Early predictors of future reading skills: A follow-up of French-speaking children from the beginning of kindergarten to the end of the second grade (age 5 to 8)


  • Piquard-Kipffer Agnès
  • Sprenger-Charolles Liliane

document type



We reported the results of two studies on the early predictors of future reading skills. The main goal of the first study was to examine whether reading level at age 8 can be predicted on the basis of a skill very rarely examined in longitudinal studies: phonemic discrimination. Two groups of French-speaking children were selected based on their phonemic discrimination skills at age 5: a group with low skills and a group with average to high skills in that domain. These two groups were respectively classified as being "at-risk" and "not-at-risk" for reading acquisition, and were matched on chronological age, nonverbal IQ and vocabulary. Phonemic discrimination was found to be an important predictor of reading acquisition. Indeed, the two groups defined at age 5 based on their phonemic discrimination skills obtained significantly different reading scores at age 8, and the proportion of children with reading disabilities was higher in the at-risk group than in the not-at-risk group. The main goal of the second study was to assess whether reading skills at age 8 could be predicted by the "classical" predictors of reading acquisition assessed at age 5: pre-reading level, letter-name knowledge, phonemic segmentation and phonological short-term-memory (STM). A high proportion of the variance in reading at age 8 (52.8%) was predicted by these predictors, with four contributing unique and significant portions of that variance: pre-reading level, letter-name knowledge for vowels (not for consonants), phonemic segmentation (not syllabic segmentation) and phonological STM.

more information