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Comprehensive Program to Improve Reading and Writing Skills in At-Risk and Dyslexic Children

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Identifier:
First received: May 27, 2003
Last updated: September 27, 2006
Last verified: September 2006
This project is evaluating programs to improve reading and writing skills in children who have or are at risk for having reading disabilities. The project focuses on children who are at-risk for low achievement in school and on children with dyslexia.

Condition Intervention
Dyslexia Learning Disorders Behavioral: Comprehensive program to improve reading and writing skills

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Single
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Learning Disabilities: Links to Schools and Biology

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):

Estimated Enrollment: 2500
Study Start Date: December 1995
Estimated Study Completion Date: November 2005
Detailed Description:

This study is part of a larger project to investigate the biological and educational constraints operating in children with learning disabilities, with a focus on treatment and links between assessment and treatment. The project evaluates prevention and treatment of reading and writing disabilities, the genetic contribution to subtypes of dyslexia, the relationship between brain variables and dyslexia, and the brain's response to treatment for dyslexia. Genetic and brain imaging studies occur throughout the project.

During Year 1, at-risk readers in first grade were targeted for an intervention for mapping spoken words onto written words. These students were compared to a control group. During Year 2, the faster responders (those who reached grade level) and the slower responders (those who were not yet at grade level) from Year 1 were compared. Slower responders received additional treatment and comparisons were made again at the end of the year. The additional treatment was also studied in Spanish-speaking students in first grade. During Year 3, another group of at-risk, poor readers in second grade were randomized to either word decoding treatment, comprehension treatment, a combined word decoding and comprehension treatment, or a control treatment.

During Year 4, readers at risk for failing state standards in reading (decoding) participated in an extended day program providing comprehensive reading instruction. The students were compared to a control group. During Year 5, all students grades 4 to 9 took a battery of morphological, reading, and writing tests. The testing was administered throughout an entire school system.

During Year 6, older students with dyslexia were randomly assigned to phonological or morphological reading training. Students were then compared on pre- and post-test behavioral measures and brain activation results. During Year 7, students with dyslexia were randomly assigned to an orthographic or morphological treatment for spelling. Students underwent brain imaging before and after the intervention. Behavioral and brain activation measures were also assessed. During Year 8, students with dyslexia underwent attention or fluency training and writing training with and without attentional bridges. Only behavioral measures were collected.

Recruitment of families for the family genetics study is ongoing. Recruitment for the brain imaging-treatment studies will begin in 2004 when installation of new brain imaging equipment is complete.


Ages Eligible for Study:   6 Years and older   (Child, Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria

  • Student in grades 1 to 9
  • Underachieving in reading and writing
  • English as first language

Exclusion Criteria

  • Mental retardation
  • Developmental disability such as autism or pervasive developmental disorder
  • Brain damage or disease affecting brain function
  • Severe language or psychiatric disorder
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00061412

United States, Washington
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington, United States
Sponsors and Collaborators
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Principal Investigator: Virginia Berninger, Ph.D. University of Washington
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications: Identifier: NCT00061412     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2P50HD33812-6
Study First Received: May 27, 2003
Last Updated: September 27, 2006

Keywords provided by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):
Low reading and writing achievement
At-risk students
Reading Disability
Writing Disability

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Learning Disorders
Language Disorders
Communication Disorders
Neurobehavioral Manifestations
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on September 18, 2017