A group of 51 male children, average age 9.1 years, presenting at a child psychiatric clinic because of attention and conduct problems were investigated for reading and phonetic spelling ability, vigilance, and intellectual level. Each child was given a DSM- III diagnosis prior to being tested. The Boder Test of Reading and Spelling patterns was used to obtain scores for reading age, number of syllables read correctly in the word list at the child's reading level, and number of phonetically correct syllables spelled in the known and unknown word lists, at and just above the child's reading level. A factor analysis with varimax rotation produced two significant factors, a Reading factor with high loadings for verbal and reading scores, aand a second Vigilance factor. Phonetic spelling ability loaded separately from reading into the Vigilance factor. The Vigilance factor was significantly related to the diagnosis of moderate and severe attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADDH). The correlation of short- term working memory with vigilance in moderate to severe ADDH children is discussed.