Visual Attention Span performance in German-speaking children with differential reading and spelling profiles: No evidence of group differences

Visual Attention Span performance in German-speaking children with differential reading and spelling profiles: No evidence of group differences

First Author: Chiara Banfi -- Karl Franzes University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Karin Landerl
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: An impairment in the visual attention span (VAS) has been suggested to hamper reading performance of individuals with dyslexia. It is not clear, however, if the very nature of the deficit is visual or verbal and, importantly, if it affects spelling skills as well. Method: The current study investigated VAS by means of two-alternative forced choice tasks with letters and symbols in a sample of third and fourth graders with age-adequate reading and spelling skills (n = 39), a typical dyslexia profile (n = 22) and isolated spelling deficits (n = 29). The task was devised to contain low phonological short-term memory load and to overcome the limitations of oral reports. Results: no main effect of group as well as no group-related interactions were found, thus showing that children with dyslexia and isolated spelling deficits did not manifest a VAS deficit once certain methodological aspects were controlled for. Notably, the letter task was not related to any cognitive measure. Conclusions: The present results could not replicate previous evidence for the involvement of VAS in reading and dyslexia.