Early identification of children who will develop significant problems in reading and related skills is a significant issue both from the perspective of understanding the etiology of reading disabilities and from the perspective of providing appropriate educational services to children to prevent learning disabilities or minimize their impact or duration. Although significant knowledge concerning the correlates of reading problems has been developed by research, a clear understanding ofthe origins of these problems and correlates has not yet been realized. Recent research suggests the additional contribution of self-regulation, both cognitive and behavioral elements, to the development of skills underlying reading development;however, this research is in its early stages. Fully understanding the contribution of self-regulation to the development of reading and related skills requires a clear understanding of the nature (i.e., component processes and structure) of self-regulation, particularly executive functioning (EF) during the early school years, when both EF and skills associated with reading are undergoing rapid development. The overall goals of this project are to develop an understanding of the development of EF during the early school period and to examine the ways that EF, behavior aspects of self-regulation, and development of skills in the areas of oral language, phonological processing, and print knowledge jointly or uniquely contribute to the development of problems in reading and related skills across the early elementary school years. This project has five specific aims. (1) Determine the continuity and specificity of predictors of low achievement and disability in reading from preschool through 5th grade. This will be accomplished by extending our current longitudinal study of preschool children. (2) Identify age-appropriate measures of EF for young children and the distinct components of EF across early development. (3) Identify how these components of EF relate to development of low achievement/disability in reading and reading-related areas. (4) Determine the relative contributions of EF versus teacher ratings of inattention for identifying children who will develop problems in reading, and (5) Identify specific child classroom behaviors that interfere with learning.
The proposed studies have the potential to provide important information concerning factors early in children's development that are associated with reading disabilities and low achievement in reading. These studies may result in refinements in ways in which children at risk of problems in reading and related skills can be identified efficiently and receive assistance before they experience serious problems in school.
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