Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Susan Brady


Extensive experimental evidence suggests that reading disability is related to linguistic deficits. One linguistic skill, linguistic awareness (awareness of the units that comprise one's language), has been shown to be related to beginning reading skills in young children, but little research has been conducted with older children or adults.

In Experiment 1 of the present study, third-grade good and poor readers were compared on three measures of linguistic awareness and a non-speech control task. Significant differences were found on all three linguistic awareness measures, but not on the non-speech control task. When the sample was divided by verbal and non-verbal IQ, high verbal IQ subjects performed significantly better on only one of the linguistic awareness measures, indicating that verbal IQ is only partially related to differences between the groups. Non-verbal IQ could not account for any of the differences between groups.

In Experiment 2, Adult Basic Education good and poor readers were compared on the same tasks. Like the children in Experiment 1 adult poor readers performance on linguistic awareness tasks was inferior to that of the good readers, but the two groups were not significantly different on the non-speech control task. Non-verbal IQ could not account for this difference; however, there was a difference between the two groups in verbal IQ which may account for some of the effect.

Deficits in linguistic awareness appear to pl a y a part in the reading problems of both children and adults. The nature of the relationship between linguistic awareness and reading skill {e.g. it could be considered a pre-requisite for success in reading, or, alternatively, a consequence of reading instruction) are discussed.



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