Quantitative and qualitative differences in reading performance between Greek language teachers & 12th grade pupils and between adult dyslexic & non-dyslexic students

  • Sofia Rapti

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The significance of reading is undoubted today, while learning to read efficiently is a main aim of every educational system. Reading is one of the greatest challenges that pupils, students and adults have to encounter daily at school, university and professional life, especially dyslexics, for whom it is a really hard and demanding process. Given the importance of reading and the various factors can positively or negatively influence the reading ability, the current study aims to investigate to what extent the reading process is affected a) by familiarity with text, and b) by biological-constitutional factors. In this respect, the reading performance a) of Greek language teachers was compared to that of 12th grade pupils, and b) of adult dyslexic students to that of age-matched normal controls in terms of reading speed, accuracy and comprehension. The reading performance of teachers and pupils was evaluated in an Ancient Greek text and its corresponding translation in Modern Greek. The reading performance of adult dyslexics and controls was evaluated in 2 texts of varying difficulty and a list of words of raising difficulty. Participants read both aloud and silently, while being timed and tape- recorded for further analysis. After reading each text, they answered to reading comprehension questions. Pupils made significantly more reading errors compared to teachers in both Ancient (p <.001) and Modern Greek (p .05). Both groups made similar reading errors in both Ancient and Modern Greek. Finally, comparing the two languages, both teachers and pupils were significantly faster (p <.001), comprehended better (p <.001) and were more accurate (p <.05) in Modern Greek. Adult dyslexic students were significantly slower (p <.001), attained lower level of comprehension (p <.05) and made significantly more reading errors (p <.001) than the control group in all reading procedures. In contrast to non-dyslexics who read significantly faster silently (p <.05), dyslexics read at almost the same rate in both aloud and silent condition (p > .05). Additionally, the former attained higher level of comprehension in the silent condition, as opposed to the latter, who showed a trend to comprehend better aloud. Comparing reading in context and out of context, dyslexics made significantly more reading errors in the word list (p <.001), whereas non-dyslexics made comparable reading errors in the word list and the two passages (p > .05). Both groups made similar reading errors. Finally, logistic regression analysis revealed that the 2 groups could be almost perfectly differentiated based on only one variable, namely reading speed (classification accuracy 98.1%). Findings confirmed that the reading process in the phonologically consistent Greek language is influenced by factors, such as language structure and familiarity with print as well as by biological-constitutional factors. Results emphasise on the importance of daily extensive reading practice for a better reading speed, at least, which is essential not only for normal-achieving population but dyslexic readers as well, since reading speed was found to be the latter’s main deficit and the main differentiating factor between dyslexics and controls. The results may be useful for effectively addressing the difficulties encountered not only by pupils who are taught but also by teachers who teach Ancient and Modern Greek, as they may lead to new teaching methods and learning strategies. Also, results might be helpful for the accurate diagnosis of adult dyslexics based on reading speed, as well as for the effective treatment of the difficulties dyslexic university students still encounter, due to their constitutional reading deficit.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Northampton
    SupervisorPhilip Garner (Supervisor), Cristina Devecchi (Supervisor) & G Pavlidis (Supervisor)

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