An Explanation

Technical Information

Explanation of Variables
The tasks that are used to identify the children are at risk for reading difficulties include the Deletion Task (Word Deletion: the number correct when deleting a word from a compound word; Syllable Deletion: the number correct when deleting syllables from a word; Onset-rime deletion: the number correct when deleting an onset, the first consonant cluster, from a rime, the vowel and remaining consonant clusters; Phoneme Deletion: the number correct when deleting phonemes from a word), the Blending Task (Onset-rime Blending: the number correct when blending onsets and rimes into words, Phoneme Blending: the number correct when blending phonemes to form words), thePhonemic Segmentation Task (Phoseg: the number correct when asked to identify the phonemes, in their correct sequence, in a word), the Dynamic Segmentation Task (Dyncor: the number correct when after several trials in which the student has been probed to determined the developmental status of phonemic segmentation, Prompts: the number of prompts necessary before the student is able to respond with the word properly segmented into its phonemes), Letter Identification Task (the Letter Identification subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised: the number of letters that the child was able to correctly name), Supple (theSupplementary Letter Identification task; the number of letter sounds that the child knew when presented with letters), Word Identification Task (the Word Identification subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised: the number of words that the child was able to correctly name),Word Attack Task (the Word Attack subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised: the number of pseudowords that the child was able to correctly name), Colors (the time it took for a child to name the colors of squares arranges in five columns of eight squares).

Each child's performance is examined by looking at the composition of phonological processing and reading measures. We have found that some of the measures are better predictors of reading performance at the end of the year. To adjust for this, some of the variables are given stronger weight in determining at-risk status. 

Identification Scheme
Discriminant analysis was performed on the assessment variables to determine the structure coefficients that were most important in discriminating between the good and poor readers. For the first discriminant function, the largest structure coefficient, the correlation between the variable and the discriminant function, was that for the Letter Identification subtest (.77), followed by Word Identification (.59), the scores from the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test- Revised (.42), the Supplementary Letter Identification subtest (.42) the Articulation Task (-.39), whether the child was read to (READTO, .37), and deleting the rime during the Onset-Rime Deletion Task (.33). The other structure coefficients were considerably smaller. It is interesting that the letter naming task (LETIDENT) and the task that required children to produce the sound that corresponded with letter names (LETSUPPLE) were so important for the first discriminant function. For the second discriminant function, the PPVT-R was once again important (.52), followed by how often the children were read to (OFTEN, .38), and the Onset-Rime Blending and Phoneme Blending tasks (.33 and .34, respectively). The first canonical variate explained 28.3% of the variance, with a significant canonical correlation of .53, F(44, 438) = 3.08, p < .0001.
The second canonical variate explained 18.7% of the variance with a significant canonical correlation of .43, F(21, 220) = 2.41, p < .0008.

The identification procedure determines at-risk group membership in an involved manner. First, discriminant analysis is performed on the previous year's data to determine the canonical structure coefficients for the variables of Letter Identification, Supplementary Letter Identification, Word Identification, Word Attack, Phonemic Segmentation, Dynamic Segmentation-Correct, Dynamic Segmentation-Prompts, Deletion Tasks, Blending Tasks, and time to complete the Color Naming Task. These are the variables that resulted in the best accuracy in discriminating group membership at the end of first grade based on their assessment scores. The structure coefficients from this analysis are used as weightings for determining at risk status in the following way: the loadings were multiplied by 10 and rounded to remove decimals. A score that was one standard deviation or more below the mean on a variable was given the largest at-risk weight, a score that was between one-half and one standard deviation was given an at-risk weight 20% that of the previous weight, a score that was between the mean and one-half a standard deviation below the mean was given an at-risk weighting 40% less than the original weight. Any score equal to or above the mean was not given an at-risk weighting. The at-risk weightings differed by variable based on its canonical structure coefficient. For example, a variable that had a canonical structure coefficient of .92 would have weightings of 9 (.92 x 10 rounded to 9), 7 (9 x .80 rounded to 7), and 5 (9 x .60 rounded to 5) for a score 1 sd or greater below the mean, between 1 sd and .5 sd, and between the mean and .5 sd below the mean, respectively. A score that had a canonical structure coefficient of .69 would have weightings of 7, 6, and 4, etc. (see Table 6). The at-risk status of a student was then determined by summing the various weightings for each of the variables. The individual was identified as at risk if his/her at-risk status score was equal to or greater than 1 sd (13.96) above the mean (18.77) for at risk status.

The identification procedure resulted in highly accurate group membership placement (89.7% accuracy). The identification procedure is not difficult to use. If the same weighting scheme is used, one would only need to determine at risk status scores for each student, determine the at risk criterion of 1 sd above the mean on a the criterion variable and assign at risk group membership accordingly. The number of at-risk students identified could be modified by adjusting the criterion such that the desired percentage of students were identified. This would be useful when a school system has a larger at risk pool than could be accommodated in special services.

The identification procedure yielded an accuracy rate of 89.7% overall with a false negative rate of 6.2%. This procedure used the loadings from discriminant analysis to determine a weighting system to create an at-risk variable, which was then used to identify children at risk for reading difficulties. When the calibration data from the previous year's discriminant analysis were used to identify at-risk status, the accuracy fell to 80.2% with a 10.2% false negative rate. The major concern was the false negative rate since these individuals will eventually become poor readers at the end of first grade, are not being identified, and thus are not provided the opportunity to engage in training. Training procedures have been effective in increasing the phonological processing and reading abilities of young children and have also been effective in increasing these same abilities in children at risk for reading difficulties. The crucial component for the latter group of children is that they are accurately identified so that they can be exposed to the training procedure.

Although an accuracy of identification rate of 89.7% with a 6.2% false negative rate is quite good, there is still a false negative rate. It would be ideal if there were no false negatives. If this were the case then all of the children who are at risk and therefore likely to be poor readers in the future would be identified. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to have a 0 false negative rate.

The Variables Used to Determine Risk Status with Their Weighted Values.
Variable
LETIDENT
Raw Score
>90
<91
<82
<73
Weighted 
0
5
7
9
Variable
WIDENT
Raw Score
>87
<88
<79
<70
Weighted 
0
4
5
6
Variable
SUPPLE
Raw Score
>20
<21
<17
<14
Weighted 
0
4
6
7
Variable
WATTACK
Raw Score
>83
<84
<76
<67
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Variable
DYNCOR
Raw Score
>2
2
1
0
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Variable
DELETION
Raw Score
>54
<55
<43
<31
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Variable
PROMPTS
Raw Score
<17
>16
>26
>36
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Variable
PHOSEG
Raw Score
>3.0
<3.1
<2.0
<0
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Variable
BLENDING
Raw Score
>61
<62
<46
<29
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Variable
COLORS
Raw Score
<54
>53
>61
>69
Weighted 
0
2
3
4
Note. LETIDENT, WIDENT, WATTACK=standard scores from the Letter Identification, Word Identification, and Word Attack subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised, Supple=supplementary Letter Identification from the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised,DYNCOR=Number correct on the dynamic segmentation task, PROMPTS=the number of prompts on the dynamic segmentation task,DELETION=the combined number correct on the word, syllable, onset-rime, and phoneme deletion tasks, BLENDING=the total number correct on the onset-rime and phoneme blending tasks, COLORS=the time in seconds for the color naming task. The global at-risk score was the sum of the weighted scores.
Training Paradigm
The training component of the IIP is centered on the skills that are deficient in children who are reading disabled; deficient phonological processing skills. The training progresses from explicit instruction in phoneme discrimination to reading long passages.

Phoneme Discrimination Training
The phoneme discrimination task is presented with the assistance of a computer. Several vowel and consonant-vowel (CV) syllables have been digitized with analog- to-digital (A/D) conversion cards. These syllables are then presented to the student with digital-to-analog (D/A) conversion. The A/D conversion is necessary so that syllable length and presentation can be carefully controlled. The training task begins with the presentation of a standard syllable (e.g., BE), followed by an intersyllable interval (ISI) of 400, 320, 240, 160, 80, 40, 20, or 10 ms and then by a comparison syllable either exactly the same or different from the standard (e.g., DE). The student's task is to determine if the comparison syllable differs from the standard (e.g., BE ISI DE; which would be different). After each correct trial a reinforcing visual graphic is presented which indicates to the student that his/her response was correct. This training continues until the student has reached a criterion of eight consecutively correct trials at each of the eight ISIs.

The training continues with a more complex phoneme discrimination task in which the standard and comparisons consist of pairs of syllables rather than single syllables (e.g., BE ISI DE, DE ISI DE). The training follows the same format other than the complexity becoming greater. This task requires not only that the student adequately discriminate between the syllables, but remembers their correct order. To meet criterion on this task, the student must produce five consecutively correct trials.Letter Knowledge/Letter Sound

Knowledge Training
Concurrent with phoneme discrimination training, the students also get instruction with letter name and letter sound correspondence. With an alphabetically-based writing system, it is essential that students know the letter names and their sounds before further training takes place.Phonological Synthesis Training
This training teaches the student that sounds can be combined to form words. We have found that the skills necessary to perform this task are developed before the skills necessary to perform phonological analysis. Therefore, this training precedes the phonological analysis training. The student is presented with sounds in isolation with are to be combined or blended into syllables or words.

Phonological Analysis Training
This training instructs the child that words are comprised of sounds. The skills that are developed with this training involve helping the child to recognize that sounds are embedded in words. It is important for the student's further phonological development that he or she have this skill firmly established. Together, phonological synthesis and phonological analysis are vital for adequate reading acquisition.

Vocabulary Training
For a short time during each training session, children are presented with word flash cards to help increase their vocabulary and to strengthen their automaticity of word recognition. Vocabulary development is very important and has been linked to success in academics in the elementary grades and beyond. The development of automaticity of word recognition is vital to comprehension. If a child is exerting a considerable amount of cognitive energy processing words, there is less cognitive energy left for comprehension. Cognitive energy in finite. The less amount of cognitive energy that must be spent in phoneme discrimination, phonological analysis and synthesis, the more cognitive energy there is left for comprehension.

Sentence Reading Training
Once the student has developed his or her phonological analysis and synthesis skills, he or she then begins using those skills to read short sentences. Hopefully, the child is also building his or her sight reading vocabulary as well. When a child encounters a word that is not part of his or her sight reading vocabulary, he or she must use his or her phonological analysis and synthesis skills to properly read the word.

Spelling Training
The child also receives instruction with regard to spelling. In this case, phonetically correct spelling is accepted. The more a child knows about a word, the more likely he or she will be able to read it. Spelling plays an important role in learning to read. It is also true that children learn about phonological processing from learning to read. The two skills are symbiotic.

Reading Longer Discourse Training
The accumulated phonological processing skills that have been learned to this point are then used to process longer discourse with an emphasis on comprehension. All the learned skills are put to practice at this point.

Summary
The training procedure is individually designed to meet the developmental needs of the particular child. The training occurs one-on-one with an emphasis on a low key, low pressure, fun atmosphere. Although the IIP is primarily used with first- and second-grade children, it can be adapted to other aged children and adults. Although there is a format in terms of the progression of the training, the approach can be quite eclectic with the trainer's experiences and knowledge helping to develop appropriate experiences for the child.
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