Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 209–238 | Cite as

Subgrouping of readers based on performance measures: a latent profile analysis

  • Ulrika WolffEmail author


By using latent profile analysis eight stable and interpretable subgroups of readers were identified. The basis for subgrouping was different performance measures with four aspects of reading in focus: reading of continuous texts, reading of document texts, word reading and reading speed. Participants were 9-year-old Swedish students included in the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) Reading Literacy Study in 1991 (n = 4,184) and in 2001 (n = 5,099). The eight subgroups were compared on different background variables, such as gender, language at home, and cultural and socioeconomic factors. It was concluded that latent profile analysis proved to be a feasible methodology. The even performance profiles of good and average readers imply that reading is a skill with a high degree of transfer and generality. Several subgroups of poor readers with more heterogeneous performance patterns could be identified. The three most stable subgroups proved to be comprised of high performers, poor comprehenders and dyslexic students.


Subgroups of readers Reading disorders Dyslexia Poor comprehenders Latent profile analysis 



This research was a part of the SALS project (Studier Av Läsfärdigheten i Sverige) financed by the Swedish Research Council. I wish to thank Professor Jan-Eric Gustafsson and Professor Ingvar Lundberg for their guidance and helpful advice during varying stages of this work.


  1. Aaron, P. G., Joshi, M., Gooden, R., & Bentum, K. (2008). Diagnosis and treatment of reading disabilities based on the component model of reading: An alternative to the discrepancy model of LD. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41, 67–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abu-Rabia, S., & Siegel, L. (2002). Reading, syntactic, orthographic, and working memory skills of bilingual Arabic-English speaking Canadian children. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 31, 661–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Balke, G. (1995, April). Decomposition of reading comprehension. Analysis of the IEA Reading Literacy tests. Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, USA.Google Scholar
  4. Bialystok, E. (1988). Levels of bilingualism and levels of linguistic awareness. Developmental psychology, 24, 560–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (1997). The forms of capital. In A. H. Halsey, H. Lauder, P. Brown, & A. Stuart Wells (Eds.), Education, culture, economy and society (pp. 46–58). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Castles, A., & Coltheart, M. (1993). Varieties of developmental dyslexia. Cognition, 47, 149–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Catts, H. W., Hogan, T. P., & Fey, M. (2003). Subgrouping poor readers on the basis of reading related abilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36, 151–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coleman, J. S. (1975). Methods and results in the IEA studies of effects of school and learning. Review of Educational Research, 45, 355–386.Google Scholar
  9. Coleman, J., Campbell, E., Hobson, C., McPartland, J., Mood, A., Weinfield, F., et al. (1966). Equality of educational opportunity. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  10. Croll, P. (1986). Systematic classroom observation. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  11. Da Fontoura, H., & Siegel, L. (1995). Reading, syntactic, and working memory skills of bilingual Portuguese-English Canadian children. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 7, 139–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Doehring, D., & Hoshko, I. (1977). Classification of reading problems by the Q-technique of factor analysis. Cortex, 13, 281–294.Google Scholar
  13. Elley, W. B. (1992). How in the world do students read?. The Hague: The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.Google Scholar
  14. Elley, W. B. (Ed.). (1994). The IEA study of Reading Literacy: Achievement and instruction in thirty-two school systems. International studies in educational achievement. Great Britain, Exeter: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  15. Everatt, J., Smythe, I., Adams, E., & Ocampo, D. (2000). Dyslexia screening measures and bilingualism. Dyslexia, 6, 42–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fredriksson, U. (2002). Reading skills among students of immigrant origin in Stockholm. Stockholm: Institute of International Education.Google Scholar
  17. Frederickson, N., & Frith, U. (1998). Identifying dyslexia in bilingual children: A phonological approach with inner London Sylheti speakers. Dyslexia, 4, 119–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frith, U. (1997). Brain, mind and behaviour in dyslexia. In C. Hulme & M. Snowling (Eds.), Dyslexia. Biology, cognition and intervention (pp. 1–19). London: Whurr Publishers.Google Scholar
  19. Frith, U. (1999). Paradoxes in the definition of dyslexia. Dyslexia, 5, 192–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frith, U., Wimmer, H., & Landerl, K. (1998). Differences in phonological recoding in German and English speaking children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 2, 31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gough, P. (1995). The new literacy: Caveat emptor. Journal of Research in Reading, 18, 79–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gough, P., & Tunmer, W. (1986). Decoding, reading, and reading disability. Remedial and Special Education, 7, 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grigorenko, E. (2001). Developmental dyslexia: An update on genes, brains, and environments. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 91–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gustafsson, J.-E. (1995, April). Alternative hierarchical models of reading achievement. Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, USA.Google Scholar
  25. Gustafsson, J.-E., & Rosén, M. (2003, August). The dimensional structure of reading assessment tasks in the IEA Reading Literacy Study 1991 and the progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2001. Paper Presented at the EARLI 10th Biennal Conference in Padova, Italy.Google Scholar
  26. Gustafsson, J.-E., & Rosén, M. (2004). The IEA 10-Year trend Study of Reading Literacy: A multivariate reanalysis. Manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
  27. Gustafsson, J.-E., Rosén, M., & Myrberg, E. (2003). Förändringar i läskompetens 1991–2001. En jämförelse över tid och länder [Changes in competence of reading. A comparison over time and countries]. Sweden: Skolverket.Google Scholar
  28. Gustafsson, J.-E., & Stahl, P-A. (2001). STREAMS User’s guide, Version 2.5 for Windows95/98/NT. Mölndal, Sweden: Multivariate Ware.Google Scholar
  29. Høien, T., & Lundberg, I. (2000). Dyslexia. From theory to intervention. Dordrecht, NL: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  30. Hoover, W., & Gough, P. (1990). The simple view of reading. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2, 127–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Landerl, K. (2001). Word recognition deficits in German: More evidence from a representative sample. Dyslexia, 7, 183–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lundberg, I. (1985). Longitudinal studies of reading and writing difficulties in Sweden. In G. E. McKinnon & T. G. Waller (Eds.), Reading research: Advances in theory and practice (pp. 65–105). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Lundberg, I. (1999). Towards a sharper definition of dyslexia. In I. Lundberg, F. E. Tonnessen, & I. Austad (Eds.), Dyslexia. Advances in theory and practice (pp. 9–29). Dordrecht, NL: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  34. Lundberg, I., & Olofsson, Å. (1981). Dyslexielevers sociala bakgrund (Social background of dyslexic students). Nordisk tidskrift för specialpedagogok, 59, 203–213.Google Scholar
  35. Manis, F., Seidenberg, M., Doi, L., McBride-Chang, C., & Petersen, A. (1996). On the bases of two subtypes of developmental dyslexia. Cognition, 58, 157–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller Guron, L. (2004). First and second language rapid naming speed and word recognition automaticity. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  37. Miller Guron, L., & Lundberg, I. (2003). Identifying dyslexia in multilingual students: Can phonological awareness be identified in the majority language?. Journal of research in Reading, 26, 69–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Morris, R. D., Stuebing, K. K., Fletcher, J. M., Shaywitz, S. E., Lyon, G. R., Shankweiler, D. P., et al. (1998). Subtypes of reading disability: Variability around a phonological core. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 347–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Muter, V., & Diethelm, K. (2001). The contribution of phonological skills and letter knowledge to early reading development in a multilingual population. Language learning, 51, 187–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2001). Mplus user’s guide (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  41. Nation, K., & Snowling, M. (1997). Assessing reading difficulties: The validity and utility of current measures of reading skill. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 67, 359–370.Google Scholar
  42. Olson, R., Forsberg, H., & Wise, B. (1994). Genes, environment, and the development of orthographic skills. In V. W. Berninger (Ed.), The varieties of orthographic knowledge I: Theoretical and developmental issues (pp. 27–71). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  43. Paulesu, E., Frith, U., Snowling, M., Gallagher, A., Morton, J., Frackowiak, R. S. J., et al. (1996). Is developmental dyslexia a disconnection syndrome? Evidence from PET scanning. Brain, 119, 143–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ramus, F. (2004). The neural basis of reading acquisition. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences (3rd ed., pp. 815–824). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  45. Ramus, F. (2006). A neurological model of dyslexia and other domain-specific developmental disorders with an associated sensorimotor syndrome. In G. D. Rosen (Ed.), The dyslexic brain: New pathways in neuroscience discovery (pp. 75–101). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  46. Rapkin, B. D., & Luke, D. A. (1993). Cluster analysis in community research: Epistemology and practice. American Journal of Community Psychology, 21, 247–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Samuelsson, S., & Lundberg, I. (2003). The impact of environmental factors on components of reading and dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 201–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Satz, P., & Morris, R. (1981). Learning disability subtypes: A review. In F. J. Pirozzolo & M. C. Wittrock (Eds.), Neoropsychological and cognitive processes in reading. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  49. Snow, C., Burns, S., & Griffin, P. (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  50. Snowling, M. (2000). Dyslexia. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.Google Scholar
  51. Sprenger-Charolles, L., Colé, P., Lacert, P., & Serniclaes, W. (2000). On subtypes of developmental dyslexia: Evidence from processing time and accuracy scores. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 54, 87–103.Google Scholar
  52. SPSS. (1999). SPSS Base 10.0, user’s guide. Chicago: SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
  53. Stanovich, K. E. (1988). Explaining the differences between the dyslexic and the garden-variety poor reader: The phonological-core variable-difference model. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 21, 590–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stanovich, K. E. (1991). Discrepancy definitions of reading disability: Has intelligence led us astray? Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 7–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stanovich, K. E., & Siegel, L. S. (1994). Phenotypic performance profile of children with reading disabilities: A regression-based test of the phonological-core variable-difference model. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 24–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stanovich, K. E., Siegel, L., & Gottardo, A. (1997). Converging evidence for phonological and surface subtypes of reading disability. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 114–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Svensson, I., & Jacobsson, C. (2005). How persistent are phonological difficulties? A longitudinal study of reading retarded children. Dyslexia, 12, 3–20.Google Scholar
  58. Tierney, R. (1998). Literacy assessment reform: Shifting beliefs, principled possibilities, and emerging practices. Reading Teacher, 51, 374–390.Google Scholar
  59. Wagemaker, H., Taube, K., Munck, I., Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, G., & Martin, M. (1996). Are girls better readers? Gender differences in reading literacy in 32 countries. Amsterdam: IEA.Google Scholar
  60. Wilson, A. M., & Lesaux, N. K. (2001). Persistence of phonological processing deficits in college students with dyslexia who have age-appropriate reading skills. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34, 394–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wolff, U. (2009). Phonological and surface subtypes among dyslexic university students. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 56.Google Scholar
  62. Wolf, M., & Bowers, P. G. (1999). The double-deficit hypothesis for the developmental dyslexias. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 415–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wolf, M., Goldberg O’Rourke, A., Gidney, C., Lovett, M., Cirino, P., & Morris, R. (2002). The second deficit: An investigation of the independence of phonological and naming-speed deficits in developmental dyslexia. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 43–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wolff, U., & Lundberg, I. (2003). A technique for group screening of dyslexia among adults. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 324–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yang, Y. (2003). Measuring socio-economic status at individual and collective levels. A cross-country comparison (Gothenburg Studies in Educational Science, Vol. 193). Gothenburg: Acta Universitatis Gothenburgenis.Google Scholar
  66. Yang, Y., & Gustafsson, J.-E. (2004). Measuring socioeconomic status at individual and collective levels. Educational Research and Evaluation, 10, 259–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yelland, G. W., Pollard, J., & Mercuri, A. (1993). The metalinguistic benefits of limited contact with a second language. Applied psycholinguistics, 14, 423–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden

Personalised recommendations