Becoming a skilled reader requires building a functional neurocircuitry for printed-language processing that integrates with spoken-language-processing networks. In this longitudinal study, functional MRI (fMRI) was used to examine convergent activation for printed and spoken language (print-speech coactivation) in selected regions implicated in printed-language processing (the reading network). We found that print-speech coactivation across the left-hemisphere reading network in beginning readers predicted reading achievement 2 years later beyond the effects of brain activity for either modality alone; moreover, coactivation effects accounted for variance in later reading after controlling for initial reading performance. Within the reading network, effects of coactivation were significant in bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and left inferior parietal cortex and fusiform gyrus. The contribution of left and right IFG differed, with more coactivation in left IFG predicting better achievement but more coactivation in right IFG predicting poorer achievement. Findings point to the centrality of print-speech convergence in building an efficient reading circuitry in children.
- cognitive neuroscience
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