About this Research Topic
Fluency is the quintessence of effective reading. To obtain socio-economic success, fluent reading is of primordial importance and reading is considered a crucial marker of an individual’s life course. Approximately 5% of children are affected by developmental dyslexia, exhibiting inaccurate word recognition, spelling, phonological decoding, and most importantly, severely dysfluent reading, which remains as their most characterizing and persistent deficit. Unable to attain society’s literacy demands, individuals with dyslexia are at severe risk for adverse academic, economic, and psychosocial consequences.
Recently, it has been posed that the development of automatic letter-speech sound (LSS) integration is critical in the acquisition of fluent reading skills, and in particular that a failure to develop automatic LSS integration results in an impairment of reading fluency. In support, neurocognitive research has suggested that the development of automatized processing of LSS associations is an essential step in the formation of a functional neural network for reading. Furthermore, both neurocognitive and behavioural studies have suggested a less efficient LSS integration in children with dyslexia than in typical readers. Finally, results from intervention studies have suggested that training LSS might be a promising approach to ameliorate dysfluent reading in children with dyslexia.
Nonetheless, there is still a considerable gap of knowledge in our understanding of the mechanisms by which learning LSS associations relate to (dys)fluent reading. In this Research Topic, we would like to provide a broad framework on this topic, from neurocognitive, behavioural, developmental, educational, and clinical research perspectives.
Contributions may cover, among other things, insights into
(1) how the development of visual and auditory neural systems is related to reading fluency,
(2) how visual information is mapped to auditory information when learning to read,
(3) how mapped phonological and orthographical information develops into integrated cross-modal associations,
(4) how neural systems that support LSS integration differ in normal and dyslexic readers across languages,
(5) research on the developmental mechanisms by which LSS integration sites interact with other components of the neural reading network, such as fast visual word recognition and attentional network, which are known to be instrumental in fluent reading,
(6) why LSS integration is disrupted in dyslexia, and
(7) how impaired LSS integration cascades into impaired development of the reading network in children with reading disabilities.
Additionally, from a clinical perspective, research into
(8) the potential of LSS integration as a diagnostic marker for dyslexia,
(9) the contribution of LSS integration in identifying subtypes of dyslexia, and,
(10) the mechanisms by which specific interventions, such as training of LSS associations, ameliorates reading fluency in dyslexic readers is welcomed.
Keywords: Letter-speech sound associations, audiovisual integration, dyslexia, reading fluency, reading brain networks
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