Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 34–54 | Cite as

Effects of fluency, oral language, and executive function on reading comprehension performance

  • Laurie E. Cutting
  • April Materek
  • Carolyn A. S. Cole
  • Terry M. Levine
  • E. Mark Mahone


Reading disability (RD) typically consists of deficits in word reading accuracy and/or reading comprehension. While it is well known that word reading accuracy deficits lead to comprehension deficits (general reading disability, GRD), less is understood about neuropsychological profiles of children who exhibit adequate word reading accuracy but nevertheless develop specific reading comprehension deficits (S-RCD). Establishing the underlying neuropsychological processes associated with different RD types is essential for ultimately understanding core neurobiological bases of reading comprehension. To this end, the present study investigated isolated and contextual word fluency, oral language, and executive function on reading comprehension performance in 56 9- to 14-year-old children [21 typically developing (TD), 18 GRD, and 17 S-RCD]. Results indicated that TD and S-RCD participants read isolated words at a faster rate than participants with GRD; however, both RD groups had contextual word fluency and oral language weaknesses. Additionally, S-RCD participants showed prominent weaknesses in executive function. Implications for understanding the neuropsychological bases for reading comprehension are discussed.


Executive function Fluency Oral language Reading comprehension Reading disabilities 



This work was supported in part by the Mental Wellness Foundation, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine General Clinical Research Center (NIH grant M01-RR00052), and NIH R01-HD044073. The authors thank Sarah Eason for her assistance with data collection.


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie E. Cutting
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • April Materek
    • 6
  • Carolyn A. S. Cole
    • 1
    • 3
  • Terry M. Levine
    • 1
  • E. Mark Mahone
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Kennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Johns Hopkins University School of EducationBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Haskins LaboratoriesNew HavenUSA
  6. 6.Loyola CollegeBaltimoreUSA

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