J Soc Bras Fonoaudiol 2011 Dec;23(4):335-43
Center for Teaching, Assistence and Research in Reading and Writing, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Purpose: To characterize the performance of students with reading difficulties in decoding and reading comprehension tasks as well as to investigate the possible correlations between them.
Methods: Sixty students (29 girls) from 3rd to 5th grades of public Elementary Schools were evaluated. Thirty students (Research Group - RG), ten from each grade, were nominated by their teachers as presenting evidences of learning disabilities. The other thirty students were indicated as good readers, and were matched by gender, age and grade to the RG, composing the Comparison Group (CG). All subjects were assessed regarding the parameters of reading fluency (rate and accuracy in words, pseudowords and text reading) and reading comprehension (reading level, number and type of ideas identified, and correct responses on multiple choice questions).
Results: The RG presented significantly lower scores than the CG in fluency and reading comprehension. Different patterns of positive and negative correlations, from weak to excellent, among the decoding and comprehension parameters were found in both groups. In the RG, low values of reading rate and accuracy were observed, which were correlated to low scores in comprehension and improvement in decoding, but not in comprehension, with grade increase. In CG, correlation was found between different fluency parameters, but none of them was correlated to the reading comprehension variables.
Conclusion: Students with reading and writing difficulties show lower values of reading fluency and comprehension than good readers. Fluency and comprehension are correlated in the group with difficulties, showing that deficits in decoding influence reading comprehension, which does not improve with age increase.