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The relationship between attention and the development of early word reading skills in typically developing children and children at risk of reading difficulties

Chatzispyridou, E; (2017) The relationship between attention and the development of early word reading skills in typically developing children and children at risk of reading difficulties. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Several studies have reported attention to be a predictor of literacy outcomes and/or its precursors across different measures of attention (e.g., Sims & Lonigan, 2013; Wanless et al., 2011), however, the evidence is inconsistent (e.g., Steele, 2012; Shapiro et al., 2013). There is also evidence that attentional difficulties co-occur with reading and language difficulties in children (e.g.,Germano, Gagliano & Curatolo, 2010; Gooch, Hulme & Snowling, 2014) and there are suggestions that attention is causally linked to reading difficulties (e.g., Bosse et al., 2007; Facoetti et al., 2005; 2009). The present thesis sought to examine whether different sub-components of attention were unique concurrent and longitudinal predictors of variation in the emerging word reading in children, after controlling for established foundation skills for literacy. A second aim was to examine the attentional profiles of children from the sample identified as having a developmental delay in word reading and foundation literacy skills (i.e., at risk for reading difficulties) after the initial year of literacy instruction at school, through a case series. Seventy-seven children in term 2 of Reception Year completed a set of tasks measuring foundation skills in literacy, visual and auditory attention (selective attention, sustained attention and attentional control). The sample was followed longitudinally over a period of 12 months, with their lexical and sublexical word reading skills assessed in Year 1 of school, together with their attentional skills. Using stepwise regression analysis, it was found that selective attention accounted for a small but statistically significant variation in lexical word reading above and beyond well-established cognitive-linguistic predictors. Visual sustained attention, but not auditory, was a concurrent and longitudinal predictor of phonological awareness. In addition, attentional control was a concurrent predictor of phoneme awareness in Year 1. Finally, children at risk for reading difficulties exhibited a profile of multiple attentional difficulties with the most prominent being auditory sustained attention. It is suggested that subcomponents of attention may play a differential role in the early acquisition of lexical and sub-lexical word reading accuracy. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The relationship between attention and the development of early word reading skills in typically developing children and children at risk of reading difficulties
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1553301
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