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Dyslexia. 2008 Aug;14(3):170-87. doi: 10.1002/dys.369.

Predictors of word-level literacy amongst Grade 3 children in five diverse languages.

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Ibis Creative Consultants Ltd, UK.


Groups of Grade 3 children were tested on measures of word-level literacy and undertook tasks that required the ability to associate sounds with letter sequences and that involved visual, auditory and phonological-processing skills. These groups came from different language backgrounds in which the language of instruction was Arabic, Chinese, English, Hungarian or Portuguese. Similar measures were used across the groups, with tests being adapted to be appropriate for the language of the children. Findings indicated that measures of decoding and phonological-processing skills were good predictors of word reading and spelling among Arabic- and English-speaking children, but were less able to predict variability in these same early literacy skills among Chinese- and Hungarian-speaking children, and were better at predicting variability in Portuguese word reading than spelling. Results were discussed with reference to the relative transparency of the script and issues of dyslexia assessment across languages. Overall, the findings argue for the need to take account of features of the orthography used to represent a language when developing assessment procedures for a particular language and that assessment of word-level literacy skills and a phonological perspective of dyslexia may not be universally applicable across all language contexts.

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