It has been suggested that readers of transparent orthographies rely on small-size reading units, such as graphemes and phonemes, in learning to read. The present paper shows that lexical and morpho-lexical reading is used by developing readers of Italian since the first elementary grades. Several studies that report the presence of lexical and morpho-lexical effects in Italian developmental dyslexics are also reviewed. It is argued that large-size reading units such as morphemes and whole-words are necessary, even in a transparent orthography, in order to attain reading fluency.
Superior parietal lobule dysfunction in a homogeneous group of dyslexic children with a visual attention span disorder
A visual attention (VA) span disorder has been reported in dyslexic children as potentially responsible for their poor reading outcome. The purpose of the current paper was to identify the cerebral correlates of this VA span disorder. For this purpose, 12 French dyslexic children with severe reading and VA span disorders and 12 age-matched control children were engaged in a categorisation task under fMRI. Two flanked and isolated conditions were designed which both involved multiple-element simultaneous visual processing but taxed visual attention differently. For skilled readers, flanked stimuli processing activated a large bilateral cortical network comprising the superior and inferior parietal cortex, the inferior temporal cortex, the striate and extrastriate visual cortex, the middle frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex while the less attention–demanding task of isolated stimuli only activated the inferior occipito-temporal cortex bilaterally. With respect to controls, the dyslexic children showed significantly reduced activation within bilateral parietal and temporal areas during flanked processing, but no difference during the isolated condition. The neural correlates of the processes involved in attention–demanding multi-element processing tasks were more specifically addressed by contrasting the flanked and the isolated conditions. This contrast elicited activation of the left precuneus/superior parietal lobule in the controls, but not in the dyslexic children. These findings provide new insights on the role of parietal regions, in particular the left superior parietal lobule, in the visual attention span and in developmental dyslexia.
from Brain and Language
Learning to assign lexical stress during reading aloud: Corpus, behavioral, and computational investigations
Models of reading aloud have tended to focus on the mapping between graphemes and phonemes in monosyllables. Critical adaptations of these models are required when considering the reading of polysyllables, which constitute over 90% of word types in English. In this paper, we examined one such adaptation – the process of stress assignment in learning to read. We used a triangulation of corpus, behavioral, and computational modeling techniques. A corpus analysis of age-appropriate reading materials for children aged 5–12 years revealed that the beginnings and endings of English bisyllabic words are highly predictive of stress position, but that endings are more reliable cues in texts for older children. Children aged 5–12 years revealed sensitivity to both the beginnings and endings when reading nonwords, but older children relied more on endings for determining stress assignment. A computational model that learned to map orthography onto stress showed the same age-related trajectory as the children when assigning stress to nonwords. These results reflect the gradual process of learning the statistical properties of written input and provide key constraints for adequate models of reading aloud.
from the Journal of Memory and Language
Federal mandates such as No Child Left Behind and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 are prompting elementary schools to carefully monitor early literacy outcomes. The shift toward monitoring early literacy outcomes requires the identification of valid sublexical fluency measures. In the current study, sublexical fluency measures that focus on phonological awareness, phoneme decoding, letter naming, and automatic word recognition are used to predict reading fluency. Results of two path models are discussed within the context of reading acquisition and a prevention-oriented approach.
Research has emphasized the importance of phonological awareness, phonemic decoding, and automaticity in reading development. Special and general education teachers need valid, efficient, and effective early literacy indicators for schoolwide screening and monitoring that adequately predict reading outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the interrelationships and predictiveness of kindergarten early literacy indicators from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) within the context of a path analysis. The results support the validity of kindergarten DIBELS in predicting ever more complex reading skills in a developmental progression from the middle of kindergarten to second grade.
from the Journal of Special Education
In this fMRI-study, 6-year-old children considered at risk for dyslexia were compared with an age-/gender-matched control group for differences in brain activation when presented with visual stimuli differing in demands for literacy processing. Stimuli were nameable pictures, brand logos familiar to children, and written words – these were either regularly spelled using early-acquired rules (“alphabetic”) or more complex (“orthographic”). Brain responses distinguished between the presentation conditions, as a function of group, within many cortical areas. Activation in the alphabetic and orthographic conditions in the left angular gyrus correlated with individual at-risk index scores, and activation in inferior occipito-temporal regions further indicated differential activation for the two groups related to orthographic processing, especially. Since similar patterns are reported in adult dyslexics when processing written words, it appears that sensitivity to the cortical differentiation of reading networks is established prior to formal literacy training.
from the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Phonological processing deficits and the acquisition of the alphabetic principle in a severely delayed reader: a case study
At the end of first grade, TM did not know the alphabet and could read no words. He could not tap syllables in words, had difficulty producing rhyming words and retrieving the phonological representations of words, and he could not discriminate many phoneme contrasts. He learned letter-sound correspondences first for single-consonant onsets and then later for the final consonant in a word but had difficulty with letter-sound associations for vowels. TM’s ability to select a printed word to match a spoken word on the basis of the initial or final letter and sound was interpreted as evidence of Ehri’s phonetic-cue reading. Using the Glass Analysis method, the authors taught TM to read and he became an independent reader. We discuss how his phonological processing deficits contributed to his reading difficulties. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.