Decoding Skills in Children With Language Impairment: Contributions of Phonological Processing and Classroom Experiences Purpose Children with language impairment (LI) often demonstrate difficulties with word decoding. Research suggests that child-level (i.e., phonological processing) and environmental-level (i.e., classroom quality) factors both contribute to decoding skills in typically developing children. The present study examined the extent to which these same factors influence the decoding skills of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2015
Decoding Skills in Children With Language Impairment: Contributions of Phonological Processing and Classroom Experiences
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sherine R. Tambyraja
    Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Kelly Farquharson
    Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Jessica A. R. Logan
    Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Laura M. Justice
    Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Sherine R. Tambyraja: tambyraja.1@osu.edu
  • Kelly Farquharson is now at Emerson College, Boston, MA.
    Kelly Farquharson is now at Emerson College, Boston, MA.×
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Carol Miller
    Associate Editor: Carol Miller×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2015
Decoding Skills in Children With Language Impairment: Contributions of Phonological Processing and Classroom Experiences
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2015, Vol. 24, 177-188. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0054
History: Received April 11, 2014 , Revised September 12, 2014 , Accepted December 29, 2014
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2015, Vol. 24, 177-188. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0054
History: Received April 11, 2014; Revised September 12, 2014; Accepted December 29, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose Children with language impairment (LI) often demonstrate difficulties with word decoding. Research suggests that child-level (i.e., phonological processing) and environmental-level (i.e., classroom quality) factors both contribute to decoding skills in typically developing children. The present study examined the extent to which these same factors influence the decoding skills of children with LI, and the extent to which classroom quality moderates the relationship between phonological processing and decoding.

Method Kindergarten and first-grade children with LI (n = 198) were assessed on measures of phonological processing and decoding twice throughout the academic year. Live classroom observations were conducted to assess classroom quality with respect to emotional support and instructional support.

Results Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that of the 3 phonological processing variables included, only phonological awareness significantly predicted spring decoding outcomes when controlling for children's age and previous decoding ability. One aspect of classroom quality (emotional support) was also predictive of decoding, but there was no significant interaction between classroom quality and phonological processing.

Conclusions This study provides further evidence that phonological awareness is an important skill to assess in children with LI and that high-quality classroom environments can be positively associated with children's decoding outcomes.

Acknowledgments
This research project was supported by Grant R324A090012 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, awarded to Laura M. Justice. We acknowledge the many contributions of a number of project staff and research assistants, including Karie Wilson, Allison Alexander, Kate Fresh, and our hardworking team of student coders. We also are particularly thankful to the speech-language pathologists, classroom teachers, families, and students who participated in this study.
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