In September 2018, Dr Jessie Ricketts organised a workshop with colleagues from the University of York (Emma James, Dr Lisa Henderson), University of Bristol (Dr Danielle Colenbrander) and University of Reading (Dr Holly Joseph).
An estimated 5-10 per cent of children have specific comprehension problems despite good reading accuracy, and these difficulties often go undetected in the classroom. The workshop brought researchers and teachers together to discuss assessment, identification and intervention for comprehension difficulties, and debate the utility of considering poor comprehenders as a distinct group.
On the first day of the two-day workshop, two leaders in the field, Professors Kate Nation and Kate Cain shared their research and insights in a ‘keynote in conversation’. This was followed by a series of talks and posters outlining the current state of the research evidence. The workshop included contributions from early career researchers, as well as more experienced and well-known researchers. There were many messages for teachers and education, which have been summarised in an article for the Times Educational Supplement by Dr Ricketts and Megan Dixon (teacher, PhD student and director of literacy at the Aspire Educational Trust).
On the second day, we considered how to pool existing datasets to address the following questions to move the field forward:
- How many children are classified as poor comprehenders under different criteria?
- What are the implications of these criteria for sample characteristics?
- Do some tests systematically identify poor fewer poor comprehenders, and why?
Researchers are currently completing an audit of data that they can share, following which we will take steps towards submitting an article to a leading psychology journal.
We would like to thank all delegates who attended this fantastic workshop, from the UK and abroad. We would also like to thank the Experimental Psychology Society for their generous support of this event.
Visit the workshop website here for more details.