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The Contribution of Working memory and Cognitive Flexibility to Children’s Reading Comprehension Exposa: Hanne Bruun Søndergaard Knudsen, Aalborg University
Autors: Hanne Bruun Søndergaard Knudsen, Aalborg University, Denmark, Lisa Margaret Davies Archibald, Western University, Canada, Kristine Jensen de López, Aalborg University, Denmark
Multiple cognitive skills support the acquisition of language comprehension and proficient reading skills (Guajardo & Cartwright, 2015). Recently, literacy development has been linked to a set of higher-order mental processes involved in the self-regulation of goals known as executive functions (Diamond, 2013). Executive dysfunctions have been reported for groups with dyslexia (Varvara, Varuzza, Sorrentino, Vicari, & Menghini, 2014), and in cases of reading comprehension difficulties (Jerman Reynolds, & Swanson, 2012). The relative influence of key executive function components on reading comprehension, however, has not been studied extensively. The purpose of the present study was to compare the relationships between reading comprehension and two executive functions, working memory and cognitive flexibility in a group of 39 Danish-speaking school age children. They completed two measures of executive functions, working memory and cognitive flexibility, and measures of reading comprehension, non-word reading, language comprehension, and nonverbal intelligence. Results revealed that unique variance in children’s sentence comprehension was explained by measures of cognitive flexibility even after differences in age, language comprehension, nonverbal intelligence and working memory were taken into account. Although related to the reading measures, working memory did not explain unique variance in the sentence comprehension measure.
Diamond, A. (2013). Executive Functions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 135-168.
Guajardo, N.R. & Cartwright, K.B. (2015). The contribution of theory of mind, counterfactual reasoning, and executive function to pre-readers’ language comprehension and later reading awareness and comprehension in elementary school. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 144, 27–45
Jerman, O., Reynolds, C., & Swanson, H. L. (2012). Does growth in working memory span or executive processes predict growth in reading and math in children with reading disabilities? Learning Disability Quarterly, 35(3), 144-157.
Varvara, P., Varuzza, C., Sorrentino, A. C. P., Vicari, S., & Menghini, D. (2014). Executive functions in developmental dyslexia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
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