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Durham e-Theses
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Oral and written behaviour of junior children in stimulus-controlled and stimulus-free verbal situations

Payne, Monica Anne (1974) Oral and written behaviour of junior children in stimulus-controlled and stimulus-free verbal situations. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The study was concerned chiefly with the problems of the slightly backward reader. The performance skills and strategies of unselected samples of 7-8 year olds were compared on a range of verbal tasks, requiring subjects to deal with isolated letters, words and pseudo-words, and words in context. The speed and accuracy with which subjects could both generate lists of items, and read or write items provided by the experimenter, were examined. Modifications of these tests required subjects to give words as quickly as possible when either the length or one letter of the word was designated, and secondly, copying and spelling situations were employed with the response sheet indicating either the number of letters in the word, the position of one of the constituent letters, or both. The superiority of above-average readers extended to all types of task. Inter-test correlations between ranked positions were higher for Poor readers with regard to speed and for Good readers with regard to accuracy. Results suggested that poor readers selectively employed impulsive strategies on tests they perceived as too difficult. Overall, this group were characterized by a number of minor difficulties rather than by a particular deficiency in one area of functioning, although the tests highlighted their relative inability to use visual word imagery. Conditions drawing attention to aspects of word structure improved the copying accuracy of poor readers. Sex differences in performance were only significant on written tasks. Further analysis of whole-item and intra-item errors are reported, together with observations of behaviour during test performance. With only one subject having a Reading Age more than two years below his Chronological Age, findings are discussed chiefly in terms of possible differences in socialization and reinforcement experience, and implications for general aspects of classroom control and communication are considered.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1974
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:44

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