Investigating Skilled Reading in School-Aged Children: An EEG Study
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There exist conceptual gaps between the behavioural and electrophysiological accounts of skilled reading development that limit the ability to interpret them cohesively. The goal of this study was to bridge these gaps and determine how behavioural measures of ortho-semantic learning – skills thought to be involved in the transition to skilled reading – relate to N170 print and lexical tuning, established neurophysiological markers of visual word expertise. Thirty-six grade 3 children completed assessments of ortho-semantic learning. Electroencephalography (EEG) was then used to record their neural activity during a lexical decision task. Group-level EEG data revealed significant bilateral N170 print and lexical tuning effects. The print tuning effect was significantly modulated by orthographic learning, but not by fluency or semantic learning. Lexical tuning was not modulated by any of the behavioural measures of reading. Future research should further investigate these relationships using contrasts of additional conditions and more robust measures of reading skills.