Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The development of reading skills is underpinned by oral language abilities, with phonological skills appearing to have a causal influence on the development of early word-level literacy skills, and reading comprehension ability depending in addition on broader (semantic and syntactic) language skills. Here, we report a longitudinal study of children at family-risk of dyslexia, children with preschool language difficulties and typically developing controls. Preschool measures of oral language predicted phoneme awareness and grapheme-phoneme knowledge just before school entry which in turn predicted word-level literacy skills shortly after school entry. Reading comprehension at 8½ years was predicted by word-level literacy skills at 5½ years and by language skills at 3½ years. These patterns of predictive relationships were similar in both typically developing children and those at-risk of literacy difficulties. Our findings underline the importance of oral language skills for the development of both word-level literacy and reading comprehension skills.


Journal article


Psychological Science


Association for Psychological Science


Dyslexia; language impairment; reading development; reading comprehension; phonological skills; language skills; family-risk.