Reading and Writing

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 1353–1380 | Cite as

The double deficit hypothesis in the transparent Finnish orthography: a longitudinal study from kindergarten to Grade 2

  • Minna Torppa
  • Rauno Parrila
  • Pekka Niemi
  • Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen
  • Anna-Maija Poikkeus
  • Jari-Erik Nurmi


We examined the double deficit hypothesis (Wolf & Bowers, 1999) and literacy development in a longitudinal dataset of 1,006 Finnish children who were nonreaders at school entry. A single phonological awareness (PA) deficit was a predictor of pseudoword spelling accuracy and reading fluency, and a single rapid automatized naming (RAN) deficit was a predictor of reading fluency. The group with both PA and RAN deficits experienced the most extensive reading and spelling difficulties. However, all groups included both poor and average Grade 2 readers and spellers. Poor letter knowledge and vocabulary, task avoidance, attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and lack of teaching at home were additional risk factors for reading and spelling problems, but their impact varied depending on the presence of PA and RAN deficits.


Double deficit Phonological awareness Rapid automatized naming Reading development Spelling development 



This study was funded by a grant from the Academy of Finland for the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research (#213486 and #126043) and other grant from the same funding agency to Minna Torppa (#2106311). Funding sources have had no role in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minna Torppa
    • 1
  • Rauno Parrila
    • 2
  • Pekka Niemi
    • 3
  • Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen
    • 1
  • Anna-Maija Poikkeus
    • 1
  • Jari-Erik Nurmi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.University of TurkuTurkuFinland

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