A flash card computer program designed to increase decoding speed in reading was evaluated with a sample of 55 eight- to twelve-year-old Dutch poor readers by using a pretest-training-posttest control group design. The reading level of the poor readers was comparable to the reading level of normal readers in grade two. After 8 weeks of practicing (twice a week) for 30 minutes per session, children in the training group showed substantial improvements in decoding speed not only on pseudowords directly practiced during the training, but also in untrained pseudowords and in existing words. The no-training control group did not improve in decoding speed from pre- to posttest. The results, furthermore, indicate that syllable-bound processes play a role in phonological decoding in Dutch, and that the flash card method used in this study stimulates poor readers to decode letter strings into syllabic units, which leads to an increase in decoding speed. The role of the syllable in phonological decoding and the potential of a specific flash card technique as a means to improve decoding skills of poor readers are discussed.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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