School-aged reading skills of children with family history of dyslexia : predictors, development and outcome
In this research I focused on reading skill development in school-age children with family history of dyslexia. I was interested in the effects of children’s cognitive skills (language, phonological awareness, rapid serial naming, verbal short term memory, and letter knowledge), and gender in addition to family risk for dyslexia as predictors of children’s reading development. In addition, I examined whether shared reading with parents, time spent reading alone, or task-focused behaviour could serve as potential protective factors against reading disability. One of my aims was to find out whether there exist subgroups of children who have different developmental trajectories, and to characterize these subgroups according to their own and their parents’ cognitive profiles. Finally, I examined the literacy readiness of adolescents to meet the challenges of future societies abundant in printed material by administering them the PISA reading literacy task. All participants were drawn from the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Dyslexia (JLD) in which 200 children have been followed from birth. The development of approximately 100 children with a family risk for dyslexia was compared to the development of a similar number of control children without such risk. In line with earlier studies, it was found that family-risk children, boys in particular, showed deficient cognitive and reading skills throughout their first 15 years. Moreover, the associations between early cognitive skills and reading literacy skills were strong, suggesting high developmental predictability for this group of children. However, children with family risk for dyslexia did not form a single homogenous group. First, for approximately 55% of these children their reading skill development followed that of their peers, showing no clear signs of difficulties during primary and secondary school. Second, a substantial proportion of the family-risk children, despite having high early cognitive risk on top of family risk, were able to avoid reading disability in Grade 2. Those children were characterized by not avoiding challenges at school. Third, reading disability in Grade 2 did not inevitably lead to similar status in Grade 8, although in Grade 8 this group of children on average lagged approximately five years behind their peers in their reading skill development: 38% of the children with family risk and reading disability in Grade 2, mainly girls, had been resolved by Grade 8. Finally, especially among boys with family risk for dyslexia, early cognitive skills proved to be a good predictor of deficient reading literacy skills at the end of secondary school, a finding which opens up possibilities for intervention and early support. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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