Much of the literature on reading impairment is based on Anglophone populations. Because there are so many gaps and inconsistencies in relations between the spelling and pronunciation of English words, the findings from Anglophone populations may not be generalizable to other languages. To test prediction of reading impairment in French children, Fluss et al. (2009) administered individual reading tests to French 7-year-olds who were identified as being at least one year behind in reading skills. One hundred poor readers were then compared with 50 demographically matched good readers on the TRF problem scales, a variety of cognitive measures, and several indices of SES. Multiple regression analyses showed that phonological awareness was the strongest predictor of decoding skills involved in reading, but that the Inattention subscale of the TRF Attention Problems syndrome was the second strongest predictor, accounting for an additional 25% of variance in decoding skills.
Although most of the other TRF problem scales were also significantly associated with poor decoding skills, the Inattention score was the main TRF predictor of poor decoding skills. Among the indices of SES, maternal educational level predicted a significant but small percentage of variance in decoding skills. The authors concluded that “PA (phonological awareness) appears to be the major factor associated with reading impairment not only in English but also in French,” and that “inattentiveness explains most of the link between emotional/behavioral disturbances and reading” (p. 212).
Reference: Fluss, J., Ziegler, J.C., Warszawski, J., Ducot, B., Richard, G., & Billard, C. (2009). Poor reading in French elementary school: The interplay of cognitive, behavioral, and socioeconomic factors. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30, 206-216.