A Survey of Certain Demographic Characteristics of Children with Reading Difficulties Referred to a Reading Service Center

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Montgomery, Janey Weinhold
Education; Communications; Communication; Social and Behavioral Sciences
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between reading disability and certain demographic characteristics of the elementary school referral population of the Fort Hays Reading Service Center. The primary question investigated in this study was “Do the Reading Service Center referrals differ significantly from the normal population of elementary children in Kansas on certain demographic characteristics?” To answer this question, data was analyzed for statistical information concerning (1) demographic characteristics of children referred to the Reading Service Center and (2) a comparison of the Reading Service Center referrals to the normal population of the elementary children in Kansas. Procedure: The subjects of this study consisted of 653 elementary children from grades kindergarten through six, ages five through fourteen, referred for reading disability to the Reading Service Center of Fort Hays Kansas State College, between the years 1958-1968. Information concerning the subjects was obtained by investigating the Reading Service Center files on each individual subject referred. Demographic data from these files were tabulated by grade level, sex, age, head of household’s occupation, marital status, number of children in family, ordinal position of child, and residence of family (Urban-rural). In addition to parametric techniques, a test of Chi Square significant at the .05 level of confidence was used for analyzation of data. Findings: In investigating the demographic characteristics of children referred to the Reading Service Center, it was found that the predominant number of children referred were between ages seven through eleven, and between grades two through five. A ratio of three boys to every girl was found with nearly two-thirds of the population referred from the urban areas. Occupations of the parents were evenly distributed among all groups with the exception of the farm occupation which had twice as many referrals as any other occupation. Ninety-five percent of the parents were married with only five percent being divorced or separated. Three-fourths of the families referred had three or more children in the family. The children born in the second ordinal position were most often referred for a reading disability. In comparing the Reading Service Center referrals and the population of elementary children in Kansas, a Chi Square ratio, tested for significance at the .05 level confidence, indicated that a significant difference exists between the Reading Service Center referrals and the normal elementary population in Kansas in terms of age, grade, sex, occupation, and number of children in the