An analysis of reading materials and strategies used by older adults
The purpose of this study was to gather information related to reading abilities in typically aging older adults. A variety of strategies had been used in the past to assess reading in older adults. These strategies included the use of questionnaires, diary keeping, and interviewing. Several weaknesses in previous research were noted including lack of diversity in samples, volunteer bias, and social desirability confounds. More importantly, however, none of the previous research examined the scope of components that affect reading and reading-related skills in typically aging adults. The questions guiding this research addressed issues related to the reading and related skills of older adults, the strategies that older adults use to improve reading comprehension, and the types and frequency of reading materials older adults use. Data for this study were collected from 96 community dwelling adults between the ages of 65 and 79 years. The Word Identification and Word Attack subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test (Woodcock, 1998) were used as a measure of decoding ability. The vocabulary subtest of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (Brown, Fishco, & Hanna, 1993) was used as a measure of reading vocabulary. Several nonstandardized tasks were included to examine reading comprehension, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness. Additionally, four survey instruments were used to assess awareness of reading strategies, print exposure, reading habits, and attitudes about reading. The adults in this study were, as a group, more highly educated than the general population in Kansas. This sample of adults demonstrated reading comprehension and vocabulary skills which were above average as compared to the normative samples on the standardized instruments. Pearson correlations indicated that reading comprehension was positively correlated with vocabulary, decoding, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness in this study. Both qualitative and quantitative data indicated that this group of adults used a wide variety of materials and strategies for reading.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Education / College of Health Professions, Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders