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Cognitive mechanisms underlying reading and spelling development in five European orthographies


Abstract

This paper addresses the question whether the cognitive underpinnings of reading and spelling are universal or language/orthography-specific. We analyzed concurrent predictions of phonological processing (awareness and memory) and rapid automatized naming (RAN) for literacy development in a large European sample of 1062 typically developing elementary school children beyond Grade 2 acquiring five different alphabetic orthographies with varying degrees of graphemeephoneme consistency (English, French, German, Hungarian, Finnish). Findings indicate that (1) phonological processing and RAN both account for significant amounts of unique variance in literacy attainment in all five orthographies. Associations of predictors with reading speed, reading accuracy, and spelling are differential: in general, RAN is the best predictor of reading speed while phonological processing accounts for higher amounts of unique variance in reading accuracy and spelling; (2) the predictive patterns are largely comparable across orthographies, but they tend to be stronger in English than in all other orthographies.

Abstract

This paper addresses the question whether the cognitive underpinnings of reading and spelling are universal or language/orthography-specific. We analyzed concurrent predictions of phonological processing (awareness and memory) and rapid automatized naming (RAN) for literacy development in a large European sample of 1062 typically developing elementary school children beyond Grade 2 acquiring five different alphabetic orthographies with varying degrees of graphemeephoneme consistency (English, French, German, Hungarian, Finnish). Findings indicate that (1) phonological processing and RAN both account for significant amounts of unique variance in literacy attainment in all five orthographies. Associations of predictors with reading speed, reading accuracy, and spelling are differential: in general, RAN is the best predictor of reading speed while phonological processing accounts for higher amounts of unique variance in reading accuracy and spelling; (2) the predictive patterns are largely comparable across orthographies, but they tend to be stronger in English than in all other orthographies.

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39 citations in Web of Science®
41 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:05 Feb 2014 13:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:21
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0959-4752
Funders:European Commission FP6, SNSF grant 32-108130, Stiftung für wissenschaftliche Forschung an der Universität Zürich, Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Ville de Paris, Austrian Science Fund (project no. 18351-B02), Finnish Center of Excellence Program 213486, Niilo Mäki Foundation
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2013.09.003

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