A few studies suggest that gifted children with dyslexia have better literacy skills than averagely intelligent children with dyslexia. This finding aligns with the hypothesis that giftedness-related factors provide compensation for poor reading. The present study investigated whether, as in the native language (NL), the level of foreign language (FL) literacy of gifted students with dyslexia is higher than the literacy level of averagely intelligent students with dyslexia and whether this difference can be accounted for by the difference in their NL literacy level. The sample consisted of 148 Dutch native speaking secondary school students divided in four groups: dyslexia, gifted/dyslexia, typically developing (TD), and gifted. All students were assessed on word reading and orthographic knowledge in Dutch and English when they were in 7th or 8th grade. A subsample (n = 71) was (re)assessed on Dutch, English, French, and German literacy one year later. Results showed that Dutch gifted students with dyslexia have higher NL literacy levels than averagely intelligent students with dyslexia. As in the NL, a stepwise pattern of group differences was found for English word reading and spelling, i.e., dyslexia < gifted/dyslexia < TD < gifted. However, it was not found for French and German literacy performance. These results point towards compensation: the higher English literacy levels of gifted/dyslexic students compared to their averagely intelligent dyslexic peers result from mechanisms that are unique to English as a FL. Differences in results between FLs are discussed in terms of variation in orthographic transparency and exposure.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 9, 2017
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