Evidence Check 1: Early Literacy Interventions - Science and Technology Committee Contents


Memorandum submitted by Dr Chris Singleton (LI 35)

DYSLEXIA IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

Key references supplied by Dr Chris Singleton at the request of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

  1.  Caravolas, M, The nature and causes of dyslexia in different languages. In M J Snowling and C Hulme (Eds) The Science of Reading. Oxford, Blackwell, 2005, pp 336-355.

  Excerpts: "Evidence from studies of dyslexia across different languages and writing systems suggests that, in broad terms, reading impairments present similarly in English, in other alphabetic writing systems, and in the Chinese orthography." (p 354); "...readers with dyslexia in all languages appear to have particular difficulties in learning the inconsistencies and irregularities of writing systems... [and].. some of the cognitive deficits underlying dyslexia are universal" (p 355).

  2. Goulandris, N (Ed.) Dyslexia in different languages: Cross-linguistic comparisons. London: Whurr, 20003.

  This volume brings together authoritative studies of dyslexia in German, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Russian, Swedish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and the Indian languages, as well as in multilingual people.

  Excerpt: "In conclusion, neurobiological evidence demonstrates that the pattern of brain organisation differs in dyslexics when compared to controls. However, the orthography (or orthographies) that dyslexic individuals are expose to determines the severity and extent of the behavioural manifestations." (p 13.)

  3.  Everatt, J and Elbeheri, G, (2008) Dyslexia in transparent orthographies: Variability in transparency. In Reid, G, Fawcett, A, Manis, F and Siegel, L (Eds) The Sage Handbook of Dyslexia. London: Sage, 2008, pp 427-438.

  Excerpt: "Although dyslexia has been identified amongst individuals learning to read and write in a wide variety of languages and, therefore, is not determined specifically by the language spoken... the manifestation of dyslexia may vary across different languages." (p 427.)

  4.  Smythe, I, Everatt, J and Salter, R (Eds) The International Handbook of Dyslexia. Volume I. A Cross-Language Comparison and Practice Guide. Chichester: Wiley, 2003.

  This volume reports in detail on evidence regarding the nature of dyslexia in 18 different languages. It concludes that the underlying cognitive difficulties seen in dyslexia are universal, although the impact of dyslexia on learning to read and write may vary in different languages. With particular reference to the matters raised by the committee, attention is drawn to the following chapters:

  Lyytinen, H, Aro, M, and Holopainen, L Dyslexia in highly orthographically regular Finnish.

  Lwe, C and Schulte-Krne, G Dyslexia in Germany.

  5.  Smythe, I, Everatt, J and Salter, R (Eds) The International Handbook of Dyslexia. Volume II. A Guide to Practice and Resources. Chichester: Wiley, 2003.

  This volume reports the effects of dyslexia in 54 different countries and on the ways it is addressed. This overview shows clearly that, across the world, dyslexia is defined similarly: ie as a specific neurologically-based difficulty with the acquisition of reading and writing that impacts primarily at the word level because of underlying deficits in the ability to process and remember phonological information. With particular reference to the matters raised by the committee, attention is drawn to the following chapters:

  Lyytinen, H, Aro, M and Holopainen, L Dyslexia in Finland.

  Shulte-Krne, G Dyslexia Research in German-Speaking Countries.

  6.  Peer, L and Reid, G (Eds) Multilingualism, Literacy and Dyslexia: A challenge for educators. David Fulton, 2000.

  7.   Dyslexia: An International Journal of Research and Practice:

    Vol 32 (1), 2000. Special Issue: Dyslexia and Multilingualism (Part 1); and

    Vol 32 (2), 2000. Special Issue: Dyslexia and Multilingualism (Part 2).

  These three compendiums of research papers (Items 4 and 5) evidence that multilingual people who have dyslexia experience difficulties in reading and writing across the range of languages they speak, although the severity of their problems may vary from language to language. They show that dyslexia is not simply a phenomenon seen in the English language.

November 2009





 
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