Actively Recruiting Studies

The ultimate goal of this National Institutes of Health multi-grant funded research program is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of struggling readers across a variety of skills, the tests that will be the most accurate at identifying these readers, and the reading interventions that will get these struggling children reading at their full potential. For each of the projects of this Research Center, the focus is to examine the extent to and manner in which difficulties in component reading skills (both top down and bottom up), such as decoding accuracy, fluency, and reading comprehension, occur among older children. In doing so, we will also examine more carefully the construct of fluency itself by teasing apart the relationships between word reading efficiency and text reading fluency. Examining the potential overlap or separation between these two, which are typically collectively subsumed under the term fluency, will allow for a greater understanding of diagnostic, classification, and treatment implications for children with these types of deficits. We will use both behavioral (dynamic assessment/short-term learning and static psychometric approaches) and neurobiological (Diffusion Tensor Imaging and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) methods to better determine the degree to which “bottom up” and “top down” deficits are present in older readers.

Project I: Reading Comprehension: Sources of Difficulty and Neurocognitive Correlates

PI: Laurie E. Cutting, Ph.D. and Hollis Scarborough, Ph.D.

In this project we will examine the development of word-level efficiency, the relationship between word-level and text-level fluency and comprehension, the influence of different textual demands upon comprehension, and specific predictors of each within different subtypes of reading disability. Functional neuroimaging (fMRI) will be used to examine group differences in cortical activation during different reading tasks and structural MRI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) will be used to examine the white matter fiber pathways hypothesized to be involved in reading.

More information on participating for:

Project II: Validity of Response-to-Intervention for Identifying Reading Disability beyond the Primary Grades

PI: Deborah L. Speece, Ph.D.

This study examines the validity of Response to Intervention (RTI) as a means of identifying children with reading disabilities beyond second grade, tests a set of procedures that may more efficiently identify children who experience late onset reading disabilities, and examines the neurobiological signature of children who fail to respond to increasingly intense interventions.

Project III: The Effects of ADHD (Beyond Decoding Accuracy) on Reading Fluency and Comprehension

PI: E. Mark Mahone, Ph.D.

The primary aim of this study is to determine how the cognitive aspects of ADHD (processing speed, working memory) may influence both “bottom up” and “top down” processes important for reading comprehension.

Project IV: Prevalence of Reading Difficulties: Fourth through Eighth Grade

PI: John Sabatini, Ph.D.

This project will build upon the knowledge learned from Projects I, II, and III, as well as analyses of extant datasets, in order to determine the prevalence of different types of reading disorders (e.g., decoding accuracy only, fluency only, comprehension only, etc.).

Please note that while the listed contact information may vary from flier to flier, you may obtain more information for whichever study you are interested in by calling Lindsay Goldberg at (443)923-9326 or emailing