Individual differences in reading ability have been linked to characteristics of functional connectivity in the brain in both children and adults. However, many previous studies have used single or composite measures of reading, leading to difficulty characterizing the role of functional connectivity in discrete subskills of reading. The present study addresses this issue using resting-state fMRI to examine how resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) related to individual differences in children's reading subskills, including decoding, sight word reading, reading comprehension, and rapid automatized naming (RAN). Findings showed both positive and negative RSFC-behaviour relationships that diverged across different reading subskills. Positive relationships included increasing RSFC among left dorsal and anterior regions with increasing decoding proficiency, and increasing RSFC between the left thalamus and right fusiform gyrus with increasing sight word reading, RAN, and reading comprehension abilities. In contrast, negative relationships suggested greater functional segregation of attentional and reading networks with improved performance on RAN, decoding, and reading comprehension tasks. Importantly, the results suggest that although reading subskills rely to some extent on shared functional networks, there are also distinct functional connections supporting different components of reading ability in children.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lisa_archibald/6/