Reading and Writing

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 1353-1380

First online:

The double deficit hypothesis in the transparent Finnish orthography: a longitudinal study from kindergarten to Grade 2

  • Minna TorppaAffiliated withUniversity of Jyväskylä Email author 
  • , Rauno ParrilaAffiliated withUniversity of Alberta
  • , Pekka NiemiAffiliated withUniversity of Turku
  • , Marja-Kristiina LerkkanenAffiliated withUniversity of Jyväskylä
  • , Anna-Maija PoikkeusAffiliated withUniversity of Jyväskylä
  • , Jari-Erik NurmiAffiliated withUniversity of Jyväskylä

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We examined the double deficit hypothesis (Wolf & Bowers, 1999) and literacy development in a longitudinal dataset of 1,006 Finnish children who were nonreaders at school entry. A single phonological awareness (PA) deficit was a predictor of pseudoword spelling accuracy and reading fluency, and a single rapid automatized naming (RAN) deficit was a predictor of reading fluency. The group with both PA and RAN deficits experienced the most extensive reading and spelling difficulties. However, all groups included both poor and average Grade 2 readers and spellers. Poor letter knowledge and vocabulary, task avoidance, attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and lack of teaching at home were additional risk factors for reading and spelling problems, but their impact varied depending on the presence of PA and RAN deficits.


Double deficit Phonological awareness Rapid automatized naming Reading development Spelling development