Understanding the Nature and Severity of Reading Difficulties Among Students With Language and Reading Comprehension Difficulties


This study investigated the presence of word reading difficulties in a sample of students in grades 1–4 (n  =  357) identified with language and reading comprehension difficulties. This study also examined whether distinct word reading and listening comprehension profiles emerged within this sample and the extent to which these groups varied in performance on cognitive and demographic variables. Findings showed that the majority of students (51%) with language and reading comprehension difficulties demonstrated significant risk in word reading (more than 1 SD below the mean), even though the participant screening procedures did not examine word reading directly. Three latent profiles emerged when students were classified into subgroups based on their performance in listening comprehension (LC) and word reading (WR): (1) severe difficulties in LC and moderate difficulties in WR (11%), (2) mild difficulties in both LC and WR (50%), and (3) moderate difficulties in LC and mild difficulties in WR (39%). Of note, even though students were identified for participation on the basis of poor oral language and reading comprehension abilities, all profiles demonstrated some degree of word reading difficulties. Findings revealed differences in age and performance on measures of working memory, nonverbal reasoning, and reading comprehension performance between profiles. Implications for educators providing instruction to students with or at risk for dyslexia and developmental language disorders were discussed.


Capin, P., Gillam, S. L., Fall, A.-M., Roberts, G., Dille, J. T., & Gillam, R. B. (2022). Understanding the nature and severity of reading difficulties among students with language and reading comprehension difficulties. Annals of Dyslexia, 72, 249–275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-022-00255-3