Children classified as hyperlexic learn to readwords spontaneously before age five, areimpaired in both reading and listeningcomprehension, and exhibit word recognitionskills above their linguistic and cognitiveabilities. Despite their strong wordrecognition skills, previous studies have shownthat the phonemic awareness skills ofhyperlexic children are low and notcommensurate with their word reading skill, inpart because of their limited comprehension of phonemic awareness tasks. Heretofore, a verylimited number of studies have investigateddirectly the orthographic processing, syntacticprocessing, and working memory skills ofchildren with hyperlexia. In the presentstudy, measures of orthographic processing,syntactic processing, and working memory skillwere administered to three hyperlexic childrenand three normally achieving readers; inaddition, measures of phonemic awareness,academic achievement, and cognitive abilitywere also administered. Results showed thatthe hyperlexic children performed aboveexpectations on the orthographic processingmeasures based on their cognitive andlinguistic abilities. The children withhyperlexia did not exhibit orthographic skillsthat were superior to the normally achievingreaders, although ceiling effects on theorthographic tasks may not have allowed them todemonstrate this skill. The three children withhyperlexia achieved lower scores than thenormally achieving readers on the syntacticprocessing measures and had great difficulty onthe phonemic awareness measures. Only one ofthe three hyperlexic children performed at alevel consistent with that of normallyachieving readers on the working memorymeasures. Findings suggest the hyperlexicchildren had levels of orthographic processingsimilar to that of normally achieving readers,read words using strategies similar to those ofnormal readers, and had phonemic awarenessskill that appears to be adequate for wordanalysis but could not be demonstrated ontraditional phonemic awareness measures.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 4, 2004
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