Auditory perception has been proposed as one source of individual variation in the phonological abilities that play a critical role in skilled reading as well as in reading disabilities. A structural equation approach (LISREL, Jöreskog & Sörbom, 1990) was used to analyze relationships among auditory perception, phonological processing, and reading in a sample of 94 college undergraduates, 24 of whom met specific criteria for a reading disability. In the mathematical model that proved to be the best fit to the data, speech perception was strongly related to three of four phonological variables including short- and long-term auditory memory and phoneme segmentation. These phonological variables in turn were strongly related to reading. Nonverbal temporal processing was not significantly related to any of the phonological variables in the structural equations. It was concluded that speech perception, which was measured with speech repetition, syllable sequence discrimination, and degraded speech tasks, may contribute significantly to individual differences in the phonological abilities necessary for skilled reading.
KEY WORDS: reading disability, phonological processing, speech perception, temporal processing
Submitted on July 29, 1992
Accepted on March 29, 1993