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Experimental investigation into reading ability in relation to reversal errors in spelling and the Gerstmann syndrome. Howorth, Anne Elizabeth

Abstract

The relationship between reading and spelling ability and the four symptoms of the Gerstmann syndrome was studied. A spelling test was constructed to measure the tendency of fifth grade children to make kinetic and static reversal errors in spelling. The spelling test was administered to 343 grade five children in Richmond, B.C. The reading achievement level for each child was obtained from the reading scores on the Stanford Achievement Test. The children were divided into four groups on the basis of reading achievement scores above and below 4.0 and the presence or absence of reversal errors in spelling. Ninety children, selected at random from three groups, and seven children, who comprised the fourth group, were tested for the four symptoms of the Gerstmann syndrome. The tests used to determine the presence or absence of each symptom were: (1) disorientation for right and left - eight directional commands, (2) finger agnosia - Kinsbourne and Warrington's test for finger differentiation, (3) dyscalculia - an arithmetic test to determine ability in writing numbers correctly and computing accurately, plus confirmation of the latter skill by the arithmetic achievement score on the Stanford Achievement Test, and (4) dysgraphia - Myklebustf's Picture Story Language Test. A statistical analysis of the data by the chi-square method indicated a significant relationship, at the grade five level, between reading retardation one or more years below grade placement, reversal errors in spelling, and the concomitant presence of two or more symptoms of the Gerstmann syndrome.

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