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Children with specific reading comprehension difficulties were compared with control children on tests of language skill. The two groups performed at a similar level on tests requiring predominantly phonological skills, but the poor comprehenders performed less well on tests tapping semantic ability. Although the two groups were matched for decoding ability (as assessed by nonword reading), the poor comprehenders were worse at reading words with irregular spelling patterns and low-frequency words. These results show that despite having adequate phonological decoding skills, poor comprehenders have problems reading words that are typically read with support from semantics. These findings are related to connectionist models of reading development in which phonological and semantic processes interact. © 1998 Academic Press.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Memory and Language

Publication Date





85 - 101