Identifying Learning Patterns of Children at Risk for Specific Reading Disability

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Differences in learning patterns of vocabulary acquisition in children at risk (+SRD) and not at risk (-SRD) for Specific Reading Disability (SRD) were examined using a microdevelopmental paradigm applied to the multi-trial Foreign Language Learning Task (FLLT; Baddeley et al., 1995). The FLLT was administered to 905 children from rural Chitonga-speaking Zambia. A multi-group Latent Growth Curve Model (LGCM) was implemented to study interindividual differences in intraindividual change across trials. Results showed that the +SRD group recalled fewer words correctly in the first trial, learned at a slower rate during the subsequent trials, and demonstrated a more linear learning pattern compared to the -SRD group. This study illustrates the promise of LGCM applied to multi-trial learning tasks, by isolating three components of the learning process (initial recall, rate of learning, and functional pattern of learning). Implications of this microdevelopmental approach to SRD research in low-to-middle income countries are discussed. This study explores the relationship between foreign language vocabulary acquisition and Specific Reading Disability (SRD) and suggests ways in which foreign language assessments can be a useful tool for understanding how children at risk for SRD and not at risk for SRD learn vocabulary differently. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Barbot, B., Krivulskaya, S., Hein, S., Reich, J., Thuma, P. E., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2016). Identifying learning patterns of children at risk for Specific Reading Disability. Developmental Science, 19(3), 402–418. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12313

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