Early cognitive profiles of emergent readers: a longitudinal study

Nicola Brunswick, G. Neil Martin, Georgina Rippon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This longitudinal study examined the contribution of phonological awareness, phonological memory, and visuospatial ability to reading development in 142 English-speaking children from the start of kindergarten to the middle of Grade 2. Partial cross-lagged analyses revealed significant relationships between early performance on block design and matching letter-like forms tasks and later reading ability. Rhyme awareness correlated with later reading ability during the earliest stages, but onset awareness did not emerge as important until after the children had started reading. Digit span correlated significantly with future reading ability at every stage. These findings indicate that although phonological awareness, phonological memory, and visuospatial ability are all necessary for emergent reading, their relative importance varies across the first 2 years of reading development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-285
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date29 Sept 2011
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Brunswick, N, Martin, GN & Rippon, G, 'Early cognitive profiles of emergent readers: a longitudinal study', Journal of experimental child psychology, vol. 111, no. 2 (2012) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2011.08.001


  • aptitude
  • aptitude tests
  • child development
  • preschool child
  • female
  • humans
  • longitudinal studies
  • male
  • memory
  • visual pattern recognition
  • phonetics
  • psychological tests
  • reading
  • partial cross-lagged correlations
  • reading development
  • phonological memory
  • phonological awareness
  • visual ability


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