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Using Time-Processing Skills to Predict Reading Abilities in Elementary School Children

In: Timing & Time Perception
Authors:
Marilyn Plourde École de Psychologie, Université Laval, 2325 rue des Bibliothèques, Québec, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada

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Pierre-Luc Gamache Département des sciences neurologiques, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, Québec, Canada
Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

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Vincent Laflamme École de Psychologie, Université Laval, 2325 rue des Bibliothèques, Québec, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada

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Simon Grondin École de Psychologie, Université Laval, 2325 rue des Bibliothèques, Québec, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada

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This article aims at examining the relationship between temporal skills and reading. According to Tallal, dyslexia may be linked to a global deficit in temporal processing, which would be detrimental for discrimination of phonemes, and thus impair reading acquisition. The temporal deficit hypothesis is not consensual, and the exact nature of the temporal deficits assumed to be associated with dyslexia remains unknown. The aim of the present experiment is to better define the temporal processes involved in reading. To do so, elementary school children from 1st to 6th grade with varied reading skills levels were recruited (from weak to very good readers). Each participant performed four temporal tasks, that is, gap detection, temporal order judgement, interval discrimination and interval reproduction; and each task was performed in two different conditions, i.e., with signals marking time delivered in the visual and in the auditory modalities. The results show positive correlations between reading skills and all temporal tasks, in both modalities. We also established a prediction model of reading skills with visual gap detection sensitivity as the best predictor. The results support Tallal’s theory. Temporal deficits in weak readers are global and transcend sensory modalities. The gap detection task in the visual modality shows clinical potential for identifying timing-related reading difficulties, and could be used in future research.

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