Date of this Version
Brain and Behavior 2014; 4(6): 886–902
Introduction: Dyslexia is characterized by slow, inaccurate reading. Previous studies have shown that the Reading Acceleration Program (RAP) improves reading speed and accuracy in children and adults with dyslexia and in typical readers across different orthographies. However, the effect of the RAP on the neural circuitry of reading has not been established. In the current study, we examined the effect of the RAP training on regions of interest in the neural circuitry for reading using a lexical decision task during fMRI in children with reading difficulties and typical readers. Methods: Children (8–12 years old) with reading difficulties and typical readers were studied before and after 4 weeks of training with the RAP in both groups. Results: In addition to improvements in oral and silent contextual reading speed, training-related gains were associated with increased activation of the left hemisphere in both children with reading difficulties and typical readers. However, only children with reading difficulties showed improvements in reading comprehension, which were associated with significant increases in right frontal lobe activation. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate differential effects of the RAP on neural circuits supporting reading in both children with reading difficulties and typical readers and suggest that the intervention may stimulate use of typical neural circuits for reading and engage compensatory pathways to support reading in the developing brain of children with reading difficulties.