ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Commun Sci Disord. 2009;14(3): 303-312.
The Development of Reading Span in Children
Sunhee Ko` , Kyung-Soon Choi` , and Mina Hwang`
Copyright ©2009 The Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
고선희(Sunhee Ko)| 최경순(Kyung-Soon Choi)| 황민아(Mina Hwang)
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ABSTRACT

Background & Objectives
A vast amount of research has been conducted to identify the relationship between working memory capacity and performance on various psycholinguistic tasks in individuals with language or reading disabilities, as well as in normal populations. However, only a few reports are available on the developmental changes in working memory capacities among typically developing children. The purpose of this study was to develope reading span task to measure working memory capacity for school-aged children and to investigate its developmental changes.
Methods
A total of 124 typically developing children enrolled in kindergarten, second, fourth, and sixth grades participated in this study. We developed a reading span task for children that modified the task of Daneman & Carpenter (1980). The reading span task was composed of 20 sets of sentences. The number of sentences contained in each set varied from two to five. The children were asked to read the sentences in a set aloud and then to recall the final words of all of the sentences in the set. The number of sets in which a child correctly recalled all of the final words was counted. The children also performed a forward digit span task,which primarily taps the storage aspect of working memory.
Results
For both the reading span task and the forward digit span task, significant main effects of grade were noted. In a post-hoc test, the reading span scores were significantly different between the kindergarteners and the second graders and the second graders and the fourth graders, but not between the fourth graders and the sixth graders. Significant group differences were also noted between the kindergarteners and the fourth and sixth graders and between the second graders and the sixth graders. In contrast, the children’s digit span scores were not significantly different across the adjacent grades. The digit span scores of the kindergarteners significantly differed only from those of the fourth and sixth graders but not from those of the second graders. The second graders’ scores differed only from those of the sixth graders but not from those of the fourth graders. The digit span scores of the fourth graders did not significantly differ from those of the sixth graders.
Discussion & Conclusion
Our results indicated that the reading span task was more sensitive than the forward digit span task in showing the developmental changes in working memory in school-aged children. These results suggest that the reading span task requires a considerable amount of resources in “processing,” i.e., reading and comprehending sentences, and that children’s reading comprehension skills become more proficient during elementary school ages
Keywords: 작업기억 | 읽기 폭 과제 | 숫자 바로 따라말하기 과제 | 정상발달 working memory | reading span task | forward digit span task | normal development
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