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Tracking changes in the influence of broad auditory and specific phonological skills on beginning and intermediate reading performance
We aim to characterise the skills that predict reading development, and the difficulties experienced by poor readers.
The research will focus on large, heterogeneous samples representing the full range of reading achievements and underlying skills. We will build models of the skills-reading relationship to test key theories from the literature. For example speech processing skills could be dependent on neural encoding of basic sounds in the auditory pathway, thus speech and non-speech skills should significantly predict reading. In contrast, speech and non-speech skills may correlate highly, but only speech skills directly predict reading acquisition.
Previous research and our pilot work suggest a shift in reliance from broad auditory skills to more specific speech skills in beginning to intermediate readers. We will examine broad, long term trends by comparing groups of beginning vs. intermediate readers and conduct a detailed analysis of changes in individual children tested at two stages of beginning to read.
Finally the PhD project will focus on deficit groups selected from our large sample in order to investigate whether the severity of reading difficulty varies according to the age at which deficits were observed and the breadth of deficit (eg, specific speech-sound vs. more general auditory deficits).