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XConsequences of Poor Phonological Short-term Memory

by Susan E. Gathercole, Claire Tiffany, Josie Briscoe, Annabel Thorn & The ALSPAC team.

Background

A longitudinal study investigated the cognitive skills and scholastic attainments at 8 years of age of children selected on the basis of poor phonological loop skills at 5 years.

Methods

Children with low and average performance at 5 years were tested three years later on measures of working memory, phonological awareness, vocabulary, language, reading, and number skill.

Results

Two subgroups of children with poor early performance on phonological memory tests were identified. In one subgroup, the poor phonological memory skills persisted at 8 years. These children performed at comparable levels to the control group on measures of vocabulary, language and mathematics. They scored more poorly on literacy assessments, but this deficit was associated with group differences in complex memory span and phonological awareness performance. The second subgroup of children performed more highly on phonological memory tests at 8 years, but had enduring deficits in language assessments from 4 to 8 years.

Conclusions

Persistently poor phonological memory skills do not appear to significantly constrain the acquisition of language, mathematics or number skills over the early school years. More general working memory skills do, however, appear to be crucial.

Keywords

Working memory; short-term memory; phonological awareness; vocabulary; language; mathematics, literacy.

Susan E. Gathercole, Claire Tiffany, Josie Briscoe, Annabel Thorn & The ALSPAC team. (2005) Developmental consequences of poor phonological short-term memory function in childhood: a longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Volume 46, Issue 6, pages 598—611.

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DYNAREAD: Grounded in Reality

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Dynaread has been developed in the trenches of actual remediation, with our feet firmly planted on the ground. Scientific research is essential (and we consistently use it), but we also understand the realities at home and in school. Not all homes have two parents, not all Dad's or Mom's are always home, there is oftentimes no money, schools lack staff or funding. We listen, we observe, we discuss, and we build the best solutions we can for older (ages 7+) struggling readers.

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