Annals of Dyslexia

Published by Springer Verlag
Online ISSN: 1934-7243
Publications
Article
A frequency-based vocabulary of 17,602 words was compiled and analyzed in order to group words with recurring syllable and rime patterns for teaching reading. The role of the rime unit (e.g.,ite inkite andinvite) in determining vowel pronunciation was central to the analysis because of the difficulty that the ambiguity of English vowel spelling presents to children who do not learn to read words easily. Vowel pronunciation in each orthographic rime was examined, both for its consistency in all words in which the rime occurs and for regularity, defined as conformity to the most frequent pronunciation for each vowel spelling in each of six orthographic syllable types. Of the 824 different orthographic rimes, 616 occur in rime families as the building blocks of almost all the 43,041 syllables of the words. These rimes account for a striking amount of patterning in the orthography: 436 are both regular and consistent in pronunciation (except where a single exception word occurs); another 55 are consistent but not regular. Of the remaining 125, only 86 have less than a 90 percent level of consistency. The high order of congruence of orthographic and phonological rimes suggests their usefulness as units for teaching reading.
 
Article
The Geschwind hypothesis proposes a causal interaction among non-right-handedness, immune disorders, and learning disabilities, including dyslexia, via the intrauterine action of the male hormone testosterone. Some epidemiologic studies have supported at least a statistical association among the three traits; others have not. The associations between learning disorders and immune disease and between learning disorders and non-righthandedness appear to be better supported than that between immune disorders and non-right-handedness. However, none of data thus far accumulated are conclusive because it is not clear that the samples studied have been truly representative. The neuropathologic evidence, both in autopsy studies in human dyslexics and in animal models of developmental cortical abnormalities, are consistent with but not diagnostic of immunological pathology. Mechanisms are discussed by which an abnormal immune system could thus injure the developing brain, with an emphasis placed on abnormal maternal-fetal interactions, including maternal autoimmune disease and maternal-fetal incompatibility. A genetic origin is also possible in which the maternal role is less significant.
 
Article
A survey of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs indicates that the Models of Service used in remediating the problems of learning-disabled (LD) students are in need of standardized definitions. Models were ranked for their effectiveness by state or territory LD Supervisors. The results of the ranking, from "excellent" to "poor," were as follows: LD resource, Consulting Teacher, self-contained, modified self-contained, itinerant resource, noncategorical, and, ranked least effective, cross-categorical (except when used with preschool classes). Consulting Teachers apparently are used effectively in several different kinds of situations: teaching only LD students, either in the regular classroom or a separate room; providing demonstration teaching in a regular education classroom; team-teaching with a regular education teacher; providing only consultation to regular education teachers; assisting with students in the regular classroom who need help but have not been identified as LD; assisting LD students in transition back into regular education.
 
Article
For 25 years now, there has been a serious attempt to get at the fundamental cause(s) of dyslexia in our laboratory. A great deal of research has been carried out on the psychological and brain underpinnings of the linguistic dysfunctions seen in dyslexia, but attempts to get at its cause have been limited. Initially, observations were made on the brains of persons with dyslexia who had died and their brains donated for research. These observations were modeled in animal models in order to better understand the full extent of anatomical and developmental brain characteristics. More recently, models have begun to employ genetic manipulations in order to close the gap between genes, brain, and behavior. In this article based on a lecture given in memory of Dr. Norman Geschwind to the International Dyslexia Association assembly in Philadelphia in 2004, I outline the history of the research leading up to the most recent findings. These findings consist of experiments using methods that interfere with the function of DNA, using as constructs genes that have been implicated in dyslexia, which cause developmental problems of neuronal migration in rats, secondary brain changes in response to the migration problems, and abnormal processing of sounds.
 
MZ and DZ proband and cotwin group means for word recognition deficits in standard deviation units below the normal population mean. 
Estimates of the percentages for genetic, shared environment (Shared E.), and nonshared environment (Non Shared) influences on group deficits in word recognition (Word Rec), phonological decoding (Phon. Dec.), and orthographic coding (Orth. Cod.). 
Estimates of the percentages for genetic, shared environment (Shared E.), and nonshared environment (Non Shared) for individual differences in preschool print knowledge, end of kindergarten TOWRE reading, and end of first grade TOWRE reading, for the Colorado twin cohort. 
Article
This article presents an overview of some methods and results from our continuing studies of genetic and environmental influences on dyslexia, and on individual differences across the normal range that have been conducted over the past 25 years in the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center (CLDRC) and in related projects. CLDRC investigators compare the similarities of identical twin pairs who share all their genes and fraternal twins who share half their segregating genes to assess the balance of genetic, shared family environment, and nonshared environment influences on dyslexia and on individual differences across the normal range. We have learned that among the children we have studied in Colorado, group deficits in reading (dyslexia) and individual differences in reading across the normal range are primarily due to genetic influences, and these genetic influences are often shared with some of the same genetic influences on deficits and individual differences in language and ADHD. We have also learned from our molecular-genetic linkage studies that there are regions on several chromosomes likely to contain genes that influence dyslexia. Several specific genes within these regions have been tentatively identified through molecular-genetic association analyses, but much more research is needed to understand the pathways among specific genes, regions of noncoding DNA that regulate the activity of those genes, the brain, and dyslexia. I conclude with a discussion of our research on individual differences in early reading development, on the role of early learning constraints in dyslexia, and on how genetic influences are expressed through their interaction and correlation with the environment.
 
Article
Boys more often than girls are affected by all the cognitive developmental disorders of childhood. Differences in the etiology of learning disabilities as well as general sex differences in learning styles in boys versus girls may explain the male preponderance in the prevalence of learning disabilities. The effects on learning of hormonal sex differences, maturation rate differences, and differences in frequency of perinatal brain injury will be discussed.
 
Article
A relationship between brain responses at birth and later emerging language and reading skills have been shown, but questions remains whether changes in brain responses after birth continue to predict the mastery of language-related skills such as reading development. To determine whether developmental changes in the brain-based perceptual skills are systematically related to differences in word-level reading proficiency at age 8 years, brain event-related potentials (ERPs) to speech and non-speech stimuli were recorded annually at the ages of 1 through 8 years in a sample of 109 typically developing children. Two measures of word-level reading (one that requires decoding of real words and one of pseudowords) were administered at age 8 years. Growth curve analysis, using the hierarchical linear models, related reading performance (average versus low) to the longitudinal maturation in the ERP waveform peak and latencies. Maturational changes (e.g. slope, acceleration and cubic growth) in N1 amplitude from ages 1 to 4 were related to proficiency in decoding pseudoword stimuli only, with children who were less proficient in decoding pseudowords evidencing more steeply negative declines in amplitude with age, particularly at the frontal and parietal recording sites in response to both speech and non-speech stimuli. In contrast, proficient in decoding real words was related to developmental changes in N2 amplitudes from ages 4 to 8 only at the parietal recording site and only in response to non-speech stimuli. The early development of biologically-based differences in the perception and processing of auditory information contributes to later group differences in reading proficiencies at school age.
 
Article
In order to compare the pattern of gender differences for cognitive measures in opposite-sex twin pairs to that in independent samples of twins from same-sex pairs, psychometric test data were obtained from four research-identified samples of children: (1) 96 pairs of opposite-sex fraternal twins in which at least one member of each pair is reading disabled; (2) 62 pairs of opposite-sex fraternal twins with no history of reading problems; (3) 167 males and 155 females from same-sex identical and same-sex fraternal twin pairs in which at least one member of each pair is reading disabled; and (4) a comparison sample of 126 males and 132 females from same-sex twin pairs with no history of reading problems. Results of multivariate analyses indicate that gender differences for cognitive measures are similar in twin pairs with and without reading disabilities. Moreover, a highly similar pattern of gender differences occurs for opposite-sex twin pairs who shared both prenatal and early postnatal influences and for independent samples of children from different families.
 
Article
Gender differences in level and pattern of cognitive abilities were examined in 28 LD college-able females (CA 18-25) as compared to 21 LD college-able males (CA 18-25). Both groups were in the average IQ range as measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, with LD males significantly higher on the Full Scale IQ and three out of the four subtests, Picture Completion, Block Design, and Information. The LD females performed significantly better on the Digit Symbol subtest. The hierarchies of subtest performance and Bannatyne and ACID category scores were compared. LD females have strengths in visual-motor abilities and verbal conceptualization, while the LD males' highest abilities were nonverbal visual-spatial confirming earlier studies on younger LD individuals and non-LD males and females. Performance on the Digit Symbol subtest was the next to the lowest for the males, the highest for females. However, for both groups, short-term and long-term memory for digits and factual knowledge and mental arithmetic problem solving were relative weaknesses. Results indicate different patterns of cognitive abilities in LD females and males which have implications for identification, service, and prognosis for the learning disabled, especially females.
 
Article
Gender differences were assessed in three research-identified samples of children who were members of twin pairs: (1) 120 male and 124 female probands from same-sex identical and fraternal twin pairs in which at least one member of each pair is reading disabled; (2) a comparison sample of 148 males and 161 females from same-sex twin pairs with no history of reading problems; and (3) 34 pairs of opposite-sex fraternal twin pairs in which at least one member of each pair is reading disabled. Results of multivariate analyses of variance of psychometric test data from the two samples of same-sex twin pairs, in which the male and female subjects were reared in different homes, suggest that profiles of gender differences are similar in reading-disabled and control children. Moreover, this pattern of gender differences also tended to occur in opposite-sex twin pairs, who shared prenatal, as well as early postnatal, environmental influences. In general, reading-disabled males obtained higher average scores than affected females on Wechsler (1974, 1981) Verbal and Performance IQ, but lower scores on Reading Recognition and Spelling subtests of the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (Dunn and Markwardt 1970). With regard to the Wechsler subtests, reading-disabled males achieved higher average scores on Information, Picture Completion, Block Design, and Object Assembly, but lower scores on Coding. Although significant and relatively consistent gender differences in cognitive measures were found in three samples included in this study, these differences account for only a small portion of the observed variance.
 
Article
A group of 110 LD college students were compared to a random stratified sample (RSS) of 153 peers attending the same moderately selective college between 1980 and 1988. The LD students received comprehensive, highly coordinated support services for at least one semester. The groups were matched on gender, college experience, semester, and year of entry to the college. The LD and RSS groups were compared on high school preparation and performance, ACT and college performance, and graduation and academic failure rate. Although the LD students' high school records, ACT scores, and college performance were inferior to that of the RSS group, they graduated at the same rate and within the same time frame. Neither was there any significant difference in the academic failure rate. Closer examination of the LD graduates and academic failures' performance showed that in spite of the similarities in intellectual abilities, academic achievement, and aptitude-achievement discrepancy, two factors differentiated between the LD graduates and non-graduates: oral language abilities and motivation and attitude toward the teaching-learning process. These two factors accounted for 60 percent of the variance in graduation status.
 
Article
The Reading Acceleration Program is a computerized program that improves reading and the activation of the error-detection mechanism in individuals with reading difficulty (RD) and typical readers (TRs). The current study aims to find the neural correlates for this effect in English-speaking 8-12-year-old children with RD and TRs using a functional connectivity analysis. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected during a lexical decision task before and after 4 weeks of training with the program, together with reading and executive functions measures. Results indicated improvement in reading, visual attention, and speed of processing in children with RD. Following training, greater functional connectivity was observed between the left fusiform gyrus and the right anterior cingulate cortex in children with RD and between the left fusiform gyrus and the left anterior cingulate cortex in TRs. The change in functional connectivity after training was correlated with increased behavioral scores for word reading and visual attention in both groups. The results support previous findings of improved monitoring and mental lexicon after training with the Reading Acceleration Program in children with RD and TRs. The differences in laterality of the anterior cingulate cortex in children with RD and the presumable role of the cingulo-opercular control network in language processing are discussed.
 
Article
To evaluate the orthographic and phonological processing skills of developmental dyslexics, we (a) examined their abilities to exploit properties of orthographic redundancy and (b) tested whether their phonological deficit extends to spelling-to-sound connections for large-grain size units such as syllables. To assess the processing skills in dyslexics, we utilized the illusory conjunction paradigm to investigate the nature of reading units in French dyslexic and control children matched in reading age. In control children, reading units were defined by both orthographic redundancy and phonological syllable information. In dyslexics, however, reading units were defined only by orthographic redundancy. Therefore, despite their impairment in reading acquisition, developmental dyslexics have the ability to encode and exploit letter frequency co-occurrences. In contrast, their access to phonological syllables from letters was impaired, suggesting that their phonological deficit extends to large grain-size phonological units.
 
Article
This paper discusses the commonalities and differences in the processing mechanism of analytic reading in the English orthography and the Chinese orthography. Readers of English generally use the phonological processing route, although the morphological aspect should also be emphasized. Readers of Chinese would need to take advantage of the morphemic nature of the script, although speech recoding is also used. The interplay of the phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic processing is emphasized. Reading disorders may implicate certain processing routes, but may spare other components.
 
Accuracy percentage in word reading by groups and vowelization
Number of correctly read words in 45 s by groups and vowelization  
Hierarchical regression results for the prediction of reading speed
Article
The present study examined the effects of orthographic transparency on reading ability of children with dyslexia in two Hebrew scripts. The study explored the reading accuracy and speed of vowelized and unvowelized Hebrew words of fourth-grade children with dyslexia. A comparison was made to typically developing readers of two age groups: a group matched by chronological age and a group of children who are 2 years younger, presumably at the end of the reading acquisition process. An additional purpose was to investigate the role of vowelization in the reading ability of unvowelized script among readers with dyslexia in an attempt to assess whether vowelization plays a mediating role for reading speed of unvowelized scripts. The present study found no significant differences in reading accuracy and speed between vowelized and unvowelized scripts among fourth-grade readers with dyslexia. The reading speed of fourth-graders with dyslexia was similar to typically developing second-graders for both the vowelized and unvowelized words. However, fourth-grade children with dyslexia performed lower than the typically developing second-graders in the reading accuracy of vowelized script. Furthermore, for readers with dyslexia, accuracy in reading both vowelized and unvowelized words mediated the reading speed of unvowelized scripts. These results may be a sign that Hebrew-speaking children with dyslexia have severe difficulties that prevent them from developing strategies for more efficient reading.
 
Article
The outcome of a training study attempting to increase German speaking poor readers' reading fluency is reported. The aim of the training was to help children establish orthographic representations for a limited set of training words as well as for high-frequency onset clusters. A sample of 20 dysfluent readers (8-11 years) received a computerized training of repeated reading of a limited set of 32 training words over a period of up to 25 days. Each day training words were presented up to six times with a special emphasis on the onset segment. Post-tests were carried out one and five weeks after the last training day. A considerable decrease in reading times could be achieved for the trained words that remained stable for both post-tests, however, even for the limited set of training words a remarkable amount of repetitions did not lead to age adequate word recognition speed. Generalization to untrained words starting with a trained onset cluster (transfer words) was statistically reliable but small.
 
Article
Whereas most English language sub-typing schemes for dyslexia (e.g., Castles & Coltheart, 1993) have focused on reading accuracy for words varying in regularity, such an approach may have limited utility for reading disability sub-typing beyond English in which fluency rather than accuracy is the key discriminator of developmental and individual differences in reading ability. The present study investigated the viability of an accuracy/fluency-based typology in a regular orthography, pointed Hebrew. We sought evidence of true or "hard" accuracy/rate subtypes in the strict (double dissociation) sense of selective impairment on only one dimension in the presence of normal levels of performance on the other dimension. In a nationally representative sample of fourth graders, we were able to identify a specific accuracy-disabled sub-group as well as an equally specific rate-disabled subgroup. Validating this subdivision, we show that the nature of reading performance in these subgroups and their converging cognitive/linguistic profiles are unique and distinctive on variables other than the measures used to define them. While the rate-specific disability appeared to reflect a general deficit in speed of processing affecting reading rate, and rapid automatized naming of print-related material, the accuracy-only disability subgroup displayed selective deficits in phonological awareness and morphological knowledge. Biosocial, demographic, and instructional factors, furthermore, did not explain the sub-group differences. It appears that both these subtypes are equally prevalent each counting close to 10% of the population.
 
Morphological interventions 
Funnel plot of all 79 standardized mean-change difference 
(continued) 
Types of morphological instruction 
Article
This study synthesizes 79 standardized mean-change differences between control and treatment groups from 17 independent studies, investigating the effect of morphological interventions on literacy outcomes for students with literacy difficulties. Average total sample size ranged from 15 to 261 from a wide range of grade levels. Overall, morphological instruction showed a significant improvement on literacy achievement (d = 0.33). Specifically, its effect was significant on several literacy outcomes such as phonological awareness (d = 0.49), morphological awareness (d = 0.40), vocabulary (d = 0.40), reading comprehension (d = 0.24), and spelling (d = 0.20). Morphological instruction was particularly effective for children with reading, learning, or speech and language disabilities, English language learners, and struggling readers, suggesting the possibility that morphological instruction can remediate phonological processing challenges. Other moderators were also explored to explain differences in morphological intervention effects. These findings suggest students with literacy difficulties would benefit from morphological instruction.
 
Article
The errors of 72 disabled and 90 normal spellers were compared on the first through fourth levels of achievement using a featural system based on developmental spelling research. The mean age of the disabled subjects was two to three years higher on all levels (the differences were significant) but, of 24 error features on the four levels, F-tests showed that the groups differed only on Front Vowels (/a/, /e/, /i/), particularly the combination of in as in chin, with the normal group making more errors. Discriminant function analysis showed that the error features which significantly discriminated between the two groups at Level 1 were Consonant Digraphs, Affricates, and Front Vowels. On Level 2, the dominant variables contributing to the significant discriminant function were Front Vowels, consonant doubling and "e-drop" errors, and suffix errors. The normal group made more errors on all but the last. There were no significant differences on Levels 3 and 4. Discriminant analysis among the four levels for the normal group showed that the incidence of lower-level spelling features declined steadily as spelling achievement level increased. A similar trend but less significant variability was found among the disabled group levels. These results suggest that the strict phonetics-based instruction used with the disabled group contributes to their relative proficiency on the lower level spelling features but that the meaning, orthographic, and derivational conventions of more advanced spelling should be emphasized when designing instruction at achievement Level 2 and above.
 
Article
An auditory rhyme detection task was employed to examine orthographic code development in 27 reading-disabled (RD) and 27 normally-achieving (NA) children ranging in age from 7-0 to 11-5. The amount of orthographic facilitation (that is, the reduction in response latencies for orthographically similar as opposed to orthographically dissimilar rhyme pairs) was recorded for each subject. Results indicated that RD children exhibit significantly less facilitation overall than NA children and that RD children do not demonstrate comparable orthographic facilitation effects to NA children until they are about two years older than their NA peers. It is concluded that children with a reading disability have a lessened ability to access automatically and make available stored lexical information relating to orthography.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to identify important subject characteristics that predicted individual differences in responsiveness to word reading instruction in normally achieving and at-risk first grade children. This was accomplished by modeling individual word and nonword reading growth, and the correlates of change in these skills, in first grade students during two different phases of the school year. In the first phase of the study (October-January), word and nonword reading skill was modeled in normally achieving and at-risk children. Results of growth modeling indicated significant group differences in word and nonword reading growth parameters. A combination of phonemic awareness skill, advanced graphophoneme knowledge, and initial word/nonword reading skill predicted word and nonword reading growth in the control group, whereas, a combination of rapid naming speed, letter sound knowledge, and phonemic awareness skill predicted word and nonword reading growth in the at-risk group. In the second phase of the study (January-April), a subgroup of the at-risk subjects who exhibited limited growth in word reading skills during the first phase of the study was enrolled in 12 weeks of small group reading intervention designed to improve reading skills. Results of growth modeling indicated significant increases in word and nonword reading growth rates in this group during the intervention phase. Only rapid naming speed uniquely predicted word and nonword reading growth in the group of subjects receiving intervention.
 
Dual-route model of reading aloud, adapted from Besner (1999). 
Article
The Turkish script is characterised by completely transparent bidirectional mappings between orthography and phonology. To date, there has been no reported evidence of acquired dyslexia in Turkish speakers leading to the naïve view that reading and writing problems in Turkish are probably rare. We examined the extent to which phonological impairment and orthographic transparency influence reading disorders in a native Turkish speaker. BRB is a bilingual Turkish-English speaker with deep dysphasia accompanied by acquired dyslexia in both languages. The main findings are an effect of imageability on reading in Turkish coincident with surface dyslexia in English and preserved nonword reading. BRB's acquired dyslexia suggests that damage to phonological representations might have a consequence for learning to read in Turkish. We argue that BRB's acquired dyslexia has a common locus in chronic underactivation of phonological representations in Turkish and English. Despite a common locus, reading problems manifest themselves differently according to properties of the script and the type of task.
 
Article
We have investigated the reciprocal influence of reading acquisition and phonemic awareness. Using a between-grades quasi-experimental design, we have found that learning to read is the most important factor that accounts for the drastic improvement of phonemic segmentation skills during the first year of schooling. On the other hand, we found that improving phonemic skills in kindergarten facilitated reading acquisition in children at risk for developing reading disorders. We suggest that, for most children, exposure to the alphabet automatically triggers phonemic awareness, which is a necessary condition for efficient acquisition of reading. However, the emergence of phonemic awareness requires a previously developed sensitivity to phonology, which in some children may be absent. The present data suggest that, if phonological skills are absent, they may be developed in preschoolers by explicit training, thereby preventing failure in reading acquisition.
 
Article
Teacher reading-related knowledge (phonological awareness and phonics knowledge) predicts student reading, however little is known about the reading-related knowledge of parents. Participants comprised 70 dyads (children from kindergarten and grade 1 and their parents). Parents were administered a questionnaire tapping into reading-related knowledge, print exposure, storybook reading, and general cultural knowledge. Children were tested on measures of letter-word knowledge, sound awareness, receptive vocabulary, oral expression, and mathematical skill. Parent reading-related knowledge showed significant positive links with child letter-word knowledge and sound awareness, but showed no correlations with child measures of mathematical skill or vocabulary. Furthermore, parent reading-related knowledge was not associated with parents' own print exposure or cultural knowledge, indicating that knowledge about English word structure may be separate from other cognitive skills. Implications are discussed in terms of improving parent reading-related knowledge to promote child literacy.
 
Article
Dyslexia is hard to diagnose in a second language. Poor performance on a test of reading may be caused by poor language proficiency in the second language or by limited schooling rather than by poor reading ability per se. This confound was supported in a study of 88 adult second language learners and 65 native language speakers. The incidence of dyslexia in the second language learners varied widely depending on the measure of reading. In order to reduce language and schooling confounds, a dynamic test of acquisition of basic decoding ability was developed. In the dynamic test, participants are taught three novel letters and to synthesise the letter sounds into new words. Results from the study indicated that the dynamic test provided results in accordance with the current IDA definition of dyslexia, while significantly reducing the influence second language vocabulary and amount of schooling. With the dynamic measure, the same cut-off point between dyslexic and non-dyslexic performance appeared valid in both native language speakers and second language learners.
 
Article
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) insures greater accessibility of disabled persons to the workplace. This includes persons with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. The ADA requires reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, yet it is different in its mandates from many other federal laws addressing disability-related issues. This article reviews some of the critical provisions of the ADA as it applies to persons with dyslexia, outlines a procedure through which the employer and employee negotiate accommodations, and offers examples of typical workplace problems and corresponding modifications. Finally, some of the talents and strengths often associated with dyslexia are described, as is their potential value in the workplace.
 
Article
Using fMRI, we explored the relationship between phonological awareness (PA), a measure of metaphonological knowledge of the segmental structure of speech, and brain activation patterns during processing of print and speech in young readers from 6 to 10 years of age. Behavioral measures of PA were positively correlated with activation levels for print relative to speech tokens in superior temporal and occipito-temporal regions. Differences between print-elicited activation levels in superior temporal and inferior frontal sites were also correlated with PA measures with the direction of the correlation depending on stimulus type: positive for pronounceable pseudowords and negative for consonant strings. These results support and extend the many indications in the behavioral and neurocognitive literature that PA is a major component of skill in beginning readers and point to a developmental trajectory by which written language engages areas originally shaped by speech for learners on the path toward successful literacy acquisition.
 
Article
In this study of the project DyAdd, implicit learning was investigated through two paradigms in adults (18-55 years) with dyslexia (n = 36) or with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, n = 22) and in controls (n = 35). In the serial reaction time (SRT) task, there were no group differences in learning. However, those with ADHD exhibited faster RTs compared to other groups. In the artificial grammar learning (AGL) task, the groups did not differ from each other in their learning (i.e., grammaticality accuracy or similarity choices). Further, all three groups were sensitive to fragment overlap between learning and test-phase items (i.e., similarity choices were above chance). Grammaticality performance of control participants was above chance, but that of participants with dyslexia and participants with ADHD failed to differ from chance, indicating impaired grammaticality learning in these groups. While the main indices of AGL performance, grammaticality accuracy and similarity choices did not correlate with the neuropsychological variables that reflected dyslexia-related (phonological processing, reading, spelling, arithmetic) or ADHD-related characteristics (executive functions, attention), or intelligence, the explicit knowledge for the AGL grammar (i.e., ability to freely generate grammatical strings) correlated positively with the variables of phonological processing and reading. Further, SRT reaction times correlated positively with full scale intelligence quotient (FIQ). We conclude that, in AGL, learning difficulties of the underlying rule structure (as measured by grammaticality) are associated with dyslexia and ADHD. However, learning in AGL is not related to the defining neuropsychological features of dyslexia or ADHD. Instead, the resulting explicit knowledge relates to characteristics of dyslexia.
 
Article
By the upper elementary grades, writing becomes an essential tool both for learning and for showing what you know. Students who struggle significantly with writing are at a terrible disadvantage. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate that only 25% of students can be classified as competent writers; students with learning disabilities (LD) have even greater problems with writing than their normally achieving peers and frequently demonstrate a deteriorating attitude toward writing after the primary grades. In this article, we focus on composing and the writing process, and examine the knowledge base about writing development and instruction among students with LD. We address what research tells us about skilled writers and the development of writing knowledge, strategies, skill, and the will to write, and how this relates to students with LD. Next, we summarize what has been learned from research on writing development, effective instruction, and the writing abilities of students with LD in terms of effective instruction for these students. Finally, we indicate critical areas for future research.
 
Article
This paper reports the results of a study comparing college freshmen with learning disabilities (LD) and freshmen with no learning disabilities (NLD). Four data collections over one academic year were completed on a total of 72 students (LDn=39; NLDn=33). Results of the study indicated differences between groups in their initial choice of living accommodations and in the changes made over the year: the overall trend was for students with LD to become more dependent on their families, while students with NLD were becoming less dependent on their families. With regard to academics, students with LD reported spending significantly less time in study and course preparation, as well as greater pessimism about success in coursework. Despite their pessimism, the actual GPA attainment of students with LD was similar to that of NLD peers. Whereas both groups initially predicted it would be easy to adjust to the academic and social nature of college, students with learning disabilities ultimately reported being dissatisfied with the social climate on campus. No differences were found between LD and NLD students regarding their motivation for attending college, or their plans for final degree attainment.
 
Article
The relationship between learning disabilities and psychological development is a complex, ongoing intrapsychic and psychosocial process. The results of two clinical-psychological investigations about a group of learning-disabled children and a group of learning-disabled adolescents is summarized. Although the learning-disabled youngsters were psychologically more heterogeneous than homogeneous, several common configurations emerged that characterized these children and adolescents: (1) problems in work and learning (due to the learning disability itself and to psychogenic factors related directly and/or indirectly to the disability); (2) chronic, low-level depression and relatively high, free floating anxiety; (3) characteristic unconscious concerns about self and others. In addition, learning disabilities organize psychological development in determining strengths, weaknesses, interests, and defensive strategies. And, the intermittent nature of mild to moderately severe learning disabilities seems to contribute to a sense of being traumatized and to character riqidity. The educational and clinical implications are briefly discussed.
 
Article
The adolescent dyslexic student’s problems with spelling are very different from those of a young dyslexic child, as he already has considerable knowledge of the English spelling system. But this knowledge is very often random and confused, so he needs to acquire a logical structure which will enable him to generate spelling for himself and to communicate effectively in writing. It will be suggested that accuracy is not always attainable, but the student can be taught to recognize and use the main components of the spelling system and can learn to employ all available resources. The general aim is to provide the dyslexic adolescent with the tools he needs to cope with his spelling requirements, both in school and outside; to make informed deductions; to think for himself. In short, to spell independently and logically.
 
Article
Residual signs characteristic of a specific language disability, such as vocabulary deficits, trouble differentiating between literal and figurative words, difficulty paraphrasing a reading selection, and problems with abstract reasoning make it arduous for dyslexic adolescents to demonstrate their maximum potential on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test. This paper illustrates ways in which SAT skills can be enhanced through a structured program of vocabulary development, an understanding of test taking strategies for specific SAT questions, and the learning of a pattern of analysis to improve reading comprehension. It includes case studies, as well as a discussion of the types of special test arrangements available for dyslexic students.
 
Article
This research explored phonological and morphological awareness among Hebrew-speaking adolescents with reading disabilities (RD) and its effect on reading comprehension beyond phonological and word-reading abilities. Participants included 39 seventh graders with RD and two matched control groups of normal readers: 40 seventh graders matched for chronological age (CA) and 38 third graders matched for reading age (RA). We assessed phonological awareness, word reading, morphological awareness, and reading comprehension. Findings indicated that the RD group performed similarly to the RA group on phonological awareness but lower on phonological decoding. On the decontextualized morphological task, RD functioned on par with RA, whereas in a contextualized task RD performed above RA but lower than CA. In reading comprehension, RD performed as well as RA. Finally, results indicated that for normal readers contextual morphological awareness uniquely contributed to reading comprehension beyond phonological and word-reading abilities, whereas no such unique contribution emerged for the RD group. The absence of an effect of morphological awareness in predicting reading comprehension was suggested to be related to a different recognition process employed by RD readers which hinder the ability of these readers to use morphosemantic structures. The lexical quality hypothesis was proposed as further support to the findings, suggesting that a low quality of lexical representation in RD students leads to ineffective reading skills and comprehension. Lexical representation is thus critical for both lexical as well as comprehension abilities.
 
Article
Two groups of adolescents with a childhood history of language impairment were compared with a group of developmentally dyslexic young people of the same age and nonverbal ability. The study also included two comparison groups of typically developing children, one of the same age as those in the clinical groups, and a younger comparison group of similar reading level to the dyslexic students. Tests of spoken and written language skills revealed that the adolescents with dyslexia were indistinguishable from those with resolved language impairments on spoken language tasks, and both groups performed at age-expected levels. However, both dyslexic readers and those with resolved specific language impairments showed deficits in phonological awareness. On written language tasks, a different pattern of performance was apparent. In reading and spelling, adolescents with dyslexia performed only as well as those with persistent oral language impairments and younger controls. However, their reading comprehension was better. The theoretical and educational implications of these findings are discussed.
 
Task layout for both the semantic and phonological task blocks  
Mean in-scanner percent accuracy and reaction time with standard deviations in parentheses, by task and group
Areas that showed task or stimulus condition by group interaction in the whole brain analysis 
Areas that showed greater activity for RD relative to NI in the whole brain analysis 
Region of interest location and mean activation values for the four regions of interest; LH STG, LHIFG; LOT and LAG are shown (error bars represent standard error around the mean)  
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Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated multimodal (visual and auditory) semantic and unimodal (visual only) phonological processing in reading disabled (RD) adolescents and non-impaired (NI) control participants. We found reduced activation for RD relative to NI in a number of left-hemisphere reading-related areas across all processing tasks regardless of task type (semantic vs. phonological) or modality (auditory vs. visual modality). Moreover, activation differences in these regions, which included the inferior frontal gyrus, the superior temporal gyrus, and the occipitotemporal region, were largely independent of in-scanner performance in our auditory semantic task. That is, although RD participants and NI participants differed in performance in visually presented conditions, they did not differ significantly in the auditory condition, yet similar patterns of reduced activation were observed in these regions across conditions. These findings indicate a neurobiological marker in RD that is independent of task, modality, or performance. These findings are discussed in the context of current neurobiological models of RD.
 
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The interaction between dyslexia and its secondary emotional problems, especially those arising from unproductive defenses, is illustrated in the history and successful treatment of an adult dyslexic male. At the start of treatment, the 33-year-old subject was illiterate, despite an average IQ and a history of many previous educational and therapeutic interventions. Psychological problems, including low self-esteem, alcohol abuse, temper outbursts, and poor relationships with women were seen as largely secondary to the subject's learning problem. A review of the treatment, consisting of remediation concurrent with psychodynamic psychotherapy, reveals specific ways in which these emotional problems hindered educational efforts, as well as ways in which their exploration and resolution in psychotherapy helped the remediation. Similarly, ways in which the subject's learning problem contributed to the development of his emotional problems are discussed. Finally, with reference to the psychoanalytic concept of sublimation, the relationship between improvement in the subject's reading skill and improvement in his impulse control is described.
 
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There are not enough reading tests standardized on adults who have very low literacy skills, and therefore tests standardized on children are frequently administered. This study addressed the complexities and problems of using a test normed on children to measure the reading comprehension skills of 193 adults who read at approximately third through fifth grade reading grade equivalency levels. Findings are reported from an analysis of the administration of Form A of the Gray Oral Reading Tests-Fourth Edition (Wiederholt & Bryant, 2001a, b). Results indicated that educators and researchers should be very cautious when interpreting test results of adults who have difficulty reading when children's norm-referenced tests are administered.
 
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We investigated the relationship between reading and explicit and implicit categorical learning by comparing university students with poor reading to students with normal reading abilities on two categorical learning tasks. One categorical learning task involved sorting simple geometric shapes into two groups according to a unidimensional rule. The sorting rule was easily stated by the participants, consistent with explicit learning, and all participants attained criterion levels of performance. The second task involved the integration of features on different dimensions with a more complex rule that could not be described by participants, even though most could attain criterion levels of performance consistent with implicit learning. Poor readers performed as well as those without reading problems in explicit learning but not in implicit learning. Implicit learning was correlated with word reading, phonological decoding, and orthographic skill, independent of verbal ability. We consider the role of implicit learning in reading, and how a deficit could impair phonological and orthographic representation and processing.
 
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The purpose of this paper is to describe briefly the development and utility of the Assessment of Reading Instructional Knowledge-Adults (ARIK-A), the only nationally normed (n = 468) measure of adult reading instructional knowledge, created to facilitate professional development of adult educators. Developmental data reveal reliabilities ranging from 0.73 to 0.85 for five ARIK-A scales (alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and assessment) and 0.91 for the composite score; factor analytic data and expert review provide support for construct validity as well. Information on how to use the ARIK-A to determine mastery and relative standing is presented. With two alternate forms, the ARIK-A is a promising and needed tool for adult education practitioners within continuing education and professional development contexts.
 
Article
We studied the use of computer readers, and especially their speech synthesis component, as a compensatory tool for adults with dyslexia. We first explored the enhancement of reading skills in a group of college students and working adults. Their unaided reading was very slow, and most participants in the study could sustain reading for only short periods. Although their timed comprehension was poor, their untimed comprehension was above average. The computer reader enhanced the reading rate and comprehension of most participants and enabled them to sustain reading longer. The difference between aided and unaided reading rate was inversely proportional to the unaided rate. Slower readers experienced greater enhancement than faster ones. The enhancement of comprehension was also inversely proportional to unaided scores, and good predictions of the enhancement were obtained from multiple regression models that included scores from specific standard tests of auditory and visual cognitive abilities. We also explored the use of computer readers in the workplace and show through case studies that their use can have important positive effects on individual careers and self-confidence when specific conditions exist. Finally, we investigated the use of computer readers to supplement an adult remediation program. The readers allowed and motivated the students to read more and, as a result, to progress more rapidly.
 
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The major purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the Project Success Summer Program (PSSP) for adult dyslexics. Using a pretest-posttest one-group design, the experimenter examined the effects of PSSP's intensive eight-week program on the reading and spelling test scores of subjects (n=63). Data analysis indicated subjects' reading and spelling scores improved significantly in five areas: reading of real words, passage reading rate, reading comprehension, spelling, and phoneme deletion. A second purpose of the study was to determine the best predictors of reading comprehension from among the study's eight pretest reading and spelling measures. Regression analysis revealed that passage reading rates and individual word reading rates were the best predictors of reading comprehension scores. Interpretation of the results of this study suggest that training in phonological skills can improve poor readers' basic decoding skills resulting in improved reading rate, comprehension and spelling.
 
Article
Generally, a person who is diagnosed as dyslexic remains diagnosably dyslexic all his/her life. However, occasionally, an individual compensates for his/her difficulties in some way, and by adulthood is no longer diagnosably dyslexic. In what ways are these compensated dyslexics different from both dyslexics and nondyslexics? We compared IQ, achievement test, and spelling error scores in adult dyslexics, adult nondyslexics, and adult compensated dyslexics (N=25) in the two studies reported here. The second study differed from the first in that the subjects were matched for age, education, IQ, and SES. In both studies, compensateds were significantly different from nondyslexics on the WRAT Spelling subtest and Reading Quotient scores. In the second study the compensateds differed from the nondyslexics in total raw score and average reading speed on Gray Oral Reading Test. On the other hand, they were different from dyslexics on all reading and spelling variables in both studies, except for PIAT Reading Comprehension in Study 2. Finally, in Study 2, the compensateds were different from both dyslexics and nondyslexics in average reading speed. In conclusion, it appears that compensation does not result from differences in IQ, education, or SES, though it may be influenced to some extent by sex. Compensateds appear very similar to nondyslexics in their reading and spelling skills; however, there appears to be a difference in the automaticity with which they apply these skills.
 
Article
The double-deficit hypothesis of dyslexia posits that reading deficits are more severe in individuals with weaknesses in phonological awareness and rapid naming than in individuals with deficits in only one of these reading composite skills. In this study, the hypothesis was tested in an adult sample as a model of reading achievement. Participants were parents of children referred for evaluation of reading difficulties. Approximately half of all participants reported difficulty learning to read in childhood and a small subset demonstrated ongoing weaknesses in reading. Structural equation modeling results suggest that the double-deficit hypothesis is an accurate model for understanding adult reading achievement. Better reading achievement was associated with better phonological awareness and faster rapid automatized naming in adults. Posthoc analyses indicated that individuals with double deficits had significantly lower reading achievement than individuals with single deficits or no deficits.
 
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The results of four follow-up studies of learning-disabled children are reviewed. A comparison of results among the studies and of analyses of individual variation within the studies suggest some factors associated with long-term outcomes. It is argued that in many cases learning disabilities are not a lifelong handicapping condition, especially if adequate treatment is provided during childhood.
 
Article
Difficulties in reading and language skills which persist from childhood into adult life are the concerns of this article. The aims were twofold: (1) to find measures of adult reading processes that validate adults' retrospective reports of difficulties in learning to read during the school years, and (2) to search for indications of basic deficits in phonological processing that may point toward underlying causes of reading difficulties. Adults who reported a history of difficulties in learning to read (n=102) were distinctly disabled in phonological coding in reading, compared to adults without similar histories (n=56). They were less disabled in the comprehension of written passages, and the comprehension disability was explained by the phonological difficulties. A number of indications were found that adults with poor phonological coding skills in reading (i.e., dyslexia) have basic deficits in phonological representations of spoken words, even when semantic word knowledge, phonemic awareness, educational level, and daily reading habits are taken into account. It is suggested that dyslexics possess less distinct phonological representations of spoken words.
 
Descriptive statistics for developmental dyslexia group 
Means and standard deviations of performance on working memory, vocabulary and reading measures for control and dyslexia groups 
Examples of relative clause sentences by position and type 
Means and standard deviations for active and passive sentences for control and dyslexia groups 
Means and standard deviations for four types of relative clause sentences for control and dyslexia groups 
Article
This study investigated the effects of syntactic complexity on written sentence comprehension in compensated adults with dyslexia. Because working memory (WM) plays a key role in processing complex sentences, and individuals with dyslexia often demonstrate persistent deficits in WM, we hypothesized that individuals with dyslexia would perform more poorly on tasks designed to assess the comprehension of syntactic structures that are especially taxing on WM (e.g., passives, sentences with relative clauses). Compared to their nondyslexic peers, individuals with dyslexia were significantly less accurate and marginally slower on passive sentences. For sentences containing relative clauses, the dyslexic group was also less accurate but did not differ in response times. Covarying WM and word reading in both analyses eliminated group differences showing that syntactic deficits in adults with dyslexia are constrained by both WM and word-reading ability. These findings support previous research showing that syntactic processing deficits are characteristic of dyslexia, even among high-achieving students.
 
Top-cited authors
Richard Sparks
  • College of Mount St. Joseph
Carsten Elbro
  • University of Copenhagen
Leonore Ganschow
  • Miami University
Michèle M M Mazzocco
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
R Malt MALATESHA Joshi
  • Texas A&M University