In this longitudinal study, the word-level reading trajectories of 118 children were tracked alongside teachers’ reported concerns and types of support provided through Grades 1, 2 and 3. Results show a significant decline in composite scores relative to age norms over time, with children achieving significantly lower in phonemic decoding than word recognition at the subtest level. Five group trajectories were identified: children who achieved average or above average scores across all 3 years (n = 64), children who consistently bordered on average (n = 11), children who achieved below average in Grade 1 but who then achieved average or above in Grade 2 or Grade 3 (n = 7), children who achieved average or above in Grade 1 but then declined to below average in Grade 2 or Grade 3 (n = 10), and children who achieved below average across all 3 years (n = 26). Appropriately, teachers’ concerns were highest for students in the groups that improved, declined or remained persistently below average. However, analysis of the focus of teachers’ concerns and the supports they said were provided to the children in these three groups suggests that teachers are not always accurate in their interpretation of children’s presenting characteristics, resulting in the misalignment of support provision.
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- Early identification
- Persistent reading difficulties
- Support provision
- Teacher knowledge