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Sensorimotor Control of Speech and Children’s Reading Ability

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  • Mark R. van den Bunt
  • Margriet A. Groen
  • Steve Frost
  • Airey Lau
  • Jonathan L. Preston
  • Vincent L. Gracco
  • Kenneth R. Pugh
  • Ludo T. W. Verhoeven
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Studies of Reading
Issue number6
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)503-516
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/07/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Studies of the role of phonological representations in learning to read have almost exclusively focused on speech perception. In the current study, we examined links between sensorimotor control of speech, reading, and reading-related abilities. We studied two languages, English and Dutch, which vary in the regularity of their spelling-to-sound mappings. There were 236 American and Dutch children, 4 to 8 years old, who performed an altered auditory feedback task in which the first formant of the /ɛ/ vowel was altered. A stronger response to altered feedback for literate relative to preliterate children was observed, and this was particularly the case for the Dutch children. Moreover, the magnitude of the responses was related to precursors of reading in preliterate children and to reading skill in literate children. We propose that these findings could be related to changes in children's speech production skills that facilitate the integration of orthographic and phonemic information.