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Third-party-funded project

"Dyslexia" versus "garden-variety poor reading": A comparison of phonological and visual processing skills and of the remedial potentials

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

The discrepancy-definition of dyslexia (discrepancy between reading/spelling and intelligence as diagnostic criteria for dyslexia) has been criticized in Germany mainly for methodological problems (Schlee, 1976). In the last decade, the usefulness of the construct itself has been questioned (e.g. Stanovich, 1991). Our project addresses to the following questions: 1) Is there a specific deficit in phonological processing skills for dyslexics and a more general cognitive deficit for the so-called „garden-variety poor readers“? 2) Are there different remedial potentials for the two groups? Our results indicated that there are more similarities than differences between the two groups of reading/spelling disabled children with different IQ-test-scores. No dyslexia-specific deficits were found among the phonological processing tasks and not in the type of spelling errors. The garden-variety poor readers showed similar problems in phonological awareness, phonological working memory and rapid naming (confrontation naming). In the intervention study, the trained children improved their spelling significantly more than the control children, but the dyslexics and garden-variety poor readers did not differ regarding their success. These results converge with the literature (Toth & Siegel, 1994) showing that the discrepancy between IQ and reading does not define a homogenous subgroup of reading disabled children and does not help to find the adaquate intervention.

Key words:
    garden-variety poor reading

Projekt period: from 05.1998 to 04.2000

Funding institution:
DFG ,Granting date: 06.04.1998