Reading and Writing

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 991–1015 | Cite as

An investigation of grapheme parsing and grapheme-phoneme knowledge in two children with dyslexia

  • Linda LarsenEmail author
  • Saskia Kohnen
  • Genevieve McArthur
  • Lyndsey Nickels


The aim of this study was to understand the relationship between children’s knowledge of letter-sound rules (“grapheme-phoneme knowledge”) and their ability to identify separate graphemes (e.g., SH, OI) that comprise words (“grapheme parsing”). We used a single-case study approach with children with phonological dyslexia who were able to read words accurately via whole-word processes (“lexical reading”), but were not able to read using grapheme-phoneme knowledge (“non-lexical reading”). These children were able to correctly parse some graphemes without grapheme-phoneme knowledge for these graphemes. However, they were unable to correctly parse some graphemes for which they had grapheme-phoneme knowledge. This dissociation suggests that children may acquire grapheme-phoneme knowledge and phoneme parsing independently. We discuss the implications of these findings for cognitive models of word reading.


Non-lexical reading Grapheme-phoneme knowledge Grapheme parsing Phoneme blending Case-study 



We would like to thank JC, JW, and their parents for their participation in this research. We thank the control participants, teachers, Heads of Primary, and Principals at the Norwest Christian College, Redfield College, and St Peter’s Anglican Primary School for their involvement in the study. We also thank Stephen Pritchard for helpful discussion and comments on connectionist computational models of word reading. Lastly, we thank the Editor and two anonymous Reviewers for constructive suggestions and comments. This paper was prepared while Linda Larsen was funded by a Postdoctoral Fellowship, Saskia Kohnen was funded by a Macquarie University Research Fellowship (MQRF), Genevieve McArthur was funded by an ARC Australian Research Fellowship (0879556), and Lyndsey Nickels was funded by an ARC Future Fellowship (120100102).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Special Needs EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Department of Cognitive ScienceMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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