The value of IQ scores in detecting reading patterns in younger and older elementary aged children referred for learning difficulties

Gayle Striar Herman, Pace University


This study examined the contribution of cognitive factors on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV; Wechsler, 2003) to oral reading rate, accuracy, fluency, comprehension, and overall reading ability as measured by the Gray Oral Reading Tests-Fourth Edition (GORT-4; Wiederholt & Bryant, 2001). Though a highly used measure of intellectual functioning, few studies exist using the WISC-IV. Analysis will help psychologists determine the best cognitive patterns to describe children's functioning as related to different areas of reading. Comparisons between younger and older elementary aged readers highlight skills relevant at different developmental stages. The sample included 114 children, aged 6 to 11, referred for comprehensive psychoeducational batteries due to academic, attention, or social-emotional problems. Significant linear relationships were found between most WISC-IV subtests and GORT-4 scores. While the WISC-IV subtests and process scores collectively explained the most variance within all oral reading comprehension scales, the Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) emerged as the most important cognitive factor. The Working Memory Index (WMI) was significantly and positively related to oral reading accuracy. This sample did not support the use of ACID or SCAD profiles in reliably predicting oral reading and comprehension beyond the contribution of VCI. Regression analyses compared the relationship between WISC-IV subtests and the reading performance of younger (Grades 2 and 3) and older elementary-aged readers (Grades 4 and 5). While verbal comprehension subtests were most consistently correlated with oral reading skills within both groups, working memory subtests functioned differentially, seeming more highly related for younger readers in all areas of reading. Perceptual reasoning subtests yielded small to moderate, significant associations with oral reading comprehension for younger reader but almost no association for older readers. Processing speed subtests contributed minimally to both groups. Results highlight the diagnostic utility of understanding the relationship between cognitive factors on the WISC-IV and reading disabilities. Particular attention must be paid to cognitive factors relevant to the development of reading skills in younger and older elementary-aged readers.

Subject Area

Educational tests & measurements|Literacy|Reading instruction|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Herman, Gayle Striar, "The value of IQ scores in detecting reading patterns in younger and older elementary aged children referred for learning difficulties" (2009). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3358196.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)