Research and publications

Reading fluency and comprehension are critical skills that impact success within society.  The development of these skills are improved and impeded by many factors (biological, social, and environmental) that may interact in ways that lead some children to be strong readers and others to become struggling readers well into adulthood.  The Motivation, Instruction, and Reading Lab studies the relationships between factors that create both reading success and reading failure.

Some areas of our research

Children’s reading development

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Adult Reading Interventions

The ability to read is critical to success in adult society and has a substantial impact on earning power, health, and employment. Those who have reached adulthood and still struggle with reading have likely experience a long-term struggle with reading. Some of our research investigates how adult struggling readers may be affected by differing motivational factors when it comes to reading and why some adults are more persistent in completing adult literacy programs than others.

Bilingualism and Reading

Rhythm entrainment and reading

Language is rhythmical in nature and research has demonstrated many connections between rhythm ability, language acquisition and reading development. Past research has shown that children with impaired phonological processing also have poorer rhythmic abilities when compared to their non-impaired peers. Abilities such as entraining to a paced rhythm, reproducing simple rhythm patterns and discriminating between whether tones and patterns are the same or different are poorer in those with reading impairment.

ADHD and Reading

Motivation and Reading

Reading and Anxiety

Assessments for reading skills may be impacted by the design of the assessment interacting with a participant’s affective state. Research has shown that anxiety impacts reading performance. Investigating the differential effects that state and trait anxiety play in different assessment formats traditionally used for identifying at risk readers, is important as the design of the assessment may be tapping in to the anxious affect of some participants.


Frijters, J.C., Tsujimoto, K.C, Boada, R., Gottwald, S., Hill, D., Jacobson, L.A., …Gruen, J.R. (2018). Reading-related causal attributions for success and failure: Dynamics links with reading skills. Reading Research Quarterly, 53(1), 127-148.

Tannock, R., Frijters, J.C., Martinussen, R., White, E.J., Ickowicz, A., Benson, N.J., & Lovett, M.W. (2018) Combined modality invervention for ADHD with comorbid reading disorders: A proof of concept study. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 51(1), 55-72.

Jacobson, L. A., Koriakin, T., Lipkin, P., Boada, R., Frijters, J. C., Lovett, M. W., Hill, D., Willcutt, E., Gottwald, S., Wolf, M., Bosson-Heenan, J., Gruen, J. G., & Mahone, E. M. (2017). Executive functions contribute uniquely to reading competence in minority youth. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50(4), 422-433.

Lovett, M. W., Frijters, J. C., Wolf, M., Steinbach, K. A., Sevcik, R. A., & Morris, R. D. (2017). Early intervention for children at risk for reading disabilities: The impact of grade at intervention and individual differences on intervention outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(7), 889-914.

Griffiths, D., Owen, F., Hamelin, J., Feldman, M., Condillac, R. & Frijters, J. C. (2016). “History of institutionalization: General background”, “The shift from institutions to community: The Ontario experience”, “Impact of deinstitutionalization on the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities.”, “Critiques and concerns regarding deinstitutionalization on the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities”, “Emerging Changes in the Deinstitutionalization Process”, “The attitudes, experiences and impact on families during and after deinstitutionalization”, “The end of the era of institutionalization: The Ontario Experience.” [6 Chapters]. In D.M. Griffiths, F., Owen, F., & R. Condillac (Eds.), A difficult dream. Kingston NY: NADD Press.

Feinberg, I., Frijters, J. C., Lawrence-Johnson, V., Greenberg, D., Nightingale, E., & Moodie, C. (2016). Examining associations between health information seeking behavior and adult education status in the U.S.: An analysis of the 2012 PIAAC data. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148751

Davis, A., Polanowski, J., & Frijters, J. C. (2014). William’s syndrome. In D. M. Griffiths, R., Condillac, B. Finucane, and M. Legree (Eds.). Syndromes and Applied Behaviour Analysis. (pp. 169-196). UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishing.

Frijters, J. C., Lovett, M. W., Sevcik, R. A., & Morris, R. (2013). Four methods of identifying responders to a multiple component reading intervention for struggling middle school readers. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26(4), 539-563. DOI: 10.1007/s11145-012-9418-z

Greenberg, D., Wise, J., & Frijters, J. C. (2013). Persisters and nonpersisters: Identifying who stays and who leaves from adult literacy interventions. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26(4), 495-514. DOI: 10.1007/s11145-012-9401-8

Cho, K., Frijters, J. C., Zhang, H., Miller, L. L., & Gruen, J. R. (2013). Prenatal exposure to nicotine and impaired reading performance. Journal of Pediatrics, 162(4), 713-718. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.09.041

Lovett, M. W., Barron, R. W., & Frijters, J. C. (2013). Word identification difficulties in children and adolescents with reading disabilities: Intervention research findings. In H. L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, and S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of Learning Disabilities. (pp. 329-360). New York: Guilford Publications.

Morris, R. D., Lovett, M. W., Wolf, M. Sevcik, R. A., Steinbach, K. A., Frijters, J. C., & Shapiro, M. (2012). Multiple-Component Remediation for Developmental Reading Disabilities: IQ, SES, and Race as Factors on Remedial Outcome. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(2), 99-127.

Lovett, M. W., Lacerenza, L., De Palma, M., & Frijters, J. C. (2012). Evaluating the Efficacy of Remediation for Struggling Readers in High School. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(2), 151-169.

Frijters, J.C., Lovett, M.W., Steinbach, K.A., Wolf, M., Sevcik, R.A., & Morris, R. Neurocognitive predictors of reading outcomes for children with reading disabilities. (2011). Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44(2), 150-166.

Hamelin, J. P., Frijters, J. C., Griffiths, D., Condillac, R., Owen, F. (2011). Meta-Analysis of Deinstitutionalization Adaptive Behaviour Outcomes: Research and Clinical Implications. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 36(1), 61-72.

Fulmer, S., & Frijters, J. C. (2011). Motivational consequences of excessive reading challenge: The buffering role of topic interest. Journal of Experimental Education, 79(2), 185-208.

Fulmer, S.M. & Frijters, J.C. (2009). A review of self-report and alternative approaches in the measurement of student motivation. Education Psychology Review, 21(3), 219.246.

Lovett, M.W., De Palma, M., Frijters, J., Steinbach, K., Temple, M., Benson, N., & Lacerenza, L. (2008). Interventions for reading difficulties: A comparison of repsonse to intervention by ELL and EFL struggling readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41(4), 333-352.

Frijters, J. C., Barron, R. W., & Brunello, M. (2000). Direct and mediated influences of home literacy and literacy interest on prereaders’ oral vocabulary and early written language skill. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 466-477.

Lovett, M.W., Steinbach, K.A., & Frijters, J.C. (2000). Remediating the core deficits of developmental reading disability: A double-deficit perspective. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33((4), 334-358.

Lovett, M. W., Lacerenza, L., Borden, S. L., Frijters, J. C., Steinbach, K. A., & De Palma, M. (2000). Components of effective remediation for developmental reading disabilities: Combining phonological and strategy-based instruction to improve outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(2), 263-283.

Tannock, R., Martinussen, R., & Frijters, J. (2000). Naming speed performance and stimulant effects indicate effortful, semantic processing deficits in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28(3), 237-252.