Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Julie Masterson


persistently poor readers, spelling, reading fluency, spelling sensitivity score, development reading fluency test

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders


One purpose of this study was to compare differences between students who are and are not persistently poor readers (PPR), regarding spelling accuracy and qualitative error types. Other purposes were to determine if experimental measures of spelling and reading fluency are equally sensitive to between-grade differences among PPR as they are among typical students. Participants were in Grades 1 through 5. Traditionally, spelling is measured based on overall correctness of spelling words. The experimental spelling measure used for this study, the Spelling Sensitivity Score (SSS), included a 50 and 84 word list with a more sensitive scoring metric based on segment and word spelling. Results indicated that students considered to be PPR spelled words less accurately than typical students, and they displayed different types of errors. With the experimental spelling measure, findings indicated similar grade level differences between typical and PPR students. The measure was able to distinguish between early and late grades, as well as between the two lower grades and between second and third grade. The experimental reading fluency measure used, the Developmental Reading Fluency Test (DRFT), could be quickly completed by multiple students and involved reading silently and answering questions of increasing linguistic complexity. Using the experimental reading fluency measure, PPR students achieved better scores than the typical students. Findings indicate that the experimental measures may provide more sensitive and descriptive results for PPR children than the traditional measures.


© Devery Rian Larsen

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