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Phonological skills as predictors of dyslexia (Dorofeeva et al., 2022)

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posted on 2022-09-08, 22:37 authored by Svetlana V. Dorofeeva, Ekaterina Iskra, Daria Goranskaya, Elizaveta Gordeyeva, Margarita Serebryakova, Andrey Zyryanov, Tatiana V. Akhutina, Olga Dragoy

Purpose: The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether the performance on each of seven phonological processing (PP) tests from the Russian Test of Phonological Processing (RuToPP), with their varying levels of linguistic complexity and composite phonological indices, are significant predictors of developmental dyslexia (DD) and can reliably differentiate children with and without reading impairment. Additionally, we examined the general contribution of phonological skills to text reading fluency in children with various levels of reading performance.

Method: A total of 173 Russian-speaking 7- to 11-year-old children participated in this study: 124 who were typically developing (TD) and 49 who had been diagnosed with DD. We assessed reading fluency with a standardized reading test and PP with the RuToPP. We investigated the potential of phonological skills to predict the presence or absence of a dyslexia diagnosis using multinomial logistic regression, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, and calculations of the sensitivity and specificity of each test and index. The contribution of phonological skills to reading fluency was also assessed in a mixed group of children.

Results: Six of seven RuToPP tests were significant predictors of dyslexia. However, while the RuToPP correctly identified 93%–99% of TD children, for children with dyslexia, it ranged from 4% to 47% depending on the test. In a mixed group of children with and without dyslexia, performance in the more complex phonological tests was a stronger predictor of reading fluency.

Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with the literature on predictors of literacy skills and dyslexia while uniquely demonstrating the impact of the complexity level of the phonological tests on the classification outcome. PP is a significant and necessary predictor of reading skills, but it is not sufficient for diagnostic purposes.

Supplemental Material S1. The factor and the correlation analyses for the behavioral data of children with dyslexia. 

Supplemental Material S2. Boxplots for the results in the reading test and in all Russian Test of Phonological Processing (RuToPP) tests.

Dorofeeva, S. V., Iskra, E., Goranskaya, D., Gordeyeva, E., Serebryakova, M., Zyryanov, A., Akhutina, T. V., & Dragoy, O. (2022). Cognitive requirements of the phonological tests affect their ability to discriminate children with and without developmental dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This work was supported by the Center for Language and Brain NRU Higher School of Economics, RF Government Grant, ag. No. 14.641.31.0004.