Perception of Phonemic Length and Its Relation to Reading and Spelling Skills in Children With Family Risk for Dyslexia in the First Three Grades of School PurposeTo examine the ability to discriminate phonemic length and the association of this ability with reading accuracy, reading speed, and spelling accuracy in Finnish children throughout Grades 1–3.MethodReading-disabled (RDFR, n = 35) and typically reading children (TRFR, n = 69) with family risk for dyslexia and typically reading control children ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2010
Perception of Phonemic Length and Its Relation to Reading and Spelling Skills in Children With Family Risk for Dyslexia in the First Three Grades of School
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Riitta Pennala
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Kenneth Eklund
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Jarmo Hämäläinen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Ulla Richardson
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Maisa Martin
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Matti Leiwo
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Paavo H. T. Leppänen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Heikki Lyytinen
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Contact author: Riitta Pennala, Department of Languages and Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, Agora 40014, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. E-mail: riitta.l.a.pennala@jyu.fi.
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   June 01, 2010
Perception of Phonemic Length and Its Relation to Reading and Spelling Skills in Children With Family Risk for Dyslexia in the First Three Grades of School
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 710-724. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0133)
History: Received July 7, 2008 , Revised December 14, 2008 , Accepted September 14, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 710-724. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0133)
History: Received July 7, 2008; Revised December 14, 2008; Accepted September 14, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 18

PurposeTo examine the ability to discriminate phonemic length and the association of this ability with reading accuracy, reading speed, and spelling accuracy in Finnish children throughout Grades 1–3.

MethodReading-disabled (RDFR, n = 35) and typically reading children (TRFR, n = 69) with family risk for dyslexia and typically reading control children (TRC, n = 80) were tested once in each grade of Grades 1–3 using a phonemic length discrimination task. Reading, spelling, IQ, verbal short-term memory, phonological memory, and naming speed were assessed.

ResultsThe RDFR group made more errors in phonemic length discrimination than the TRC group in Grades 2 and 3. After taking into account variance in verbal short-term memory, phonological memory, and naming speed, discrimination ability explained unique variance of spelling accuracy in Grades 2 and 3 and reading accuracy in Grade 3 in the RDFR group. At the individual level, in Grade 2, 31.4% of the RDFR group and 14.7% of the TRFR group performed below −1.25 SDs in the phonemic length discrimination task.

ConclusionProblems in phonemic length discrimination could be one of the accumulating risk factors affecting development leading to dyslexia.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the funders of this research: the Academy of Finland (Project Numbers 44858 and 213486), the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Niilo Mäki Foundation, the Ellen and Artturi Nyyssönen Foundation, and the University of Jyväskylä. We also thank Sari Ylinen from the Cognitive Brain Research Unit, University of Helsinki, Finland, and Rauno Parrila from the University of Alberta, Canada, for their valuable comments.
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