Verbal Learning and Memory Functions in Students with Reading Disabilities
AuthorOyler, James Douglas
AdvisorObrzut, John E.
Committee ChairObrzut, John E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThere is agreement in the learning disability (LD) literature that reading problems in children can be attributed to difficulties in coding linguistic information. One explanation for this is that students with LD have impaired verbal memory ability. However, the specific mechanisms underlying these memory impairments are not well understood, especially in adolescents. The purpose of the current study was to compare the memory performance of adolescent students with specific reading disabilities (RD) to normal adolescent readers on a newly developed verbal learning test. The Bergen-Tucson Verbal Learning Test (BTVLT), English version, modeled after the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), is a multiple trial test designed to measure memory acquisition, retention, retrieval, and forgetting rates, as well as the ability to organize and retrieve the information from memory according to the phonological (surface) and semantic (lexical) features of words. Twenty subjects with RD and 20 control subjects with a mean age of 15.2 years, matched for age, gender, and ethnicity, participated in the study. Results indicated that the RD group learned significantly fewer list items and did so at a slower rate than the controls. Although the RD group was equally able to retain information once learned, they did demonstrate inefficient elaborative rehearsal strategies. The RD group also recalled fewer words in both the semantic and phonetic cued recall conditions, but the effect size was significantly greater in the phonetic cued recall condition. Taken together, the data suggest that students with RD have less efficient rehearsal and encoding mechanisms but normal retention. Retrieval also appears normal except under conditions that require information to be recalled based on phonetic codes.
Degree ProgramSchool Psychology