OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine which verbal fluency task is most useful in assessing adolescents with reading disorders (RD).
METHOD: Eighty-three Hebrew-speaking adolescents (ages 12-15), 42 of them with RD, completed semantic and phonemic fluency tasks, and their scores were converted to standardized scores according to population norms.
RESULTS: Scores on the semantic task were similar in the RD and the control group, unlike scores on the phonemic task, which were significantly lower in the RD group. The RD group demonstrated higher semantic than phonemic scores, unlike the control group whose standardized scores on both tasks were similar. Phonemic but not semantic fluency scores predicted spelling scores within the RD group.
CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents with RD have no difficulty on a semantic fluency task, but perform below expected age-matched levels on the phonemic fluency task. To document this task-difference, practitioners must administer both fluency tasks when assessing RD.
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