Reading and Writing

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 791–810 | Cite as

Developmental dyslexia in an orthography of intermediate depth: the case of European Portuguese

  • Ana Sucena
  • São Luís Castro
  • Philip Seymour


Fifteen Portuguese children with dyslexia, aged 9–11 years, were compared with reading and chronological age controls with respect to five indicators related to the phonological deficit hypothesis: the effects of lexicality, regularity, and length, implicit and explicit phonological awareness, and rapid naming. The comparison between groups indicates that Portuguese children with dyslexia have a phonological impairment which is revealed by a developmental deficit in implicit phonological awareness and irregular word reading (where younger reading level controls performed better than dyslexics) and by a developmental delay in decoding ability and explicit phonological awareness (where dyslexics matched reading level controls). These results are discussed in relation to the idea that European Portuguese is written in an orthography of intermediate depth.


Developmental dyslexia Portuguese Phonological deficit 



We thank Sylvia Defior, Jacqueline Leybaert, and Francisca Serrano for enlightening discussions, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. This study was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through a grant to the Language Group of the Center for Psychology at the University of Porto and a doctoral fellowship to Ana Sucena.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Sucena
    • 1
  • São Luís Castro
    • 2
  • Philip Seymour
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto Politécnico do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto, Rua Doutor Manuel Pereira da SilvaPortoPortugal
  3. 3.University of DundeeDundeeUK

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