Training and Transfer-of-Learning Effects in Disabled and Normal Readers: Evidence of Specific Deficits

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Two experiments were conducted to assess the specificity of training and transfer deficits in disabled readers, aged 7 to 9 years. Forty-eight children (reading disabled, age-matched normal controls, and reading-level-matched normal controls) participated in both a reading and a nonreading (music) acquisition paradigm. Children received instruction in grapheme-phoneme and symbol-note correspondence patterns, respectively. Posttraining tests (one day and one week) following rule training compared performance on trained exemplar items with performance on untrained transfer items. Results revealed that normal readers were able to transfer their rule knowledge in both the reading and nonreading (music) acquisition paradigms, while disabled readers were proficient only in the music task, and thus demonstrated transfer deficits specific to learning printed language. Transfer was optimally facilitated for all readers when training procedures included not only presentation of exemplars, but also cues for rule derivation and explicit statement of pattern invariances.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto, and The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada 2: The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada 3: and The York Region Board of Education, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 1997

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