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Kayla Poole '14

Kayla Poole '14

Executive Function in Relation to Reading Outcomes in School Age Students

Major/minor: Psychology and Early Childhood Education 
Hometown: Lansford, Pennsylvania
Project mentor: Dr. Jean DesJardin

Project Details:

  1. Briefly describe your SOAR project.
    A literature review of executive function specifically as it pertains to reading was completed during the first three weeks of SOAR. Following this literature review the researcher collected measures to assess observable working memory in students. The participants were children that participated in the Summer Reading Program at Moravian College directed by Dr. Conard, in which graduate students helped facilitate as part of their requirements. The Childhood Executive Function Inventory (CHEXI) was used to observe traits that a child would display in their daily activities in the classroom. The data collected was then correlated with their reading scores from the Diagnostic Reading Assessment (DRA) (which were collected by the graduate students) to determine if there was a correlation. The researchers divided Executive Function into four categories as determined on the CHEXI: inhibition, working memory, regulation and planning.  
  2. What motivated you to participate in SOAR? 
    I was the first post graduate student to be accepted into the SOAR program. I wanted to have the opportunity to explore a topic I was passionate about to help bridge the gap between psychology and education. Hopefully the project can be an asset to individuals in both fields as they are both essential to children’s development, something I am really passionate about.  
  3. What are the results of your work on this project? 
    Statistical analysis determined that working memory and regulation had a strong, significant correlation with the child’s reading comprehension. It is our hope that this information can be used to design intervention to target executive function strengthening, which would then presumably influence their reading comprehension. 
  4. What are your personal takeaways from the project? And do you plan to continue work on this project after SOAR? 
    My takeaway is that there are so many factors that can influence a child’s ability to understand various concepts and their engagement both inside and outside a class. This same conclusion can be said about adults as well even though my research focused on children. It is essential to have an understanding of why and how we learn so that we are able to not only process the information we are given but then be able to successfully use the knowledge we gain. If a child is struggling in a classroom it is our mission as teachers to determine why or at the very least be a part of the process of figuring out why and try to support the child and their family to the best of our ability.

Biographical Information:

  1. What clubs/sports/activities/community service are you involved in? 
    I worked at the Center for Leadership and Service and coordinated five volunteer programs for the academic year 2013-14. I was the Community Feast, Moravian Village, Sharing Knowledge, New Bethany Ministries and Bethlehem Emergency Shelter Coordinator. I was also the Parliamentarian for the service sorority on campus Gamma Sigma Sigma.  I was in Kappa Delta Pi and Psi Chi. I was named a Who’s Who recipient among American Colleges and Universities, 2014. I participated in Habitat for Humanity and their spring break to Sumter, South Carolina in 2013.  
  2. Have you received any awards/recognitions here? 
    Who’s Who Among among American Colleges and Universities. I was nominated for the Outstanding Senior Award.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude.  
  3. Briefly, what are your future plans and career goals? 
    Currently, I am student teaching at Wind Gap Middle School in a fourth grade classroom. My second placement will be at Bushkill Elementary School in a third grade classroom. I love working with children and hope to spend a rewarding profession in teaching or speech and language pathology.