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Concept: Reading


E-readers are fast rivaling print as a dominant method for reading. Because they offer accessibility options that are impossible in print, they are potentially beneficial for those with impairments, such as dyslexia. Yet, little is known about how the use of these devices influences reading in those who struggle. Here, we observe reading comprehension and speed in 103 high school students with dyslexia. Reading on paper was compared with reading on a small handheld e-reader device, formatted to display few words per line. We found that use of the device significantly improved speed and comprehension, when compared with traditional presentations on paper for specific subsets of these individuals: Those who struggled most with phoneme decoding or efficient sight word reading read more rapidly using the device, and those with limited VA Spans gained in comprehension. Prior eye tracking studies demonstrated that short lines facilitate reading in dyslexia, suggesting that it is the use of short lines (and not the device per se) that leads to the observed benefits. We propose that these findings may be understood as a consequence of visual attention deficits, in some with dyslexia, that make it difficult to allocate attention to uncrowded text near fixation, as the gaze advances during reading. Short lines ameliorate this by guiding attention to the uncrowded span.

Concepts: Eye tracking, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Knowledge, Reading comprehension, Orthography, Reading, Comprehension


Dyscalculia, dyslexia, and specific language impairment (SLI) are relatively specific developmental learning disabilities in math, reading, and oral language, respectively, that occur in the context of average intellectual capacity and adequate environmental opportunities. Past research has been dominated by studies focused on single impairments despite the widespread recognition that overlapping and comorbid deficits are common. The present study took an epidemiological approach to study the learning profiles of a large school age sample in language, reading, and math. Both general learning profiles reflecting good or poor performance across measures and specific learning profiles involving either weak language, weak reading, weak math, or weak math and reading were observed. These latter four profiles characterized 70% of children with some evidence of a learning disability. Low scores in phonological short-term memory characterized clusters with a language-based weakness whereas low or variable phonological awareness was associated with the reading (but not language-based) weaknesses. The low math only group did not show these phonological deficits. These findings may suggest different etiologies for language-based deficits in language, reading, and math, reading-related impairments in reading and math, and isolated math disabilities.

Concepts: Educational psychology, Developmental psychology, Disability, Specific language impairment, Dyslexia, Reading, Learning disability, Special education


Selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning can impact the circuitry subsequently recruited during reading. Here we trained literate adults to read two novel scripts of glyph words containing embedded letters under different instructions. For one script, learners linked each embedded letter to its corresponding sound within the word (grapheme-phoneme focus); for the other, decoding was prevented so entire words had to be memorized. Post-training, ERPs were recorded during a reading task on the trained words within each condition and on untrained but decodable (transfer) words. Within this condition, reaction-time patterns suggested both trained and transfer words were accessed via sublexical units, yet a left-lateralized, late ERP response showed an enhanced left lateralization for transfer words relative to trained words, potentially reflecting effortful decoding. Collectively, these findings show that selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning drives the lateralization of circuitry that supports later word recognition. This study thus provides a model example of how different instructional approaches to the same material may impact changes in brain circuitry.

Concepts: Psychology, Attention, Educational psychology, Word, Focusing, Orthography, Reading


Learning to read is a fundamental developmental milestone, and achieving reading competency has lifelong consequences. Although literacy development proceeds smoothly for many children, a subset struggle with this learning process, creating a need to identify reliable biomarkers of a child’s future literacy that could facilitate early diagnosis and access to crucial early interventions. Neural markers of reading skills have been identified in school-aged children and adults; many pertain to the precision of information processing in noise, but it is unknown whether these markers are present in pre-reading children. Here, in a series of experiments in 112 children (ages 3-14 y), we show brain-behavior relationships between the integrity of the neural coding of speech in noise and phonology. We harness these findings into a predictive model of preliteracy, revealing that a 30-min neurophysiological assessment predicts performance on multiple pre-reading tests and, one year later, predicts preschoolers' performance across multiple domains of emergent literacy. This same neural coding model predicts literacy and diagnosis of a learning disability in school-aged children. These findings offer new insight into the biological constraints on preliteracy during early childhood, suggesting that neural processing of consonants in noise is fundamental for language and reading development. Pragmatically, these findings open doors to early identification of children at risk for language learning problems; this early identification may in turn facilitate access to early interventions that could prevent a life spent struggling to read.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Skill, Child, Childhood, Developmental psychology, Reading, Early childhood education


To determine impacts on social-emotional development at school entry of a pediatric primary care intervention (Video Interaction Project [VIP]) promoting positive parenting through reading aloud and play, delivered in 2 phases: infant through toddler (VIP birth to 3 years [VIP 0-3]) and preschool-age (VIP 3 to 5 years [VIP 3-5]).

Concepts: Infant, Childhood, Pediatrics, Parenting, Child development, Reading, Toddler


The production effect is the memory advantage of saying words aloud over simply reading them silently. It has been hypothesised that this advantage stems from production featuring distinctive information that stands out at study relative to reading silently. MacLeod (2011) (I said, you said: The production effect gets personal. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 1197-1202. doi: 10.3758/s13423-011-0168-8 ) found superior memory for reading aloud oneself vs. hearing another person read aloud, which suggests that motor information (speaking), self-referential information (i.e., “I said it”), or both contribute to the production effect. In the present experiment, we dissociated the influence on memory of these two components by including a study condition in which participants heard themselves read words aloud (recorded earlier) - a first for production effect research - along with the more typical study conditions of reading aloud, hearing someone else speak, and reading silently. There was a gradient of memory across these four conditions, with hearing oneself lying between speaking and hearing someone else speak. These results imply that oral production is beneficial because it entails two distinctive components: a motor (speech) act and a unique, self-referential auditory input.

Concepts: Orthography, Dyslexia, Reading


The prospect of speed reading-reading at an increased speed without any loss of comprehension-has undeniable appeal. Speed reading has been an intriguing concept for decades, at least since Evelyn Wood introduced her Reading Dynamics training program in 1959. It has recently increased in popularity, with speed-reading apps and technologies being introduced for smartphones and digital devices. The current article reviews what the scientific community knows about the reading process-a great deal-and discusses the implications of the research findings for potential students of speed-reading training programs or purchasers of speed-reading apps. The research shows that there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy. It is unlikely that readers will be able to double or triple their reading speeds (e.g., from around 250 to 500-750 words per minute) while still being able to understand the text as well as if they read at normal speed. If a thorough understanding of the text is not the reader’s goal, then speed reading or skimming the text will allow the reader to get through it faster with moderate comprehension. The way to maintain high comprehension and get through text faster is to practice reading and to become a more skilled language user (e.g., through increased vocabulary). This is because language skill is at the heart of reading speed.

Concepts: Understanding, The Reader, Reading, Speed reading, Words per minute, Evelyn Wood


Based on a review of the literature, the diagnostic criteria used for children with nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD) were identified as follows: (a) low visuospatial intelligence; (b) discrepancy between verbal and visuospatial intelligence; © visuoconstructive and fine-motor coordination skills; (d) visuospatial memory tasks; (e) reading better than mathematical achievement; and (f) socioemotional skills. An analysis of the effect size was used to investigate the strength of criteria for diagnosing NLD considering 35 empirical studies published from January 1980 to February 2011. Overall, our results showed that the most important criteria for distinguishing children with NLD from controls were as follows: a low visuospatial intelligence with a relatively good verbal intelligence, visuoconstructive and fine-motor coordination impairments, good reading decoding together with low math performance. Deficits in visuospatial memory and social skills were also present. A preliminary set of criteria for diagnosing NLD was developed on these grounds. It was concluded, however, that-although some consensus is emerging-further research is needed to definitively establish shared diagnostic criteria for children with NLD.

Concepts: Diagnosis, Educational psychology, Learning, Disability, Reading, Learning disabilities, Nonverbal learning disorder


Learning to read is extremely difficult for about 10% of children; they are affected by a neurodevelopmental disorder called dyslexia [1, 2]. The neurocognitive causes of dyslexia are still hotly debated [3-12]. Dyslexia remediation is far from being fully achieved [13], and the current treatments demand high levels of resources [1]. Here, we demonstrate that only 12 hr of playing action video games-not involving any direct phonological or orthographic training-drastically improve the reading abilities of children with dyslexia. We tested reading, phonological, and attentional skills in two matched groups of children with dyslexia before and after they played action or nonaction video games for nine sessions of 80 min per day. We found that only playing action video games improved children’s reading speed, without any cost in accuracy, more so than 1 year of spontaneous reading development and more than or equal to highly demanding traditional reading treatments. Attentional skills also improved during action video game training. It has been demonstrated that action video games efficiently improve attention abilities [14, 15]; our results showed that this attention improvement can directly translate into better reading abilities, providing a new, fast, fun remediation of dyslexia that has theoretical relevance in unveiling the causal role of attention in reading acquisition.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Educational psychology, Orthography, Dyslexia, Reading, Learning disability, Video game genres


Academic difficulties are commonly noted in relation to ADHD. Amongst these difficulties, reading comprehension is one of the more common weaknesses observed. Within this population, weaknesses in reading comprehension may be observed even while letter and word identification present as average. Understanding the basis of this discrepancy in such cases is important when it comes to designing effective interventions. The current study sought to investigate the role working memory and processing speed played in the reading comprehension performance of children and adolescents with ADHD.

Concepts: Understanding, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, The Current, Dopamine, Reading comprehension, Orthography, Reading, Comprehension