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No To Hattatsu. 2010 Jan;42(1):15-21.

[Developmental changes in reading ability of Japanese elementary school children--analysis of 4 kana reading tasks].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP), Kodaira, Tokyo.


Five hundred and twenty-eight Japanese elementary school children aged from 6 (Grade 1) to 12 (Grade 6) were tested for their abilities to read Hiragana characters, words, and short sentences. They were typically developing children whom the classroom teachers judged to have no problems with reading and writing in Japanese. Each child was asked to read four tasks which were written in Hiragana script: single mora reading task, four syllable non-word reading task, four syllable word reading task, and short sentence reading task. The total articulation time for reading and performance in terms of accuracy were measured for each task. Developmental changes in these variables were evaluated. The articulation time was significantly longer for the first graders, and it gradually shortened as they moved through to the upper grades in all tasks. The articulation time reached a plateau in the 4th grade for the four syllable word and short sentence reading tasks, while it did so for the single mora and four syllable non-word reading tasks in the 5th grade. The articulation times for the four syllable word and short sentence reading tasks correlated strongly. There were very few clear errors for all tasks, and the number of such errors significantly changed between the school grades only for the single mora and four syllable word reading tasks. It was noted that more than half of the children read the beginning portion of the word or phrase twice or more, in order to read it accurately, and developmental changes were also seen in this pattern of reading. This study revealed that the combination of these reading tasks may function as a screening test for reading disorders such as developmental dyslexia in children below the age of ten or eleven years old.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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