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Phonology and learning to read in normal and hemiplegic children

Muter, Valerie; (1994) Phonology and learning to read in normal and hemiplegic children. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

A cognitive-developmental perspective was adopted, within a longitudinal framework, in order to address issues pertaining to the development of reading and related cognitive processes in normal and hemiplegic children. Thirty eight normal children were studied longitudinally between the ages of four and six years. It was established that phonological awareness comprises two separate and relatively independent subskills, those of rhyming and segmentation; these exerted differential influences over early reading and spelling development. Segmentation, interacting with the children's knowledge of letter names, had a profound bearing on progress during the first year of learning to read and spell. In the following year, the reading results were consistent with the children having consolidated a sight vocabulary. However, spelling remained phonologically bound, with both rhyming and segmentation exerting a significant effect. Thirty six children from the normal sample participated in a small experimental (training) study looking at children's early use of analogy in reading. The children at age six were able to make analogical inferences, enhanced in the presence of a clue word, provided they had some rudimentary reading skills. Thirty eight young children having congenital unilateral brain lesions were studied longitudinally and their performance on a range of cognitive measures compared to that of 20 (medical) controls. The absence of laterality effects on Verbal IQ supported the hypothesis of the equipotentiality of the two hemispheres for the development of at least gross language skills. However, Performance IQ was selectively impaired, irrespective of the side of lesion. It is suggested that verbal skills are prioritised in the remaining intact neural space, but at the expense of visuospatial functions. Over and above these trends, the presence of seizures produced generalised impairment of cognitive functioning, and, in the case of left hemisphere insults, additional selective language deficits. The hemiplegic children's phonological and reading patterns were analysed in terms of the model developed with the normal sample. The strong phonology-reading connection evident in the normal children was also demonstrated in the seizure-free children with right hemisphere lesions, but appeared to be reduced in the children with left hemisphere lesions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Phonology and learning to read in normal and hemiplegic children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099690
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