Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #9
CE Offered: BACB
Emergent Learning and Textual Stimulus Variables for Teaching Reading to Children and Adults
Saturday, May 27, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center 405
Area: EDC/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mei-Hua Li (Simmons University)
CE Instructor: Mei-Hua Li, M.S.
Abstract: As reading is an essential skill for children and adults, behavior analysts must continue refining methods for teaching reading to people with reading challenges. This symposium has two foci. The first is evaluating methods of generative instruction that produce emergent learning. With children at risk for reading failure, Brown and Cariveau demonstrated that compound class-specific consequences for trained discriminations resulted in emergent letter-sound correspondences and textual behaviors. With adult, Chinese-speaking ESL students, Li and Axe demonstrated the efficacy of matrix training with reading skills, defined as arranging learning targets so that some are taught and others emerge through the outcome referred to as recombinative generalization. The second focus is on the structural variables of textual stimuli. Brown and Cariveau manipulated the orientation of letters in discrimination training, and Hall et al. examined the effects of different fonts on the reading accuracy and efficiency of adults with dyslexia.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): dyslexia, emergent learning, matrix training, reading
Target Audience: BCBAs and educators who work with children and adults on reading.
Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to: 1) Describe a simple discrimination training procedure to establish letter-sound correspondence. 2) Identify the relations that may emerge when compound class-specific consequences are arranged. 3) Describe the use of matrix training to teach onset-rime reading with adult second language learners. 4) Describe the importance of including social-validity measures in assessments of specialized fonts.

Using a Simple Discrimination Procedure With Compound Class-Specific Consequences to Teach Early Reading Skills

ALEXANDRIA BROWN (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Tom Cariveau (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

The development of early reading skills is essential for overall academic success. Although behavior analysts are well-equipped to teach a variety of skills, behavior-analytic research on reading-related repertoires commonly includes less optimal training arrangements or target skills misaligned with best practices described in the educational literature. The purpose of the current study was to extend the research on reading interventions by evaluating the effectiveness of one emergent learning procedure on teaching letter-sound correspondence to children. In the current study, five participants at risk for reading failure completed simple discrimination training with intermodal (i.e., visual and auditory) compound class-specific consequences. The S+ included a correctly oriented lowercase letter and was presented with two incorrectly oriented versions of the same letter (i.e., the distractor stimuli). Selections of the S+ resulted in the presentation of the compound class-specific consequence which included the corresponding printed uppercase letter and the dictated letter sound. Following mastery of simple discrimination training, emergence of six arbitrary relations was assessed. For five of the eight evaluations, participants exhibited emergence of all targeted relations including the textual relation. These results suggest that the current emergent learning procedures may represent an effective method for establishing reading prerequisite skills.


The Effects of Matrix Training on Reading Responses With Adults Learning English as a Second Language

MEI-HUA LI (Simmons University), Judah B. Axe (Simmons University)

Learning a new language can be a time-consuming and painstaking process. Chinese-speaking immigrants are often faced with the challenge of learning English after they arrive in the United States. Therefore, finding an efficient and effective way to learn English is of great importance. The aim of this experiment was to examine the effects of matrix training on reading onset-rime words with 13 adult English language learners. The experimental design was a multiple probe design across submatrices. In Experiment I, teaching and probes occurred in individual sessions using a probe-train-probe format. The instructor first taught the diagonal and overlap targets and subsequently probed for recombinative generalization of the untaught targets. In Experiment II, the instructor taught the overlap targets in group instruction, then subsequently probed for recombinative generalization of the untaught targets in a one-on-one setting. The results indicated that 13 English language learners benefited from overlap training instruction. Practical applications of teaching English reading using matrix training were discussed.


Evaluation of a Specialized Font for Use With Individuals Diagnosed With Dyslexia

LEONARD HALL (University of Alaska Anchorage), Bethany Munden (University of Alaska Anchorage), Christina Elmore (University of Alaska Anchorage), Emily Saeteurn (University of Alaska Anchorage), Kristin Riall (Alaska Association for Behavior Analysis), Mychal Machado (University of Alaska Anchorage)

Research has suggested specialized fonts can help children with dyslexia read faster and more accurately, but these claims have rarely been evaluated with adults diagnosed with dyslexia. The present study examined the extent to which different fonts affected the reading performance of three adults with dyslexia. Data on reading accuracy and efficiency were collected during 1-min sessions, and post-study preference ratings were obtained. During baseline sessions, participants read a randomly selected list of nonsense words printed in Times New Roman font. During test sessions, word lists were printed in either Dyslexie, Times New Roman with interspacing, Arial, or Arial with interspacing. The font for each test session was randomly alternated across sessions using a multielement design. Each participant experienced a reversal back to baseline, and a second series of test sessions. Results indicated variable accuracy and efficiency scores across fonts with only one participant (P1) attaining improvements in both accuracy and efficiency with the same font (Dyslexie). However, all participants reported preferring the font with which they demonstrated the best improvements in accuracy, efficiency, or both. These preliminary results suggest font preference might affect reading accuracy and efficiency and indicate that further research is both necessary and warranted.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh