Phonological working memory, phonological awareness and language in literacy difficulties in Brazilian children

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Barbosa, Thais [UNIFESP]
Miranda, Monica Carolina [UNIFESP]
Santos, Ruth F. [UNIFESP]
Bueno, Orlando Francisco A. [UNIFESP]
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One of the most usual flaws that lead to literacy disability regards cognitive difficulties and alterations some children present in the literacy process. Many studies have found alterations in phonological processing, more specifically in phonological working memory (PWM) and phonological awareness (PA). Therefore, our aim was to identify alterations in skills of phonological working memory, phonological awareness and language (semantic, syntactic and phonological aspects) of Brazilian children with literacy disabilities (age 7-8). They were divided into two groups: (1) Group of Normal Literacy (NL); and (2) Group With Literacy Disabilities (LD). the evaluation comprised tests that assessed general cognitive functions and the skills at stake. the LD presented a poorer performance than the NL in the skills of PWM, PA and language aspects. the factor analysis showed that these skills prevailed in differentiating the groups. Thus, children with literacy disabilities presented deficits in phonological processing and language. These deficits seem to be a result of alterations of the phonological representations and poor language skills that are prior to the literacy period. Consequently, we believe that the early identification of these alterations can be very useful for the prevention of future literacy problems.
Reading and Writing. Dordrecht: Springer, v. 22, n. 2, p. 201-218, 2009.