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Effects of working memory training on reading in children with special needs
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
2011 (English)In: Reading and writing, ISSN 0922-4777, E-ISSN 1573-0905, Vol. 24, no 4, 479-491 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines the relationship between working memory and reading achievement in 57 Swedish primary-school children with special needs. First, it was examined whether children’s working memory could be enhanced by a cognitive training program, and how the training outcomes would relate to their reading development. Next, it was explored how differential aspects of working memory are related to children’s reading outcomes. The working memory training yielded effects, and these effects appeared beneficial to children’s reading comprehension development. Working memory measures were found to be related with children’s word reading and reading comprehension. The results show that working memory can be seen as a crucial factor in the reading development of literacy among children with special needs, and that interventions to improve working memory may help children becoming more proficient in reading comprehension.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 24, no 4, 479-491 p.
Keyword [en]
Working memory, Working memory training, Word decoding, Reading comprehension, Small groups, Special education, Special needs
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-50964DOI: 10.1007/s11145-010-9238-yISI: 000288454000007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-50964DiVA: diva2:383374
Projects
Tillsammans med Karolinska Institutet, Torkel Klingberg och Specialpedagogiska institutionen, Mats Myrberg
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 091215
Note

authorCount :1

Available from: 2011-01-04 Created: 2011-01-04 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Does It Pay to Practice?: A Quasi-Experimental Study on Working Memory Training and Its Effects on Reading and Basic Number Skills
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does It Pay to Practice?: A Quasi-Experimental Study on Working Memory Training and Its Effects on Reading and Basic Number Skills
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is based on results from an intervention study targeting working memory training. A group of 46 boys and 11 girls (aged 10.7) that were attending special units in 16 regular schools participated in the study. The treatment group (n = 42) trained at school every day for 30-40 minutes with an interactive computer program (Cogmed training) for five weeks. The performances of the treatment group on reading related measures and basic number skills are compared to those of a group of students (n =15) that were attending similar special units and received only ordinary special educational instruction. Working memory measures and non-verbal problem solving were compared to students (n = 25) in a control group from a previous study.

In Study I, it was found that reading comprehension and working memory measures correlated and improved at post-tests (T2, T3) for the treatment group to a larger extent than for the comparison group.

In Study II, it was found that working memory measures and basic number skills were highly related. The performance of the boys in the treatment group improved more than that of the boys in the comparison group on basic number test at both post-tests.

In Study III, basic skills assessed three years later (T4) are reported. The treatment group achieved higher scores in reading comprehension compared to pre-tests and compared to the control group.

The treatment group seems to have gained from the cognitive training of working memory with the computer assisted program directly after training, after seven months and at the three year follow-up. The gains were observed on visuo-spatial working memory measure (T2, T3), reading comprehension and on basic number skills in boys (T2, T3, T4).

The possible mechanisms that may be involved in and may explain the observed improvements of performances are discussed: executive function, attention, memory, motivation, emotions. The study has some methodological limitations and more research is needed to substantiate the efficacy of the program.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Special Education, Stockholm University, 2013. 119 p.
Keyword
Working memory training, attention deficits, special educational needs, reading, basic mathematics, computer assisted instruction
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87611 (URN)978-91-7447-613-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-22, Stora hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 10061,091415
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2013-02-28 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2013-04-24Bibliographically approved

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