Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 64–84 | Cite as

Subtypes of reading disability in a shallow orthography: a double dissociation between accuracy-disabled and rate-disabled readers of Hebrew

  • Michal ShanyEmail author
  • David L. ShareEmail author


Whereas most English language sub-typing schemes for dyslexia (e.g., Castles & Coltheart, 1993) have focused on reading accuracy for words varying in regularity, such an approach may have limited utility for reading disability sub-typing beyond English in which fluency rather than accuracy is the key discriminator of developmental and individual differences in reading ability. The present study investigated the viability of an accuracy/fluency-based typology in a regular orthography, pointed Hebrew. We sought evidence of true or “hard” accuracy/rate subtypes in the strict (double dissociation) sense of selective impairment on only one dimension in the presence of normal levels of performance on the other dimension. In a nationally representative sample of fourth graders, we were able to identify a specific accuracy-disabled sub-group as well as an equally specific rate-disabled subgroup. Validating this subdivision, we show that the nature of reading performance in these subgroups and their converging cognitive/linguistic profiles are unique and distinctive on variables other than the measures used to define them. While the rate-specific disability appeared to reflect a general deficit in speed of processing affecting reading rate, and rapid automatized naming of print-related material, the accuracy-only disability subgroup displayed selective deficits in phonological awareness and morphological knowledge. Biosocial, demographic, and instructional factors, furthermore, did not explain the sub-group differences. It appears that both these subtypes are equally prevalent each counting close to 10% of the population.


Accuracy Double-dissociation Dyslexia Hebrew Rate Subtypes 


  1. Abu-Rabia, S., Share, D. L., & Mansour, M. S. (2003). Word recognition and basic cognitive abilities among reading-disabled and normal readers in Arabic. Reading and Writing, 16, 423–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, C. E., Manis, F. R., Pedersen, W. C., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2004). Variation among developmental dyslexics: Evidence from a printed-word-learning task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 87, 125–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beaton, A. A. (2004). Dyslexia, reading and the brain: A sourcebook of psychological and biological research. Hove and New-York: Psychology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boder, E. (1971). Developmental dyslexia: A diagnostic screening procedure basedon three characteristic patterns of reading and spelling. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 4, 297–342.Google Scholar
  5. Breznitz, Z. (1997). The effect of accelerated reading rate on memory for text among dyslexic readers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 287–299.Google Scholar
  6. British Psychological Society. (1999). Dyslexia, literacy and psychological assessment: Report of a working party of the division of educational and child psychology of the British Psychological Society. Leicester, England: Author.Google Scholar
  7. Castles, A., & Coltheart, M. (1993). Varieties of developmental dyslexia. Cognition, 47, 149–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coltheart, M., Rastle, K., Perry, C., Langdon, R., & Ziegler, J. (2001). A dual route cascaded model of visual word recognition and reading aloud. Psychological Review, 108, 204–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cossu, G. (1999a). Biological constraints on literacy acquisition. Reading and Writing, 11, 213–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cossu, G. (1999b). The acquisition of Italian orthography. Learning to read and write: A cross-linguistic perspective. In learning to read and write: A cross-linguistic perspective. Cambridge studies in cognitive and perceptual development (pp. 10–33). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Csepe, V. (2006). Literacy acquisition and dyslexia in Hungarian. In R. M. Joshi & P. G. Aaron (Eds.), Handbook of orthography and literacy (pp. 231–247). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Daneman, M., & Carpenter, P. A. (1980). Individual-differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19, 450–466.Google Scholar
  13. Daniels, P. T., & Bright, W. (1996). The world’s writing systems. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. De Jong, P. F., & van der Leij, A. (1999). Specific contributions of phonological abilities to early reading acquisition: Results from a Dutch latent variable longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 450–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Jong, P. F., & van der Leij, A. (2003). Developmental changes in the manifestation of phonological deficit in dyslexic children learning to read a regular orthography. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 22–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fletcher, J. M., Morris, R., Lyon, G. R., Stuebing, K. K., Shaywitz, S. E., Shankweiler, D. P., et al. (1997). Subtypes of dyslexia: An old problem revisited. In B. A. Blachman (Ed.), Foundations of reading: Acquisition and dyslexia (pp. 95–114). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Genard, N., Mousty, P., Content, A., Alegria, J., Leybaert, J., & Morais, J. (1998). Methods to establish subtypes of developmental dyslexia. In P. Reitsma & L. Verhoeven (Eds.), Problems and interventions in literacy development (pp. 163–176). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  18. Harm, M. W., & Seidenberg, M. S. (1999). Phonology, reading acquisition, and dyslexia: Insights from connectionist models. Psychological Review, 106, 491–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ho, C. S. H., Chan, D. W., Chung, K. H., Lee, S.-H., & Tsang, S. M. (2007). In search of subtypes of Chinese developmental dyslexia. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 97, 61–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hutzler, F., Ziegler, J. C., Perry, C., Wimmer, H., & Zorzi, M. (2004). Do current connectionist learning models account for reading development in different languages? Cognition, 91, 273–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jackson, N. E., & Coltheart, M. (2001). Routes to reading success and failure: Toward an integrated cognitive psychology of atypical reading. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  22. Joshi, R. M., & Aaron, P. G. (2006). Handbook of orthography and literacy. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Leinonen, S., Muller, K., Leppanen, P. H. T., Aro, M., Ahonen, T., & Lyytinen, H. (2001). Heterogeneity in adult dyslexic readers: Relating processing skills to the speed and accuracy of oral text reading. Reading and Writing., 14, 265–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leppanen, U., Niemi, P., Aunola, K., & Nurmi, J. E. (2006). Development of reading and spelling Finnish from preschool to grade 1 and grade 2. Scientific Studies of Reading, 10, 3–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lovett, M. W. (1984a). The search for subtypes of specific reading disability: Reflections from the cognitive perspective. Annals of Dyslexia, 34, 155–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lovett, M. W. (1984b). A developmental perspective on reading dysfunction: accuracy and rate criteria in the subtyping of dyslexic children. Brain & Language, 22, 67–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lovett, M. W. (1987). A developmental approach to reading disability: Accuracy and speed criteria of normal and deficient reading skill. Child Development, 58, 234–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lundberg, I., & Hoien, T. (1990). Patterns of information processing skills and word recognition strategies in developmental dyslexia. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 34, 231–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lyon, G. R., Shaywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2003). A definition of dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lyon, R., Stewart, N., & Freedman, D. (1982). Neuropsychological characteristics of empirically derived subgroups of learning disabled readers. Journal of Clinical Neuropsychology, 4, 343–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lyon, R., & Watson, B. (1981). Emprically derived subgroups of learning disabled readers: Diagnostic characteristics. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 14, 256–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lyytinen, H., Aro, M., & Holopainen, L. (2004). Dyslexia in highly rthographically regular Finnish. In I. Smythe, J. Everatt, & R. Slater (Eds.), International book of dyslexia: A cross-language comparison and practice guide (pp. 81–91). Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  33. Manis, F. R., Seidenberg, M. S., Doi, L. M., & McBride-Chang, C. (1996). On the bases of two subtypes of development dyslexia. Cognition, 58, 157–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mattis, S., French, J. F., & Rapin, I. (1975). Dyslexia in children and young adults: Three independent syndromes. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 17, 150–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Milne, R. D., Nicolson, T., & Corballis, M. C. (2003). Lexcial access and phonological decoding in adult dyslexic subtypes. Neuropsychology, 17, 362–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Morais, J., Alegria, J., & Content, A. (1987). The relationships between segmental analysis and alphabetic literacy: An interactive view. Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive, 7, 415–443.Google Scholar
  37. 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
  38. National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.Google Scholar
  39. Nikolopoulos, D., Goulandris, N., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2006). The cognitive bases of learning to read and spell in Greek: Evidence from a longitudinal study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 94, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Perfetti, C. A. (1985). Reading ability. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Porpodas, C. (2006). Literacy acquisition in Greek: Research review of the role of phonological and cognitive factors. In R. M. Joshi & P. G. Aaron (Eds.), Handbook of orthography and literacy (pp. 189–199). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Ravid, D. (2005). Hebrew orthography and literacy. In R. M. Joshi & P. G. Aaron (Eds.), Handbook of orthography and literacy (pp. 339–364). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  43. Rayner, K., Foorman, B. R., Perfetti, C. A., Pesetsky, D., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2001). How psychological science informs the teaching of reading. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2, 31–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seymour, P. H. K., Aro, M., & Erskine, J. M. (2003). Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 143–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shankweiler, D., & Fowler, A. E. (2004). Questions people ask about the role of phonological processes in learning to read. Reading and Writing, 17, 483–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shankweiler, D., & Liberman, I. Y. (1989). Phonology and reading disability: Solving the reading puzzle. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  47. Shany, M., Lachman, D., Shalem, Z., Bahat, A., & Zieger, T. (2006). “Aleph-Taph”—A test for the diagnosis of reading and writing disabilities, based on national Israeli norms. Tel Aviv: Yesod Publishing.Google Scholar
  48. Share, D. L. (1995). Phonological recoding and self-teaching: Sine qua non of reading acquisition. Cognition, 55, 151–218.Google Scholar
  49. Share, D. L. (2003). Dyslexia in Hebrew. In N. Goulandris (Ed.), Dyslexia in different languages: Cross-linguistic comparisons (pp. 208–234). London: Whurr.Google Scholar
  50. Share, D. (2008). On the Anglocentricities of current reading research and practice: The perils of over reliance on an “outlier” orthography. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 584–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Share, D. L., & Levin, I. (1999). Learning to read and write in Hebrew. In M. Harris & G. Hatano (Eds.), Learning to read and write (pp. 89–111). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Share, D. L., & Stanovich, K. E. (1995). Cognitive processes in early reading development: accommodating individual differences into a model of acquisition. Issues in Education, 1, 1–57.Google Scholar
  53. Shatil, E., & Share, D. L. (2003). Cognitive antecedents of early reading ability: A test of the modularity hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 86, 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Shimron, J. (1993). The role of vowels in reading: A review of studies of English and Hebrew. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 52–67.Google Scholar
  55. Siegel, L. S. (1999). Issues in the definition and diagnosis of learning disabilities: A perspective on Guckenberger vs. Boston University. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 32, 304–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C. (2005). The science of reading: A handbook. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stanovich, K. E. (1991). Discrepancy definitions of reading disability: Has intelligence led us astray? Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 7–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stanovich, K. E. (2000). Progress in understanding reading: Scientific foundations and new frontiers. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  59. 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
  60. Stanovich, K. E., Siegel, L. S., & Gottardo, A. (1997a). Converging evidence for phonological and surface subtypes of reading disability. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 114–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stanovich, K. E., Siegel, L. S., Gottardo, A., Chiappe, P., & Sidhu, R. (1997b). Subtypes of developmental dyslexia: Differences in phonological and orthographic coding (pp 114–139). In B. Blachman (Ed.), Foundations of reading acquisition and dyslexia: Implications for early intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  62. Tunmer,W., & Greaney, G. (2010). Defining dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 229–243.Google Scholar
  63. Vellutino, F. R., Fletcher, J. M., Snowling, M. J., & Scanlon, D. M. (2004). Specific reading disability (dyslexia): What have we learned from the past four decades? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 2–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wimmer, H. (1993). Characteristics of developmental dyslexia in a regular writing system. Applied Psycholinguistics, 14, 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wolf, M., & Bowers, P. G. (1999). The double-deficit hypothesis for the developmental dyslexia. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 415–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yap, R., & van der Leij, A. (1993). Word processing in dyslexics: An automatic decoding deficit? Reading and Writing, 5, 261–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia and skilled reading across languages: A psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zoccolotti, P., De Luca, M., Di Pace, E., Judica, A., Orlandi, M., & Spinelli, D. (1999). Markers of developmental surface dyslexia in a language (Italian) with high grapheme-phoneme correspondence. Applied Psycholinguistics, 20, 191–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of Learning DisabilitiesEdmond J. Safra Brain Research Center in Learning Disabilities, The University of HaifaHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations