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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship of automaticity, metacognition, and working memory in normal and learning disabled readers Alexander, Joy


In this study 40 disabled and 40 non-disabled readers were selected in equal numbers from grade three and grade six and compared on 26 variables which have been shown to play significant roles in skilled reading. The variables were grouped into three processing tasks: automaticity, metacognition and working memory. One purpose of this study was to compare learning disabled and non-disabled readers ' performance on these tasks. The general findings were that the two groups (both age and ability) differed significantly on all three processing tasks. It was also the purpose of this study to compare the intercorrelational patterns of learning disabled and non-disabled youngsters on these three processes. In interpreting this relationship, two competing frameworks were compared: the modularity and the general resource models. The results indicate a significant relationship between automaticity, working memory and metacognition for the total sample and both the LD and non-disabled group. The intercorrelational pattern was qualified, however, when vocabulary was partialled out in the analysis. Although strong intercorrelation patterns occurred for the total sample the relationship between working memory and automaticity was weakened within ability groups. Both working memory and automaticity maintained a significant correlation with reading. Results provide support for the notion that a general working memory is related to reading ability, as well as the fact that automatic processes operate as encapsulated operations only when word knowledge is partialled out in the analysis. Overall, the results suggest that a general resource system plays a major role in accounting for ability group differences.

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