Reading development and reading disability: a cross-linguistic longitudinal study

The goal of the project is to develop a unified neurocognitive model of reading (word recognition) and reading disability (RD) that accounts for both language-invariance and language-specificity. To that end, we will monitor development during children's initial acquisition of the code (age 5 to 8 years) and during the attainment of fluency by intermediate level readers (age 8 to 11 years).

Date

01/200712/2011. Project ended.

Funding

National Institutes of Health, USA

Partners

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Developing proficiency in each longitudinal sample will be assessed with psychometric, adaptive learning, and neurobiological (ERP and fMRI) measures so that relationships among attained skills, cognitive processing, and cortical organization can be tracked. These measurements will build on and extend our previous research on the nature and development of reading and RD and will be informed by current and anticipated findings from Project II (about the neurobiological underpinnings of skilled reading) and Project IV (about the processing and learning of linguistic information by good and poor readers). This extensive and intensive investigation will be carried out in parallel for children learning to read English, Finnish, and Mandarin Chinese, in America, Finland, and Taiwan, respectively.

To date, few cross-linguistic studies of literacy acquisition have employed well-matched longitudinal designs and samples, and none have included integrated neurobiological and behavioral measures. As a result, it has been difficult to identify universal versus language-specific aspects of skill acquisition by typically developing children (TD) and those with RD; such knowledge is crucial to a full theoretical and practical account of reading acquisition and disability. The proposed research will enhance significantly our current understanding of universal and language-specific influences on learning to read.

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