Longitudinal study of scaffolding errors and their impact on children's strategy choice in reading

Coyne, Emily; Stiller, James; Underwood, Jean and Farrington-Flint, Lee (2013). Longitudinal study of scaffolding errors and their impact on children's strategy choice in reading. In: British Psychological Society Joint Cognitive and Developmental Section Annual Conference, 4-6 Sep 2013, University of Reading.


Scaffolding errors (errors preserving the initial and final phonemes) have been found to be accurate predictors of children’s later reading performance (c.f., Savage & Stuart 2001; Savage, Stuart & Hill, 2001). Therefore, in emergent reading it is expected that there would be a shift towards making greater proportion of scaffolding errors on words that the children are still reading incorrectly over time. It was also predicted that scaffolding errors would be associated with the greater use of lexical strategies as the boundary letters in a word can aid word recognition (c.f., Pitchford et al., 2008). Thirty-one children participated in the study. The study used a repeated measures design over one academic term with 15 children from Year One (mean age 5.8 years, SD =2.8 months) and 16 children were from Year Two (mean age of 6.7 years, SD=3.5 months). The children took part in single word reading task on five occasions and were asked to give a self-report of strategy use after reading each word. Children’s reading errors were coded in line with the classifications by Savage and Stuart (2001). The children followed the predictions and by time five there had been a shift in errors made and they were making significantly more scaffolding errors than at time one. These scaffolding errors were also found to be predominately associated with the use of lexical strategies. This suggests that the children were making scaffolding errors by retrieving the word from memory. They were striving to be able to read the words by sight.

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