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    The contribution of auditory attention to reading processes of school-age children with and without dyslexia

    Guerra, Giada (2021) The contribution of auditory attention to reading processes of school-age children with and without dyslexia. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Mastering proficient reading skills is essential for an individual’s personal and professional development. However, there are considerable individual differences in reading skills among children, and several potential environmental and cognitive factors underlying this variability. The overarching aim of this thesis was is to establish whether auditory attention is among these factors. The first study explored the effects of background speech on children reading performance and found that speech loudness and intelligibility differentially disrupted reading speed and comprehension. Moreover, weaker inhibitory control was associated with greater interference on reading comprehension. In the following two studies, I examined inhibitory control and behavioural and neural (EEG) measures of non-verbal sustained selective attention in a relatively large sample of children with and without dyslexia. As a model mimicking one of the first steps of reading acquisition, I also asked participants to learn to associated novel symbols with speech sounds. At the group level, auditory attentional measures did not differ between children with and without dyslexia. However, auditory attentional skills were related to reading fluency, and to the ability to learn novel audio-visual associations. Both of these skills were compromised in dyslexic readers. A final objective was to identify cognitive abilities predicting individual benefits of intensive intervention for dyslexia. I found that an interplay between auditory attentional and reading-specific (e.g. phonological awareness) abilities predicted individual reading and spelling intervention outcomes. Taken together, these studies indicated that auditory attention plays a role in children’s reading, for example, by supporting fundamental processes underlying reading acquisition, such as letter-speech sound learning, as well as by facilitating learning processes during interventions. They also showed that auditory attention could modulate the harmful effects of background speech. The novel findings presented in this thesis represent a starting point for future investigations into the relationship between auditory attention and reading abilities during development.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 17:54
    Last Modified: 18 Nov 2021 17:54


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