By Deborah Williams
A recent article on the Science Digest website describes the results of a three-year study of pre-reading children followed them from kindergarten to second grade. The study and its results were described in “Tackling Dyslexia Before Kids Learn to Read,” which contradict prior notions about diagnosing dyslexia in children.
The researchers, led by Andrea Facoetti of the University of Padua in Italy, first looked at the students before they could read in the following areas:
- Visual Spatial Attention (the ability to filter relevant versus irrelevant information)
- Syllable Identification
- Verbal Short-term Memory
- Rapid Color Naming
After the students could read, the researchers gathered data about how well they could read.
Facoetti and his team found “that kids who initially had trouble with visual attention were also the ones to later struggle in reading.” This finding flies in the face of conventional wisdom about the causes of dyslexia and the best options for its treatment. He suggests that “simple visual-attention tasks should improve the early identification of children at risk for dyslexia” and increase reading comprehension later in life.