Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

George McCloskey, Ph.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

Diane L. Smallwood, Psy.D., NCSP

Third Advisor

Barbara B. Williams, Ph.D.


Early identification of students at-risk for reading problems has become a national priority. At the present time, the most commonly used kindergarten screening methods are self-made by local districts and are not considered effective methods of early detection for at-risk readers. This retrospective study involved third, fourth and fifth grade students enrolled in a suburban elementary school during the 2007-2008 school year. The first research question examined the relationship between at-risk status determined with the Kindergarten Screening measure prior to entry into kindergarten and at-risk status determined by Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills measures administered in the fall of kindergarten. The comparison between the category classifications derived from the Kindergarten Screening Summary Scores and the category classifications derived from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills Summary Scores produced the best combination of sensitivity and specificity values. The second research question was designed to examine the predictive relationship between the Kindergarten Screening measure and the Kindergarten Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills measures with Winter Oral Reading Fluency in Grades 1 and 2. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy SkillsSummary score demonstrated greater levels of sensitivity and greater improvement over chance in predicting Grade 1 Winter Oral Reading Fluency than did the Kindergarten Screening measure for two of the three cohorts and greater sensitivity than Letter Naming Fluency or Initial Sound Fluency for all cohorts. The third research question investigated the effectiveness of the reading instruction based on the results of the Kindergarten Summary Scores, Oral Reading Fluency and Measures of Academic Performace scores. Improvements in at-risk status were noted as for Oral Reading Fluency as cohorts progressed through grades 1 and 2; this was followed by a slight decrease in grade 3, and improvements in subsequent cohorts were consistently reported. Improvement between the fall and spring Measures of Academic Performance scores was also reported for each cohort as well as with successive cohorts, suggesting positive effects of general education instruction and remedial efforts. The effect of Socioeconomic Status was investigated through re-examination of each research question, with the inclusion of Disadvantaged and Not Disadvantaged status. Results indicated that the inclusion of Socioeconomic Status is important in the prediction of at risk status, and in the investigation of effectiveness of reading instruction.