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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A case study to assess the effects of training in gross motor and fine motor skills on the reading readiness of a selected group of grade one students McGill, Robert G.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects that a specialized program in which emphasis was placed on fine and gross motor skill training had on the reading readiness of a group of grade one boys and girls deficient in perceptual-motor skills. Ten grade one students were selected from the Sir Richard McBride Elementary School in Vancouver. These pupils were chosen on the basis of their low scores recorded on the Metropolitan Reading Readiness Test, Form R and the Winter Haven Perceptual Copy Forms Test. A group of ten pupils, which would act as a control group, was selected from Laura Secord Elementary School. The two groups were matched according to age, sex, the results of the reading readiness test, and the perceptual forms test. The experimental group received eighteen weeks of special motor training which was carried on for sixty minutes a day, five days a week. The control group received regular classroom instruction during this same sixty minute interval. At the completion of the training period all subjects were given the Metropolitan Reading Readiness Test Form S and the Winter Haven Perceptual Copy Forms Test. Descriptive relationships were also drawn from data obtained from the parents’ interview, homeroom teacher's questionnaire, personal observation and an 8mm. film. The results of the reading readiness and perceptual form tests of the control and the experimental groups involved in the study were not statistically significant from each other and there was no real difference in reading readiness between the groups at the end of the study. The results of the interviews indicated that the majority of parents of the children in the experimental and control groups were either semi or unskilled workers, were not involved in community organizations or clubs, and had a relatively low educational level. They did not participate in physical or recreational activities themselves or with their child and did not encourage their children to participate in sports activities. Similarly these parents spent most of their time watching television, reading little, and regarded education solely as a means of obtaining a decent job. Although most of the children in the study had easy access to recreational facilities, little use was made of them due to the restrictions placed on the child by their parents. The majority of the children in the study, moreoever, were classed by their partents as being extremely hypo or hyper active, having an extremely short attention span, having few close friends, and experiencing sibling rivalry. They did not participate in any form of organized sport. The results of the homeroom teacher's questionnaire showed that the majority of students in the experimental group changed a great deal in relation to their attitude and interaction within the class. They improved in their ability to work and play within the classroom, with their teacher, and with their classmates. The students in the control group, however, were less willing to participate effectively within the classroom. That is, their attitude towards their teacher, school work, and school mates had changed little over the eighteen weeks of the study. Finally, it was noted that towards the end of the training session the subjects in the experimental group improved their fine and gross motor skills. Moreover, as these children met with unaccustomed success their attitude reflected a more aggressive and confident nature which appeared to carry over to their speech, mannerisms, dress, and reaction within the class. Their attitude and interaction to the class changed markedly, they were willing to participate in class activities, they were able to work for longer periods of time independently, and their new found confidence carried over into all phases of classroom activity. The subjects in the control group, however, had not improved their fine and gross motor skills. They were much less aggressive and confident than those subjects in the experimental group. They were unwilling to participate in class activities, or work independently for any length of time effectively. It was therefore concluded that the socio-economic status of the childs' parents, as well as, the parents' attitude towards education may have hindered the normal development of their child. Similarly, it was also concluded that the program of special motor training given to the experimental group may have accounted for the improvement in skills involving laterality, directionality, balance, coordination, and various perceptual skills. This improvement in turn, increased the aggressiveness and confidence of the slow learner interacting with his class, and his classroom activity.

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