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Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jun;25(6):1441-53. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht330. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

The neural correlates of reading fluency deficits in children.

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Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience, Division of Developmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
UCLA, Semel Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA and.
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Multiple studies have shown that individuals with a reading disability (RD) demonstrate deficits in posterior left-hemispheric brain regions during reading-related tasks. These studies mainly focused on reading sub-skills, and it remains debated whether such dysfunction is apparent during more ecologically valid reading skills, such as reading fluency. In this fMRI study, reading fluency was systematically varied to characterize neural correlates of reading fluency in 30 children with (RD) and without (typical developing children, TYP) a RD. Sentences were presented at constrained, comfortable, and accelerated speeds, which were determined based on individual reading speed. Behaviorally, RD children displayed decreased performance in several reading-related tasks. Using fMRI, we demonstrated that both TYP and RD children display increased activation in several components of the reading network during fluent reading. When required to read at an accelerated speed, RD children exhibited less activation in the fusiform gyrus (FG) compared with the TYP children. A region of interest analysis substantiated differences in the FG and demonstrated a relationship to behavioral reading performance. These results suggest that the FG plays a key role in fluent reading and that it can be modulated by speed. These results and their implications for remediation strategies should be considered in educational practice.


developmental dyslexia; fMRI; fusiform gyrus; reading disability; reading fluency

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