Browsing by Subject "reading skills"

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  • Thiede, A.; Glerean, E.; Kujala, T.; Parkkonen, L. (2020)
    Listening to speech elicits brain activity time-locked to the speech sounds. This so-called neural entrainment to speech was found to be atypical in dyslexia, a reading impairment associated with neural speech processing deficits. We hypothesized that the brain responses of dyslexic vs. normal readers to real-life speech would be different, and thus the strength of inter-subject correlation (ISC) would differ from that of typical readers and be reflected in reading-related measures. We recorded magnetoencephalograms (MEG) of 23 dyslexic and 21 typically-reading adults during listening to ∼10 min of natural Finnish speech consisting of excerpts from radio news, a podcast, a self-recorded audiobook chapter and small talk. The amplitude envelopes of band-pass-filtered MEG source signals were correlated between subjects in a cortically-constrained source space in six frequency bands. The resulting ISCs of dyslexic and typical readers were compared with a permutation-based t-test. Neuropsychological measures of phonological processing, technical reading, and working memory were correlated with the ISCs utilizing the Mantel test. During listening to speech, ISCs were mainly reduced in dyslexic compared to typical readers in delta (0.5–4 Hz) and high gamma (55–90 Hz) frequency bands. In the theta (4−8 Hz), beta (12–25 Hz), and low gamma (25−45 Hz) bands, dyslexics had enhanced ISC to speech compared to controls. Furthermore, we found that ISCs across both groups were associated with phonological processing, technical reading, and working memory. The atypical ISC to natural speech in dyslexics supports the temporal sampling deficit theory of dyslexia. It also suggests over-synchronization to phoneme-rate information in speech, which could indicate more effort-demanding sampling of phonemes from speech in dyslexia. These irregularities in parsing speech are likely some of the complex neural factors contributing to dyslexia. The associations between neural coupling and reading-related skills further support this notion.
  • Levänen, Tuuli (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    Introduction. Previous studies suggest that dyslexic pupils have inordinate difficulties learning foreign languages at school. The present study examined the mismatch negativity (MMN) brain responses elicited by foreign language words and nonwords in dyslexic children compared to typically reading controls. MMN reflects early processing stages in auditory cortex. The aim of this study was to determine whether dyslexic pupils have impaired MMNs for foreign language words or speech stimuli in general, and whether word familiarity has a different effect on the two groups. In addition, the correlations between MMN differences and reading and cognitive skills were analysed. Methods. Participant groups consisted of 14 dyslexic school children, and 14 typically reading controls. Before brain recordings, literacy skills and cognitive functioning were tested. Brain responses to English words (she, shy) and nonwords (shoy), and Finnish words (sai, soi) and nonwords (sii) were measured with electroencephalography (EEG). Results and conclusions. The results suggested that compared to controls, dyslexic children's MMN responses to foreign language were impaired for a familiar word she, but only. However, the groups did not differ in processing speech-sounds in general. In addition, weak MMN responses to the foreign word were associated with poorer reading skills and slower rapid naming in mother language. The results of this study suggest that the establishment, access and activation of memory representations for foreign words is impaired in dyslexia. In addition, the finding that poor performance in native language reading is correlated with the strength of brain responses to foreign language suggests that there are common factors underlying literacy skills and foreign language learning.
  • Sampa, Francis K.; Ojanen, Emma; Westerholm, Jari; Ketonen, Ritva; Lyytinen, Heikki (2018)
    This study investigated the comparative efficacy of a phonics-based reading program and a language experience approach based literacy program to develop reading skills among Zambian early childhood school learners. The learners (n = 1 986; Grade 2 level; females = 50.1%) took either the phonics-based reading program (n = 1 593) or the alternative language experience approach based program (n = 393). They were all assessed for reading skills utilising the Early Grade Reading Assessment test (EGRA) in four languages (Cinyanja, Icibemba, Kiikaonde, and Silozi). Results suggest that learners in phonics-based literacy program were significantly better in letter-sound knowledge in all the four languages. Additionally, they were significantly better in reading skills (non-word reading, oral passage reading, and reading comprehension), yet only in Icibemba and Silozi, as compared to those who took the alternative program. Results reveal that children in the Primary Literacy Program (PLP) had significantly better performance in most reading skills than in the Primary Reading Program (PRP). However, the effect sizes were small or medium. The high floor effect in all reading-related measures is an indication that by following either PRP or the recently implemented PLP, most children do not acquire basic reading skill of the transparently written language they are familiar with. Instruction of the sounds of letters requires special attention where digital training tools (such as GraphoGame) may provide the most effective help to both teachers and children.