Abstract: Each child must build a reading brain by developing accuracy and
speed in the multiple cognitive and linguistic processes required for reading, as well as
the ability to integrate these processes for efficient comprehension. A weakness in any
component of the brain's "reading circuit" can cause dyslexia, defined as an unexpected
difficulty learning to read. In order to prevent the ne... read moregative consequences of dyslexia, it
is important to identify reading difficulties early and accurately. Decades of behavioral
research have examined which measures predict later reading outcomes, yet even when the
most widely-used and well-designed assessment measures are combined, behavioral models are
unable to predict reading outcomes with sufficient accuracy. Findings from behavioral
studies, however, converge on three major predictors: phonological awareness (PA), letter
knowledge (LK), and rapid automatized naming (RAN). Recently, brain imaging methods
including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) have shown
substantial accuracy in predicting reading outcomes. This study used fMRI and EEG brain
imaging with 43 kindergarten children to examine the neural correlates of PA, LK, and
automaticity. Results revealed differentiated patterns of brain activation for kindergarten
children with and without risk for dyslexia as measured by PA, LK, and RAN scores. These
patterns of brain activation have the potential to help identify which children will have
dyslexia before they struggle with learning to read, and to identify which types of
intervention could most effectively be used with individual children.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Maryanne Wolf.
Committee: Martha Pott, Marianna Eddy, and Nadine Gaab.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, and Psychobiology.read less