Program

Oct 16, 2012

OVERVIEW

The Reading and Language Intervention is a school-based program designed to increase reading and language abilities in elementary school children with Down syndrome.  This program is delivered by trained teaching assistants in daily sessions.  An experimental evaluation found the program, after 20 weeks of intervention, had significant positive impacts on single-word knowledge, letter-sound knowledge, phoneme blending, and taught expressive vocabulary, when compared with a control group.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM


Target Population:  
Elementary school children with Down syndrome.

This school-based program aims to accelerate progress in reading and language in elementary- school-aged children with Down syndrome.  The intervention is delivered in school by teaching assistants (TAs) who meet individually with students for 40 minutes a day, five days per week.  This interactive intervention is guided by a manual, but includes opportunities to tailor sessions to meet the individual needs of each child.  The reading portion of the intervention focuses on reading and phonics, while the language portion of the intervention focuses on vocabulary and accurate expressive language.  In each week of the intervention, four days are spent introducing new material and the fifth day is used to consolidate learning.  Teaching assistants are provided with training, a comprehensive manual, and a set of teaching resources including finely graded reading books and phonics materials.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Burgoyne, K., Duff, F. J., Clarke, P. J., Buckley, S., Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C. (2012). Efficacy of reading and language intervention for children with Down syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02557.x

Evaluated Population:  The sample consisted of 57 children with Down syndrome, recruited from primary schools in the United Kingdom.  The sample was 49 percent male, and predominantly white.  The children were between the ages of 5 and 10 years (M = 6.6 years).

Approach:  Children were randomly assigned to receive the Reading and Language Intervention (n=29) or to a waiting list control group (n=28).  Those in the intervention group received 40-minute sessions with teaching assistants five days a week for 40 weeks.  Those in the waiting list control group had their regular education for 20 weeks, and then 20 weeks of the intervention.  Outcomes were measured at baseline, 20 weeks, and 40 weeks.  Due to the lack of a control group at 40 weeks, only the analyses of the 20 week assessment are reported here.  Primary outcomes included letter-sound knowledge, phoneme blending, single-word reading, and taught vocabulary.  Secondary outcomes were non-word reading, phonetic spelling, receptive vocabulary, expressive vocabulary, and expressive grammar and information.  There were no significant differences between the two groups at baseline.

Results:  At 20 weeks, those in the intervention group had significantly higher scores than those in the control group on single-word knowledge (effect size: 0.23), letter-sound knowledge (effect size: 0.42), phoneme blending (effect size: 0.54), and taught expressive vocabulary (effect size: 0.47).  No other measured outcomes showed significant differences between the two groups.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Burgoyne, K., Duff, F. J., Clarke, P. J., Buckley, S., Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C. (2012). Efficacy of reading and language intervention for children with Down syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02557.x

Website: http://www.dseinternational.org/en/gb/research/

Contact Information

Margaret Snowling

Department of Psychology

University of York

York YO10 5DD, UK

Email: mjs19@york.ac.uk

KEYWORDS:  Children (3-11), Elementary, Males and Females (Co-ed), School-based, Manual, Tutoring, Reading/Literacy

Program information last updated on 10/16/12.