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The combination of investigating child and family characteristics sheds light on the constellation of risk factors that can ultimately lead to dyslexia. This family-risk study examines plausible preschool risk factors and their specificity. Participants (N = 196, 42 % girls) included familial risk (FR) children with and without dyslexia in Grade 3 and controls. First, we found impairments in phonological awareness, rapid naming, and letter knowledge in FR kindergartners with later dyslexia, and mild phonological-awareness deficits in FR kindergartners without subsequent dyslexia. These skills were better predictors of reading than arithmetic, except for rapid naming. Second, the literacy environment at home was comparable among groups. Third, having a dyslexic parent and literacy abilities of the non-dyslexic parent related to offspring risk of dyslexia. Parental literacy abilities might be viewed as indicators of offspring's liability for literacy difficulties, since parents provide offspring with genetic and environmental endowment. We propose an intergenerational multiple deficit model in which both parents confer cognitive risks.

Original publication




Journal article


J Abnorm Child Psychol

Publication Date





1187 - 1200


Child, Child, Preschool, Dyslexia, Family Health, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Netherlands, Parent-Child Relations, Parents, Phonetics, Reading, Risk Factors, Vocabulary, Writing