University Of Tasmania

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Hidden reading difficulties: Identifying children who are poor comprehenders

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:39 authored by Kelso, K, Anne WhitworthAnne Whitworth, Parsons, R, Leitao, S
Poor comprehenders are a significant subgroup of poor readers who, due to their ability to read aloud accurately, are often difficult to identify. This study aimed to determine whether assessment using two oral language tasks, mapped onto the two components of the Simple View of Reading, would provide an efficient approach to identification. Children (N = 218) from School Years 3 to 6 (ages 7; 8–12; 1) attending two schools in Australia were assessed, and 45 identified as potential poor comprehenders, based on a profile of average phonological awareness but poor listening comprehension. Subsequent assessment of decoding and text reading comprehension confirmed 24 of these children to be poor comprehenders, consistent with reported prevalence rates. Five of these children were judged to be weak readers by their classroom teacher. The oral tasks alone overidentified this group; however, the findings suggest that using the tasks as an initial phase, followed up with a reading assessment, could be effective in identifying poor comprehenders, and reduce time spent in testing as this would only involve at-risk children.


Publication title

Learning Disability Quarterly








School of Health Sciences


Council Learning Disabilities

Place of publication

Po Box 4014, Leesburg, USA, Va, 20177

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)

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