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A range of possible predictors of arithmetic and reading were assessed in a large sample (N=162) of children between ages 7 years 5 months and 10 years 4 months. A confirmatory factor analysis of the predictors revealed a good fit to a model consisting of four latent variables (verbal ability, nonverbal ability, search speed, and phonological memory) and two manifest variables (digit comparison and phoneme deletion). A path analysis showed that digit comparison and verbal ability were unique predictors of variations in arithmetic skills, whereas phoneme deletion and verbal ability were unique predictors of variations in reading skills. These results confirm earlier findings that phoneme deletion ability appears to be a critical foundation for learning to read (decode). In addition, variations in the speed of accessing numerical quantity information appear to be a critical foundation for the development of arithmetic skills.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Child Psychol

Publication Date





113 - 136


Child, Cognition, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Female, Humans, Male, Mathematics, Memory, Neuropsychological Tests, Phonetics, Reading, Verbal Behavior, Vocabulary