Authors: Fuchs D
Title: Reading and perceptual-motor performance: Can we strengthen them simultaneously?
Source: The Journal of Special Education 1979 13(3): 265-273
Year: 1979
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 04/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - N
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

The study attempted to ascertain whether a direct remedial-reading program would improve performance on a perceptual-motor test as it strengthened reading skill. Subjects were 119 intermediate grade pupils whose average reading achievement was more than 2 years below CA. They were randomly assigned to a remedial-reading program or to regular classrooms for instruction in reading. A comparison of pre- and posttreatment functioning on perceptual-motor and reading measures revealed that: a) The experimentals' gain on the perceptual-motor instrument was significantly and dramatically greater than the controls' improvement on the same test; and b) while both treatment groups' reading skill appeared to improve substantially, the experimentals' gain was not significantly greater than the controls'. Thus, the experimentals' more impressive functioning on the perceptual-motor test cannot readily be attributed to reading achievement. Nevertheless, findings indicate that performance on a perceptual-motor measure can be positively affected by a reading instructional program which does not explicitly employ perceptual-motor training. This seriously questions the belief, popular among perceptual-motor practitioners, that perceptual-motor functioning can be improved only by direct training. If perceptual-motor functioning is strengthened concomitant with, and indirectly by, standard remedial-reading instruction, educators may think twice about routinely assigning reading-programs when the more direct method not only achieves the goal of perceptual-motor training but teaches reading skill as well.

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