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Article Date: 09 Dec 2010 – 3:00 PST

 
Learning to read and write are complex processes, which can be disrupted in various ways, leading to disorders known as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Two new studies, published in a recent special issue of Elsevier’s Cortex (see link below) provide evidence of this variety, suggesting that effective treatment needs to take it into account.
 

A group of researchers from the Universities of Bari and Rome in Italy studied the reading and writing abilities of 33 Italian dyslexic children, comparing their performance with that of children with normal reading ability. Italian is an “orthographically transparent” language, meaning that letters tend to correspond to the same sounds, whereas many letters in the English alphabet change their sound from word to word (like the “c” in car and city). However, the new study showed that even in Italian, in which it is relatively straightforward to convert sounds into letters, children still have difficulties in spelling. Y

 

Younger children with dyslexia generally performed worse than proficient readers; however, the older ones showed a more selective impairment when spelling words, suggesting that knowledge of vocabulary may be more important in spelling than previously thought.

 


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