Developmental dyslexics and unimpaired children’s reading and memory for words in a transparent orthography

Natasza Dominika Nalesnik, Bahman Baluch


Word reading and short-term memory performance of forty two developmental dyslexics (mean age 10.1 years, SD = .7) and thirty three unimpaired reading age matched (mean age of 8.5, SD = .5) and thirty six unimpaired chronological age matched children (mean age of 10.6, SD = .7) was investigated in transparent Polish orthography. Fifty of the children were instructed that they were expected to recall the list of (12 high frequency mainly concrete) words after reading them aloud (Condition A), whilst others had no such instructions (Condition B). Word reading was tested by recording the time taken to read aloud the list of words in seconds and by taking into account errors in pronunciation. Overall, word reading was significantly slower for developmental dyslexics compared to reading age (RA) and chronological age (CA) controls. However, developmental dyslexics’ recall of words was comparable to CA and significantly superior to RA both in conditions A and B of the experiment. The implications of these results in relation to the impact of spelling transparency on memory performance of impaired and unimpaired readers are discussed.


spelling transparency; Polish; developmental dyslexia; word reading; memory

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