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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 19, Issue 1-2, Pages 87-92

Visual Scanning and Reading Ability in Normal and Dyslexic Children

G. Ferretti,1,2 S. Mazzotti,1 and D. Brizzolara1,2

1Department of Developmental Neuroscience, IRCCS “Stella Maris”, Pisa, Italy
2Division of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Received 31 March 2008; Accepted 31 March 2008

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Very few studies have investigated the development of visual search of aligned stimuli in relation to normal reading acquisition and in developmental dyslexia.

In this study we used a new computerised experimental task which requires a visuo-motor response (RT) to a target appearing unpredictably in one out of seven different spatial positions on a horizontally aligned array of 18 geometrical figures.

The aims of the study were to investigate: (1) the visual scanning development in normal children from pre-school to school age; (2) whether visual scanning performance in kindergarten children could predict reading acquisition; (3) the visual scanning abilities in a group of developmental dyslexic children.

The main results were: (1) a significant decrement of RTs with age and a progressive increase of the left-to-right gradient with reading experience; (2) visual scanning abilities in kindergarten proved to be a good predictor of reading acquisition; (3) dyslexics were slow scanners and did not present the left-to-right strategy typical of normal readers.

The results support the hypothesis of a relationship between visual scanning and reading abilities.