Desempenho em vocabulário, leitura e escrita: prematuridade como fator associado
Lima, Débora Corrêa de
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Learning to read is preceded by the acquisition of vocabulary, and premature birth is a risk factor for the delayed development of language. However, few studies have investigated the association between prematurity and delays in expanding vocabulary and learning to read and write. The present study was conducted with 20 students, aged 5 years 8 months to 6 years 6 months, 10 of whom were born late preterm and 10 were born full term. Their receptive and expressive vocabulary was initially assessed. A computerized program was then implemented to expand vocabulary and teach reading and writing. The late preterm students average gestational age was 35 weeks, and their average birth weight was 2,450 g. The full term students gestational age was 39 weeks, and their average birth weight was 3,146 g. The predominant classification of nutritional status among the students was appropriate for their gestational age and weight. The results showed similar performance between late preterm students and full term students in receptive skills, such as expressive vocabulary, which was lower than expected for their ages. In expansive vocabulary, all of the students achieved 100% accuracy in the selection of figures. In the picture-naming task, late learners who were born preterm had higher scores than those born full term (93% vs. 76%). None of the students read or wrote (dictation) any of the words presented in the pretest. In the post-test, we found the partial emergence of reading and speaking repertoires among the students. The two groups read 50% and 40% of the words correctly and wrote 29% and 12% of the words correctly, respectively. Therefore, the performance of late preterm students was higher compared with full term students in both reading and writing. Prematurity is a multifactorial event, and other factors may have potentially interfered with linguistic development in these children. Regardless of the condition of their birth, all of the students scored below the expected range for typical development in word recognition and naming. The correlation that was observed in the post-test confirmed the predictive relationship described in the literature between receptive vocabulary and reading acquisition in late preterm and full term infants and expressive vocabulary acquisition and writing in late preterm infants. Differences were found between oral reading among late preterm students and receptive reading (or recognition) among full term students. Similar to writing, speaking was correlated with expressive vocabulary only among late preterm students. These results strongly suggest the need to implement and maintain literacy interventions in the study participants using different classes of verbal operants that feature oral language.