Previous research has demonstrated that young children produce mirror-image letter-reversals when printing their names in a leftward direction from the midline or right margin of their writing paper. This ability is postulated to be an epiphenomenon of a symmetric, proximal (arm) stage of motor development that ontogenetically precedes lateralization of fine-motor distal (finger) control-a stage in which each arm can be controlled by either side of the brain. From this view, canonical writing in right hemi-space is contralaterally mediated by the left hemisphere and mirror-writing in left hemi-space is ipsilaterally mediated by the right hemisphere. However, evidence of right hemisphere canonical letter processing in dyslexia suggests that this is not always the case. Concordantly, an early study corrected reversals by having children print these errors canonically in left hemi-space and then rightward across the midline into right hemi-space. To further understand this behaviour, the present study investigated mirror-writing in three schools (Public, Montessori, and Waldorf) each differing in how writing is introduced. It was hypothesised that there would be no school-differences in mirror-writing if printing had been learned before school-entry and that some children would produce reversals in right hemi-space that were canonically written in left-hemi-space (inverse reversals)-the opposite of the normal pattern. The results showed that 39% of the children demonstrated these inverse reversals. It is discussed how this unexpectedly high incidence may be foundational in the development of the phonologically proficient and deficient subtypes of dyslexia, spelling-dysgraphia, and the left-hand inverted writing posture.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, visual-orthographic skills were defined as the ability to recognize whether letters and numerals are correctly oriented. Aims were to investigate whether visual-orthographic skills would contribute independent variance to reading, and whether children with a visual-orthographic deficit would be more impaired readers than similar children without this deficit. Participants were 207 children, aged 8 to 10 years, who attended school in a small suburban community. Because of the evidence that phonological awareness and naming speed are strongly related to reading, visual-orthographic skills were entered into hierarchical regression analyses following these variables. With age, verbal IQ, and verbal short-term memory also controlled, visual-orthographic skills accounted for significant independent variance in all reading measures. When children with a visual- orthographic deficit (29% of the sample) were compared with those without this deficit, they were significantly lower on all reading variables. At 8 to 10 years of age, reading progress of some children continues to be hampered by a problem in orthographic memory for the orientation of letters and numerals. Such children will require special attention, but their problems may be overlooked. As recommended by Willows and Terepocki (1993), there is need for further research on the phenomenon of letter reversals when they occur among children beyond first grade.
Annals of Dyslexia 07/2005; 55(1):28-52. DOI:10.1007/s11881-005-0003-x · 1.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A strong link between phonological awareness (PA) and literacy exists, but the origins of this link are difficult to investigate, since PA skills are hard to test in young, pre-literate children, and many studies neither include such children nor report children's initial literacy levels.
To examine PA and literacy in children who are attending or not attending school in rural East Africa.
One hundred and eight children ages 7-10 years, with no education, or in grade 1 or 2, randomly selected from a community survey of all children in this age group.
PA skill, reading, cognitive abilities, and socio-economic status were examined.
Implicit and explicit PA skill with small or large units is related to letter reading ability, and this effect is independent of age, schooling, and cognitive ability. Some PA tasks are performed above chance levels by children who cannot recognize single letters.
Basic PA develops prior to the attainment of literacy, and learning to read improves PA both quantitatively and qualitatively.
British Journal of Educational Psychology 04/2009; 80(Pt 1):55-76. DOI:10.1348/000709909X424411 · 2.00 Impact Factor
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