University of Hertfordshire

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The involvement of long-term serial-order memory in reading development: A longitudinal study

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  • Louisa Bogaerts
  • Arnaud Szmalec
  • Marjolijn De Maeyer
  • Mike P A Page
  • Wouter Duyck
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Early online date5 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Feb 2016


Recent findings suggest that Hebb repetition learning-a paradigmatic example of long-term serial-order learning-is impaired in adults with dyslexia. The current study further investigated the link between serial-order learning and reading using a longitudinal developmental design. With this aim, verbal and visual Hebb repetition learning performance and reading skills were assessed in 96 Dutch-speaking children who we followed from first through second grade of primary school. We observed a positive association between order learning capacities and reading ability as well as weaker Hebb learning performance in early readers with poor reading skills even at the onset of reading instruction. Hebb learning further predicted individual differences in later (nonword) reading skills. Finally, Hebb learning was shown to explain a significant part of the variance in reading performance above and beyond phonological awareness. These findings highlight the role of serial-order memory in reading ability.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Louisa Bogaerts, Arnaud Szmalec, Marjolijn De Maeyer, Mike P.A. Page, Wouter Duyck, “The involvement of long-term serial-order memory in reading development: A longitudinal study”, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Vol. 145: 139-156, May 2016. This Manuscript version is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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