Blog Archives

Precursors to numeracy in kindergartners with specific language impairment

The present study investigated to what extent children with specific language impairment (SLI) differ in their early numeracy skills, when compared to normal language achieving (NLA) children. It was also explored which precursors were related to the early numeracy skills in both groups. Sixty-one children with SLI (6; 1 years) and 111 NLA children (6; 2 years) were assessed on general intelligence, working memory, naming speed, linguistic ability and early numeracy skills. The results showed lower scores for the children with SLI on logical operations and numeral representations but not on numeral estimations. The variance in numeral estimations was explained by children’s intelligence and visual spatial memory. Phonological awareness and grammatical ability explained the variance in logical operations and numeral representations whereas naming speed turned out to be an additional factor in predicting these early numeracy skills of children with SLI.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities


What Factors Place Children With Speech Sound Disorders at Risk for Reading Problems?

Conclusions: The present study makes a significant theoretical contribution to the literature as the first study, to our knowledge, that has tested the hypothesis that weaknesses in representation-related phonological processing may underlie the difficulties in phonological awareness and reading that are demonstrated by children with SSDs.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology

Phonemic awareness and literacy acquisition

This review focuses on phonological awareness (PA) skills and their key role both in literacy acquisition and development and in explaining reading and writing difficulties; in particular, we focus on phonemic awareness, which implies awareness of the smallest speech units. Several questions about PA are addressed; we discuss major research findings over the past few decades both in typically developing children and children with dyslexia, mainly carried out in Spanish. We also discuss the development of PA and how children’s implicit knowledge of speech sounds progresses into explicit knowledge through kindergarten games and other experiences with oral language and, especially, when children start to learn how to read and write. This process is not free of difficulties, given the phenomenon of coarticulation. This step signifies the development of distinct levels of PA skills, which predict reading and writing acquisition. Additionally, the difficulties of dyslexic children in PA tasks are discussed; these difficulties are more evident in speed processing than in accuracy. Finally, the present article reviews issues that should be taken into account when PA tasks are designed both for assessment and intervention. Practical implications for effective intervention for the development and enhancement of PA skills are discussed.

from Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología

Dyslexia: Advances in clinical and imaging studies

The aim of this report is to describe the characteristics of Japanese dyslexia, and to demonstrate several of our studies about the extraction of these characteristic and their neurophysiological and neuroimaging abnormalities, as well as advanced studies of phonological awareness and the underlying neural substrate. Based on these results, we have proposed a 2-step approach for remedial education (e-learning web site: The first step is decoding, which decreases reading errors, and the second is vocabulary learning, which improves reading fluency. This 2-step approach is designed to serve first grade children. In addition, we propose the RTI (response to intervention) model as a desirable system for remedial education.

from Brain and Development

Perception of temporally modified speech in auditory neuropathy

Conclusions: A rehabilitation program for AN should consider temporal modification of speech, training for auditory temporal processing and the use of devices with innovative signal processing schemes. Verbal modifications as well as visual imaging appear to be promising compensatory strategies for remediating the affected phonological processing skills.

from the International Journal of Audiology

Dyslexia in regular orthographies: manifestation and causation

This article summarizes our research on the manifestation of dyslexia in German and on cognitive deficits, which may account for the severe reading speed deficit and the poor orthographic spelling performance that characterize dyslexia in regular orthographies. An only limited causal role of phonological deficits (phonological awareness, phonological STM, and rapid naming) for the emergence of reading fluency and spelling deficits is inferred from two large longitudinal studies with assessments of phonology before learning to read. A review of our cross-sectional studies provides no support for several cognitive deficits (visual–attention deficit, magnocellular dysfunction, skill automatization deficit, and visual–sequential memory deficit), which were proposed as alternatives to the phonological deficit account. Finally, a revised version of the phonological deficit account in terms of a dysfunction in orthographic–phonological connectivity is proposed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

from Dyslexia

Perceptual organization, phonological awareness, and reading comprehension in adults with and without learning disabilities

It is not clear from research whether, or to what extent, reading comprehension is impaired in adults who have learning disabilities (LD). The influence of perceptual organization (PO) and phonological awareness (PA) on reading comprehension was investigated. PO and PA are cognitive functions that have been examined in previous research for their roles in nonverbal LD and phonological dyslexia, respectively. Nonverbal tests of PO and non-reading tests of PA were administered to a sample of adults with postsecondary education. Approximately two thirds of the sample had previously been diagnosed as having LD. In a multiple regression analysis, tests of PO and PA were used to predict scores for tests of reading comprehension and mechanics. Despite the nonverbal nature of the perceptual organizational test stimuli, PO strongly predicted reading comprehension. Tests of PA predicted decoding and reading speed. Results were interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that integrative processes usually characterized as nonverbal were nonetheless used by readers with and without disabilities to understand text. The study’s findings have implications for understanding the reading of adults with learning disabilities, and the nature of reading comprehension in general.<p><p>from the <a href=””><em>Annals of Dyslexia</em></a></p>

Auditory Processing and Early Literacy Skills in a Preschool and Kindergarten Population

Although the relationship between auditory processing and reading-related skills has been investigated in school-age populations and in prospective studies of infants, understanding of the relationship between these variables in the period immediately preceding formal reading instruction is sparse. In this cross-sectional study, auditory processing, phonological awareness, early literacy skills, and general ability were assessed in a mixed sample of 88 three- to six-year-old children both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Results from both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses suggest the importance of early auditory rise time sensitivity in developing phonological awareness skills, especially in the development of rhyme awareness.

from the Journal of Learning Disabilities

Genetic Influence on Literacy Constructs in Kindergarten and First Grade: Evidence from a Diverse Twin Sample

Historically, twin research on reading has been conducted on older children and the generalizability of results across racial/ethnic/socioeconomic groups is unclear. To address these gaps, early literacy skills were examined among 1,401 twin pairs in kindergarten and 1,285 twin pairs in first grade (ages 5–7). A multi-group analysis was conducted separately for subsamples defined by neighborhood income while controlling for race/ethnicity within each grade. Substantial additive genetic and shared environmental effects were found for early literacy skills measured in kindergarten. In first grade, variance in early reading was associated with large additive genetic effects for middle and high neighborhood income twins, but shared environmental influence was substantial for low neighborhood income twins. Results suggest that the etiological architecture of some early literacy skills may differ across economic contexts.

from Behavior Genetics

Phonological Awareness and Types of Sound Errors in Preschoolers With Speech Sound Disorders

Conclusions: Poorer PA is associated with lower receptive vocabularies and more atypical sound errors. Results are interpreted in the context of the accuracy of phonological representations.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Phonological Awareness and Word Recognition in Reading by Children With Autism

This research examined phonological awareness (PA) and single word reading in 14 school-age children with autism and 10 age-matched, typically developing (TD) children between 5-7 years. Two measures of PA, an elision task (ELI) and a sound blending task (BLW), were given along with two measures of single word reading, word identification for real words (WID) and phonetic decoding of nonwords (WATTK). Group differences were found for performance on PA tasks but no group differences were found for WID or WATTK. All the children with autism scored within the average range on WID and WATTK, although a statistical bias was noted for WID. No relationship was found between PA and measures of word reading in children with autism. Children with autism have adequate ability in single word reading but below average PA. Word reading does not appear to be related to PA for some of the children with autism

from Communications Disorders Quarterly

Phonological awareness of children with Down syndrome: Its role in learning to read and the effectiveness of related interventions

Phonological awareness (PA) is the ability to hear and manipulate the smallest units of sound in our language. It is key to learning to read for typically developing children. Some have suggested that this is not true for children with Down syndrome (DS). The purpose of this review was to provide a better understanding of the role PA plays for children with DS as they learn to read and to provide guidance on whether phonics-based reading instruction is likely to benefit these students. Results from a review of 20 studies indicate that children with DS rely on PA skills in learning to read and suggest that phonics-based reading instruction may be beneficial for at least some of these children.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities

Educational Diagnosticians’ Understanding of Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness, and Reading Fluency

This article summarizes the results of a study involving 42 educational diagnosticians from North Texas. The study was conducted to determine diagnosticians’ perceived understanding of early literacy development and their ability to effectively choose and interpret assessments of phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and reading fluency. The results suggested that the educational diagnosticians who participated in the study were not sufficiently knowledgeable in identifying the numerous components of reading (e.g., phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and fluency); nor were they prepared to choose appropriate assessment instruments to assess selected components of reading.

from Assessment for Effective Intervention

Psychometric Properties of the Texas Primary Reading Inventory for Early Reading Screening in Kindergarten

This study investigated the psychometric properties of the kindergarten Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI; Texas Education Agency and the University of Texas System, 2004—2006) Mid-Year screeners with a sample of 180 students. The TPRI screeners were designed to determine which students are not at risk for later reading failure. Results indicated adequate internal consistency reliability and concurrent and predictive validity for screening purposes. Classification validity analyses indicated low false negative rates and high negative predictive power but substantial false positive rates and low positive predictive power. The TPRI Mid-Year screeners were found to be adequate instruments for identifying students who are unlikely in need of further assessment. Recommendations are provided for using the TPRI within a response-to-intervention or other prevention-based service delivery model.

from Assessment for Effective Intervention

Reading and spelling in children with severe speech and physical impairments: a comparative study

Background: Effective literacy skills are crucial in supporting communication for children with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI). Reading and spelling difficulties are reported to be over-represented in this group, even where language and cognitive skills are age appropriate.

Aims: To compare the performance of children with SSPI on a range of language, reading and spelling tasks with that of their typically developing peers matched for receptive vocabulary and mental age.

Methods & Procedures: A wide range of tasks was developed as part of a larger study exploring phonological awareness, reading and spelling skills. All tasks were accessible to children with severe physical impairments. Two groups of primary school-aged children were recruited, children with SSPI of average intelligence, and naturally speaking peers, matched for receptive vocabulary. Children were assessed individually on language, non-verbal cognition, phonological awareness, reading and spelling tasks.

Outcomes & Results: Sixteen children with SSPI were recruited. Their performance was compared with that of 15 naturally speaking peers, matched for receptive vocabulary scores. The children with SSPI achieved significantly lower scores on reading and spelling measures relative to their naturally speaking peers. However, at least one participant with SSPI scored at ceiling on each task, indicating that SSPI do not preclude the development of reading and spelling, at least in the early stages of literacy development.

Conclusions & Implications: This study indicates that some children with severe speech impairments can develop phonological awareness, reading and spelling skills. However, the data suggest that phonological awareness may not be as good a predictor of reading and spelling abilities in this group of children as in typically developing children. Further research is needed to track development of reading and spelling, as well as the instructional support needed to scaffold more effective skills in these areas.

from the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders