Studier av läsrelaterade språkliga förmågor i förskola och läsutveckling i grundskola

Sammanfattning: The purpose of this doctoral thesis was to explore relationships that impact language development, and how reading ability develops during the compulsory school years. The thesis includes four studies, study I (licentiate thesis), with students from grades 2–5, from 24 classrooms (N = 428), study II examined whether the National test (NP) was able to identify students with word decoding problems from a sample of third graders from study I (n= 112). In study III a small number of students (n = 8) from Study II were followed-up to the ninth grade. The students’ and their parents’ perception of special education support is described.In Study IV the correlation between socioeconomic status (SES) and language development was examined in preschool children (N= 231) from three municipalities in the middle of Sweden. Furthermore, the language ability among these preschool boys and girls is described. Students’ language abilities are examined in these four studies, where the participants are students in preschool (N= 231), and compulsory school (N=428).The results indicated that the student’s reading profiles (the correlation between phonological decoding and reading ability) based on Simple View of Reading showed difficulties in reading ability for students in the fourth grade to a larger extent than in the third grade. National tests (NP) in Swedish for the third grade do not identify students with decoding difficulties.The students that had difficulties with decoding in the third grade also had difficulties with decoding in the ninth grade and scored low on all reading and writing tests. In interviews with parents and students, the respondents described that the students did not engage in leisure reading in their free time and that when they did, they read using their computer or their mobile phone. The respondents also described school experiences where special education support had been provided too late, and to an unsatisfactory extent. Between the fourth and sixth grade, special support was provided as reading in a small group, and between the seventh and ninth grade, special support was provided from a paraprofessional; receiving support from a special educational needs teacher was uncommon. Study IV does not indicate differences between preschool boys’ and girls’ results on tests in language abilities, letter knowledge, and rapid automatized naming. Children from areas with lower SES performed worse on the language tests than children from areas with higher SES. The results from these studies indicate the importance of early language interventions for preschool children in areas with low SES. Taken together, the studies indicate that the early identification of children with delays in language abilities is feasible in preschool, as well as the early identification of children with difficulties with decoding in primary school. The follow-up suggests that without early and effective interventions the difficulties may last for the following school years, and may affect negatively the students’ educational achievement.