Two studies were conducted to evaluate the extent to which visual discrimination (VisD) skills play a role in developing letter identification abilities, which are essential in learning to read. Results from a correlational analysis of 73 4- and 5-year-olds revealed a significant association between VisD and letter identification abilities, which was not moderated by estimated nonverbal or verbal abilities or lexical access. Stronger VisD abilities also were positively associated with better phonemic awareness skills, presumably because of the association between letter knowledge and phonemic skills, or letter-sound correspondence. A pilot study explored the benefit of visual discrimination training of letter-like forms to letter learning for a subset of 28 children with below average lowercase letter identification abilities. Only letter-name training significantly impacted lowercase letter identification; visual discrimination training did not further enhance performance. Implications for theory and applications to interventions aimed at children at risk for reading delays are discussed.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 14, 2007
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