Why reading comprehension fails: Insights from developmental disorders

Kate Nation*, Courtenay Frazier Norbury

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    96 Citations (Scopus)


    Developmental difficulties with reading comprehension are not uncommon. This article examines the nature of reading comprehension deficits in three groups of children: children identified as having relatively specific impairments in reading comprehension, children with autism spectrum disorder, and children with specific language impairment. Our review emphasizes that in all three groups, poor reading comprehension is often associated with weaknesses in oral language. We conclude that a useful framework for understanding the complex relationship between language and reading in children with developmental disorders is provided by a model that sees variations in phonological and nonphonological language skills relating to different patterns of reading behavior. This framework also provides a useful basis for identifying children with poor reading comprehension, and for planning appropriately targeted interventions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-32
    Number of pages12
    JournalTopics in Language Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


    • Autism
    • Comprehension
    • Language impairment
    • Reading


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