Helping Children with Reading Comprehension Difficulties (Dyslexia)

BOOK REVIEW: DEVELOPING READING COMPREHENSION P.J.Clarke, E. Truelove, C. Hulme & M.J. Snowing

 

Difficulties with development of reading comprehension are a hallmark of dyslexia. As an educational psychologist working in Hong Kong parents and colleagues often ask for updated information sources for helping children with dyslexia. This recommended book is written by a team of well respected researchers in the field of reading difficulties. It provides a valuable compilation of research and practice in an area currently of concern to many parents and education professionals. As such the strength of the book lies in its well-explained marriage of theory and practice based on solid research field.

 

The authors go on to detail three overlapping intervention approaches (The oral Language program, The Text Level program and the combined program) to improve reading comprehension and an evaluation of their effectiveness. An additional bonus is the wealth of detail provided on the research methodology used to investigate the outcomes of the programs. This enables the reader not only to understand the research methods but also provides valuable information and examples for others who might wish to carry out research of this nature in a ‘real school’ situation. The book reports the highly encouraging findings that reading comprehension can be improved, by any one of the three highly structured intervention approaches detailed in the book. However, it seems to be beyond the scope of the book to clearly recommend one of these approaches although the authors do point out that the benefits of the Oral Language program were the more notable and durable. This draws welcome attention to the importance of developing oral language in schools and this point is clearly made in the final chapter on the theoretical and practical implications. Towards the end, the authors point out that approaches as described might require to be tailored to a particular context, although of course it could not be guaranteed that similar positive results would ensure given modifications.  In any event it is not in the scope of this book to provide detailed daily plans for an intervention delivered over a 20- week period.

 

This book makes a very valuable contribution to the field of reading comprehension intervention and will be greatly appreciated by parents, educators and speech and language therapists working with school age children.