Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2018

Thesis Advisor(s)

Nicole Landi; Christine Simon

Honors Major

Biological Sciences


Social and Behavioral Sciences


Learning to read is a critical building block in the acquisition of reading fluency. Previous studies indicate phonological awareness as the main skill used to acquire reading fluency. Previous studies have also found correlations with cortical thickness in certain regions of the brain associated with phonological awareness as well as higher reading fluency scores. This was a longitudinal study where about 100 children with little to no school experience came in at time 1 for behavioral tests and an MRI. They then came back one year later at time 2 for another set of behavioral tests and again a year later for time 3. Only 19 subjects had completely processed structural data so only these 19 were used in this particular study. The main aim of this study was to take the behavioral test scores from time 1 and run a simultaneous multiple regression analysis to determine the best predictor of reading fluency at time 3. These tests included non-word decoding, word reading, and phonological processing, and IQ measured by WASI and WPPSI. In addition, a whole brain correlation was run using the time 1 MRI and the reading fluency score for time 3 to determine areas of the brain correlated with better readers. Results show that IQ measured at time 1 was the most significant predictor of reading fluency at time 3, while the structural analysis shows that cortical thickness and surface area in several reading-related brain regions measured at time 1 are related to reading fluency skill at time 3.