Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 15: 207–232, 2002.
© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Observations on the temporal correlates of reading failure
RAYMOND M. KLEIN
Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Abstract. The deﬁnitions of developmental dyslexia and temporal processing are discussed
and several construals of what a temporal processing deﬁcit might entail are illustrated.
Then, using a framework developed by Farmer & Klein (1995), the proposal that a temporal
processing deﬁcit (in vision, audition, or both) might be the root cause of some proportion
of cases of developmental dyslexia is introduced and various research strategies for testing
this proposal are identiﬁed. The symposium papers which address this general question using
a range of these strategies are then critically reviewed. It is noted that whereas reading is a
recent artifact not yet subject to any direct selection pressure, its normal performance requires
the use of, and connections between, the highly evolved modules for visual pattern recognition
and language. Within vision and language redundant coding, which permits performance in
the face of injuries and degraded input, also makes it difﬁcult to detect subtle deﬁcits (whether
temporal, or not) unless precise tests are used. Yet such deﬁcits may degrade performance
on tasks (such as reading) which require the non-copious connections between vision and
language. The efﬁcacy of this pathway, I suggest, is measured by performance on the rapid
automatized naming (RAN) test.
Keywords: Dyslexia, Modules, Rapid automatized naming (RAN), Reading, Temporal
The core issues that interest reading researchers and practitioners can be
captured in two questions: How do people read and why do some people
fail to read well? The symposium upon which this special issue is based was
devoted to exploring the more speciﬁc issue of the role of temporal processing
in reading and in failures to acquire the reading competence necessary for
success in the modern world. To lay the groundwork for my discussion of
the papers presented at the symposium I will ﬁrst brieﬂy introduce the key
topics of dyslexia, temporal processing, and the temporal processing deﬁcit
Unexpected reading failure is perhaps the most commonly used deﬁnition
of dyslexia. This is captured in the World Federation of Neurology’s deﬁni-
tion which requires that the dyslexic should have no sensory impairment