Predictors of developmental dyslexia in European orthographies with varying complexity

Karin Landerl*, Franck Ramus, Kristina Moll, Heikki Lyytinen, Paavo H T Leppänen, Kaisa Lohvansuu, Michael O'Donovan, Julie Williams, Jürgen Bartling, Jennifer Bruder, Sarah Kunze, Nina Neuhoff, Dénes Tõth, Ferenc Honbolygõ, Valéria Csépe, Caroline Bogliotti, Stéphanie Iannuzzi, Yves Chaix, Jean François Démonet, Emilie LongerasSylviane Valdois, Camille Chabernaud, Florence Delteil-Pinton, Catherine Billard, Florence George, Johannes C. Ziegler, Isabelle Comte-Gervais, Isabelle Soares-Boucaud, Christophe Loïc Gérard, Leo Blomert, Anniek Vaessen, Patty Gerretsen, Michel Ekkebus, Daniel Brandeis, Urs Maurer, Enrico Schulz, Sanne Van Der Mark, Bertram Müller-Myhsok, Gerd Schulte-Körne

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    303 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The relationship between phoneme awareness, rapid automatized naming (RAN), verbal short-term/working memory (ST/WM) and diagnostic category is investigated in control and dyslexic children, and the extent to which this depends on orthographic complexity. Methods: General cognitive, phonological and literacy skills were tested in 1,138 control and 1,114 dyslexic children speaking six different languages spanning a large range of orthographic complexity (Finnish, Hungarian, German, Dutch, French, English). Results: Phoneme deletion and RAN were strong concurrent predictors of developmental dyslexia, while verbal ST/WM and general verbal abilities played a comparatively minor role. In logistic regression models, more participants were classified correctly when orthography was more complex. The impact of phoneme deletion and RAN-digits was stronger in complex than in less complex orthographies. Conclusions: Findings are largely consistent with the literature on predictors of dyslexia and literacy skills, while uniquely demonstrating how orthographic complexity exacerbates some symptoms of dyslexia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)686-694
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


    • cross-linguistic
    • Dyslexia
    • orthography
    • phonology


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