PREVALENCE OF READING DIFFICULTIES AMONG PERSIAN-SPEAKING PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS: A PRELIMINARY REPORT
 
Pouretemad, H.R., Shaheed Beheshti University, Bakhtiari, A., Ministry of Education, Iran, Stein, J., Talcott, J., Oxford University and Zarei, Z., Rivermead Rehabilitation Center, UK
 
Rational: A variety of screening procedures have been used for school children with reading difficulties in different educational systems. This study was conducted to screen out Persian-speaking primary school students with high-risk of specific reading impairment (dyslexia). Methods: One- thousand and five hundreds and seventy students aged between 79 and 169 months (Mean=112 SD=18) were chosen at random from a total population of primary school children in Qom (N=109,696). Mean scores of mathematics, reading, spelling and science of the three trimesters in the last academic year in Iran were compared to identify poor readers. Results: In accordance to several regression models, mathematic scores were found to be the best predictor of reading scores for all grades (1-5). Using cut-off 1.5 SEE (standard error of the estimate), it was shown that the rate of reading impairment should be 5.3%, 5.1%, 8.3%, 7.6% and 8.1% for first to fifth grades, respectively. In the next phase of the study, these poor readers will undergo comprehensive neuropsychological tests. Conclusion: The rate of reading difficulties among Persian-speaking primary school students appeared to be lower that similar groups belonging to other languages or other educational systems, although further studies are required.