Reading and Writing

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 251–272 | Cite as

Writing through retellings: an exploratory study of language-impaired and dyslexic populations

  • Cynthia S. Puranik
  • Linda J. Lombardino
  • Lori J. Altmann


This study was designed to examine differences and similarities in the writing of 15 language-impaired, 17 dyslexic and 15 typically developing control subjects matched on chronological age. Subjects ranging in age from 11 to 21 years were required to produce a written language sample using an expository text-retell procedure. The writing of these groups was compared on eight variables across discourse, T-unit, sentence, and word levels. Control subjects performed better than language-impaired and dyslexic subjects on all writing variables. Dyslexic subjects showed better performance than the language-impaired subjects on several variables including, (a) number of T-units, (b) number of ideas, (c) total number of words, and (4) number of different words while showing comparable performance on percentage of spelling and production of grammatically correct sentences. These findings support Bishop and Snowling’s [Psychol. Bull. 130 (2004) 858] position that the differences between these two clinical populations exist in the non-phonological dimensions of language.


Dyslexia Language impairment Retellings SLI Writing Written language disorders 


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This research was partly funded by a University of Florida Alumni Fellowship and a Bamford-Lahey Children’s Foundation Scholarship awarded to the first author. We are grateful to all the subjects for their participation in this project. The authors would like to thank Susan Kemper for her suggestion regarding calculation of ideas. Thanks to Pam Greyson and Nirupama Gupta for their assistance with linguistic analysis, and to Elizabeth Mikell and Lori Lamb for assistance with data collection. Portions of this paper were presented at the 11th annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, held in June 2004 in Amsterdam.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia S. Puranik
    • 1
  • Linda J. Lombardino
    • 1
  • Lori J. Altmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Communication Sciences & DisordersUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUnited States

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