her to share it)
  • By contrast, Maggie Snowling brought well-reasoned insights into her now more balanced view of dyslexia, as broader phenotype that includes underlying language difficulties and possible co-occurring difficulties in motor and executive function (including attention and concentration).  Her account of longitudinal studies (so far from age 3.5 to age 9) was fascinating.  I do hope she and her group carry on to see those children into early adulthood!.
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Posted 11th January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

Paired reading is one of the key techniques I used in my research study for enhancing fluency. It is based on an idea developed by Topping (see the Dundee University website, Topping 2001). Its use with adults is described by McShane (2003) and Burton (2007a and b). In my version, the tutor matches her speed and volume sensitively to that needed to support each learner and models good expression. Learners are never allowed to struggle with difficult words, as these are supplied automatically. As and when the learner gains confidence, the tutor allows her voice to fade out. You can read more about how to apply the technique and about the impact it had on some learners in my study if you click on the “read more” link below.
If you haven’t tried paired reading, why don’t you give it a go in the next couple of weeks with a learner and post your findings here? Thanks.
Rationale
  • The idea of this technique is to encourage fluency and confidence when reading.
  • The idea is to stop the disruption to flow caused by a learner struggling to decode words or waiting to be corrected.
  • This approach can bring back the pleasure in reading for pleasure.
Method
  • Choose a text that the learner is interested in reading (for pleasure or information).
  • Although it is best if the text is at a level appropriate to the learner’s assessed needs, this method can be used to assist reading a harder text that the reader urgently needs to access.
  • Make sure that you can both see the text comfortably, or have two copies.
  • Start reading aloud together.
  • Make sure you match your speed to what the learner can cope with so you don’t leave them behind or leave them frustrated.
  • Model fluency and good expression.
  • If the learner stumbles over a word, keep reading and encourage them to continue without pause. If they lose their place, wait for them to catch up.
  • If you sense that the learner is reading confidently and accurately, fade your voice to a quieter volume, but be prepared to fade back in if they falter.
  • Warn your learner that you may fade out altogether if they continue to read well.
  • With a beginner reader, be prepared to pair read the same text several times so they also gain fluency from repetition and familiarity.
Impact
Nine out of 10 learners in my study used paired reading for one or more of the 6 intervention sessions. Four of them had strong reactions against it, saying it disrupted their concentration, or the tutor found it hard to get the right speed and volume to suit their learner. The remaining 5 learners rated paired reading highly (either good or excellent) and it had a marked impact. A learner I shall call Mike increased his reading accuracy by 6%, his speed by 11wpm and his comprehension by a huge 47%. The strategies his tutor used developed his vocabulary and used paired reading of high interest material. Mike’s confidence in reading improved considerably. A learner I shall call Dorothy improved on all of the measures of reading (speed, accuracy, comprehension and her standardised score on WRAT4 word recognition) following interventions that used a mixture of paired and shared reading (we both read to each other and simultaneously to make the most of magazine articles). Both Mike and Dorothy were assessed as reading at Entry level 1 of the English adult core curriculum standards. Paired reading enabled them to tackle texts harder but more interesting than those they might have coped with on their own.
Paired reading doesn’t work for everyone, and as a support tutor you need to be able to adjust your own reading style to suit what your learner needs. However, the evidence seems to show it is a useful tool for some, boosting confidence and having an effect on accuracy as well as comprehension. I will have more to say about reading speed in a later article.
Bibliography
BURTON, M. (2007a) Oral reading fluency for adults London, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
BURTON, M. (2007b) Reading: developing adult teaching and learning: practitioner guides London, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
MCSHANE, S. (2005) Applying research in reading instruction for adults. First steps for teachers Washington DC, National Institute for Literacy [online]
[accessed january 2017]
TOPPING, K (2001) Paired reading – how to do it: a guide for peer tutors [online]
[acccessed January 2017]
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