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Movement Makes Meaning: The Role of Fine Motor Skills in an Embodied Reading Comprehension Program

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Simulation theory states that text comprehension is achieved by simulating (or imagining) text content using motor, perceptual, and emotional systems. Hence, motor skill should correlate with comprehension skill. In fact, previous research has linked fine motor skills (FMS) with word

Simulation theory states that text comprehension is achieved by simulating (or imagining) text content using motor, perceptual, and emotional systems. Hence, motor skill should correlate with comprehension skill. In fact, previous research has linked fine motor skills (FMS) with word processing and mathematical skills. I predicted a positive relationship between FMS and reading comprehension. Children enrolled in a reading comprehension intervention were assessed on FMS using the Movement ABC-2. There was a significant correlation between FMS and comprehension of narrative texts, but contrary to the prediction, the correlation was negative. Also unexpected, the control condition performed better on comprehension questions than the intervention conditions. To try to understand these results, we examined the time each child took to answer the comprehension questions. Many children answered the questions quickly, and average time to answer the questions was strongly correlated with comprehension scores. Children may have been answering questions quickly (and randomly) in order to advance to the next story. Nonetheless, the data do not support a relationship between FMS and reading comprehension.

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2018-12

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Testing the Limits of a Reading Comprehension Intervention

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This study investigates whether children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and who have poor reading comprehension will benefit from participating in the EMBRACE intervention. The reading comprehension program is based on the Theory of Embodied Cognition, which focuses on

This study investigates whether children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and who have poor reading comprehension will benefit from participating in the EMBRACE intervention. The reading comprehension program is based on the Theory of Embodied Cognition, which focuses on the embodied nature of language comprehension. Our understanding of language is based on mental representations that we create through experiences and are integrated with according sensorimotor information. Therefore, by engaging the motor and language system through reading stories on an iPad that prompt the children to manipulate images on-screen, we might improve children's reading strategies and comprehension scores. Fifty-six children participated in reading three stories and answering related questions over a period of two weeks. Results showed that the intervention was successful in increasing reading comprehension scores in the physical manipulation condition but not in the imaginary manipulation condition. Although lower motor skill scores positively correlated with lower comprehension skills, the children's motor deficits did not moderate their performance on the intervention.

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2016-12

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Predictors of performance on an iPad-based reading comprehension intervention among Spanish-speaking dual language learners at risk for reading comprehension delays

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the EMBRACE Spanish support intervention for at-risk dual language learners and to determine which verbal and nonverbal characteristics of students were related to benefit from the intervention. The

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the EMBRACE Spanish support intervention for at-risk dual language learners and to determine which verbal and nonverbal characteristics of students were related to benefit from the intervention. The first study examined oral language and reading characteristics and the second study examined motor characteristics in predicting the children's outcomes on a reading comprehension intervention.

Method: Fifty-six participants in 2nd-5th grade were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) Spanish-support intervention, or 2) Spanish-support control. Outcome measures included performance on comprehension questions related to intervention texts, questions on the final narrative and expository text without strategy instruction, and difference scores on alternate forms of the Gates-MacGinitie (GMRT-4, MacGinitie, MacGinitie, Maria, & Dreyer, 2002) reading comprehension subtest administered pre- post-intervention. Multi-level hierarchical linear models were used to account for nesting of question within child within classroom. Regression models were used to examine the power of motor predictors in predicting Spanish and English language performance.

Results: Results from study 1 indicated that the intervention was most effective for narrative (vs. expository) texts and easy (vs. more difficult) texts. Dual language learners (DLLs) with lower initial English reading comprehension abilities benefitted more from the intervention than those with stronger reading skills. Results from Study 2 indicated that oral fine motor abilities predicted Spanish (but not English) oral language abilities in the expected direction (i.e. faster performance associated with higher language scores). The speed of /pata/ productions predicted reading comprehension during the intervention, but not in the expected direction (i.e. slower speeds associated with higher accuracy). Manual fine motor performance on tapping tasks was not related to language or reading.

Conclusions: The EMBRACE intervention has promise for use with at-risk DLLs. Future research should take care to match text difficulty with child skills so as to maximize benefit from the intervention. Oral fine motor abilities were related to language abilities in DLLs, but only for the native language. Slower oral fine motor performance predicted higher accuracy on intervention questions, suggesting that EMBRACE may be particularly effective for children with weak fine motor skills.

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2017