Manual performance as predictor of literacy acquisition : A study from kindergarten to Grade 1


  • Doyen Anne-Lise
  • Lambert Eric
  • Dumas Florence
  • Carlier Michèle


  • Handedness
  • Non-dominant hand
  • Laterality degree
  • Manual performance

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Many studies have shown phonological awareness to be a predictor of reading and spelling acquisition, but arguments that motor performance and manual laterality may also be predictors of literacy are much more controversial. We examined the links between manual performance, degree of laterality (absolute difference between the two hands) and literacy in a group of 73 pupils with typical development observed at the end of kindergarten and in the middle of Grade 1. Phonological awareness and hand skill were assessed in kindergarten. Reading comprehension, reading, spelling and graphomotor skills were assessed in Grade 1. Phonological awareness was confirmed to be a strong predictor for reading and spelling. Higher performance levels in reading and spelling were found to be associated with a weaker degree of laterality and with faster peg-moving by the non-dominant hand. These results support the hypothesis that manual motor skills have an impact on spelling and reading acquisition.

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