Global reading processes in children with high risk of dyslexia: a scanpath analysis
The study presents the first systematic comparison of the global reading processes via scanpath analysis in Russian-speaking children with and without reading difficulties. First, we compared basic eye-movement characteristics in reading sentences in two groups of children in grades 1 to 5 (N = 72 in high risk of developmental dyslexia group and N = 72 in the control group). Next, using the scanpath method, we investigated which global reading processes these children adopt to read the entire sentence and how these processes differ between the groups. Finally, we were interested in the timeframe of the change in the global reading processes from the 1st to the 5th grades for both groups. We found that the main difference in word-level measures between groups was the reading speed reflected in fixation durations. However, the examination of the five identified global reading processes revealed qualitative similarities in reading patterns between groups. Children in the control group progressed quickly and by the 4th grade engaged in an adult-like fluent reading process. The high-risk group started with the beginner reading process, then similar to first graders in the control group, engaged mostly in the intermediate and upper-intermediate reading processes in 2nd to 4th grades. They reach the advanced process in the 5th grade, the same pattern preferred by the control group second graders. Overall, the scanpath analysis reveals that although there are quantitative differences in the word-level eye-tracking measures between groups, qualitatively children in the high-risk group read on par with typically developing peers but with a 3-year reading delay.