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French normative data on reading and related skills from EVALEC, a new computerized battery of tests (end Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and Grade 4)

To set-up standardized norms on the development of reading and related skills in French, we have developed a new tool, EVALEC. The data were collected at the end of Grades 1-4 (about 100 children for each level). EVALEC includes four tests focused on written word processing (three reading aloud tests, one silent reading test); both accuracy scores and processing time (time latency and vocal response duration for the reading aloud tests) were recorded. EVALEC also includes tests of phonemic and syllabic awareness, phonological short-term memory, and rapid naming; the latter test is presented in non-reading and in reading contexts in order to compare the impact of the time constraint in both domains. We assessed the effects of regularity (regular vs. irregular words), graphemic length and graphemic complexity (regular words with only single letter graphemes vs. those with digraphs such as "ch" and those with contextual graphemes such as "g") on the reading of high frequency words. We also compared the effect of graphemic length and graphemic complexity on regular word versus pseudoword reading as well as the effect of the length of the items (short vs. long items) on irregular word versus pseudoword reading. According to the ANOVAs, for word reading, the effects of sublexical factors appeared stronger for the youngest children, but regular words were always read better and faster than irregular words. However, these lexical factors did not have the same effect for words and pseudowords. Their impact, when positive, was greater for words (e.g. the graphemic length), while the negative effects were especially marked for pseudowords (e.g. the length of the items). Among the correlations, those between accuracy and latency time were never significant for the youngest children, thus suggesting that some beginning readers favored accuracy to the detriment of speed while others adopted the opposite strategy. Concerning the correlations between the reading and the reading-related tests, only the correlations between phonemic awareness and reading were significant and only with the youngest children. In addition, the correlations between the two rapid naming tests (reading and non-reading tests) were not significant most of the time. These data would allow researchers and speech therapists to assess the reading and reading-related skills of dyslexics as compared to average readers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)



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