The neural signature of orthographic-phonological binding in successful and failing reading development

L. Blomert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Learning to read in alphabetic orthographies starts with learning a script code consisting of letter-speech sound pairs. Although children know which letters belong to which speech sounds within months, it takes much longer to automatically integrate them into newly constructed audiovisual objects. This extended learning process corresponds with observations that reliable letter and word specific activations in the fusiform cortex also occur relatively late in reading development. The present review discusses electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies of the nature and mechanisms involved in letter-speech sound integration in normal and dyslexic readers. It is demonstrated that letter-speech sound associations do not develop in parallel with visual letter recognition but immediately work in concert to form orthographic-phonological bonds which remain active even in experienced reading. Effective letter-speech sound integration may be necessary for reliable letter recognition to develop. In contrast, it is this basic integration of letters and speech sounds which poses an immediate problem for beginning dyslexic readers, and remains problematic in adult dyslexic readers. It is hypothesized that a specific orthographic-phonological binding deficit may not only act as a proximal cause for reading deficits in dyslexia, but may also explain the notorious lack of reading fluency. Finally, it is suggested that similar integrated audiovisual representations may also exist for larger grain-sizes in the same posterior occipitotemporal/inferoparietal network as identified for orthographic-phonological integration of letters and speech sounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-703
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroimage
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011

Keywords

  • Grapheme-phoneme correspondences
  • Reading development
  • Dyslexia
  • Audiovisual integration
  • Neural reading network
  • WORD FORM AREA
  • SPEECH-SOUNDS
  • DYSLEXIC-CHILDREN
  • HUMAN BRAIN
  • AUDIOVISUAL INTEGRATION
  • LETTER STRINGS
  • PERCEPTION
  • AWARENESS
  • CORTEX
  • PRINT

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