Converging evidence for triple word form theory in children with dyslexia

Todd L. Richards, Elizabeth H. Aylward, Katherine M. Field, Amie C. Grimme, Wendy Raskind, Anne L. Richards, William Nagy, Mark Eckert, Christiana Leonard, Robert D. Abbott, Virginia W. Berninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


This article has 3 parts. The 1st part provides an overview of the family genetics, brain imaging, and treatment research in the University of Washington Multidisciplinary Learning Disabilities Center (UWLDC) over the past decade that points to a probable genetic basis for the unusual difficulty that individuals with dyslexia encounter in learning to read and spell. Phenotyping studies have found evidence that phonological, orthographic, and morphological word forms and their parts may contribute uniquely to this difficulty. At the same time, reviews of treatment studies in the UWLDC (which focused on children in Grades 4 to 6) and other research centers provide evidence for the plasticity of the brain in individuals with dyslexia. The 2nd part reports 4 sets of results that extend previously published findings based on group analyses to those based on analyses of individual brains and that support triple word form awareness and mapping theory: (a) distinct brain signatures for the phonological, morphological, and orthographic word forms; (b) crossover effects between phonological and morphological treatments and functional magentic resonance imaging (fMRI) tasks in response to instruction, suggestive of cross-word form computational and mapping processes; (c) crossover effects between behavioral measures of phonology or morphology and changes in fMRI activation following treatment; and (d) change in the relationship between structural MRI and functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy (fMRS) lactate activation in right and left inferior frontal gyri following treatment emphasizing the phonological, morphological, and orthographic word forms. In the 3rd part we discuss the next steps in this programmatic research to move beyond word form alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-589
Number of pages43
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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