Developmental Dyslexia

Posted: 1 Apr 2015

See all articles by Robin Peterson

Robin Peterson

Children's Hospital Colorado - Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

Bruce Pennington

University of Denver - Psychology

Date Written: March 2015


This review uses a levels-of-analysis framework to summarize the current understanding of developmental dyslexia's etiology, brain bases, neuropsychology, and social context. Dyslexia is caused by multiple genetic and environmental risk factors as well as their interplay. Several candidate genes have been identified in the past decade. At the brain level, dyslexia is associated with aberrant structure and function, particularly in left hemisphere reading/language networks. The neurocognitive influences on dyslexia are also multifactorial and involve phonological processing deficits as well as weaknesses in other oral language skills and processing speed. We address contextual issues such as how dyslexia manifests across languages and social classes as well as what treatments are best supported. Throughout the review, we highlight exciting new research that cuts across levels of analysis. Such work promises eventually to provide a comprehensive explanation of the disorder as well as its prevention and remediation.

Suggested Citation

Peterson, Robin and Pennington, Bruce, Developmental Dyslexia (March 2015). Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 11, pp. 283-307, 2015, Available at SSRN: or

Robin Peterson (Contact Author)

Children's Hospital Colorado - Department of Rehabilitation Medicine ( email )

Aurora, CO 80045
United States

Bruce Pennington

University of Denver - Psychology ( email )

Frontier Hall
2155 S. Race St.
Denver, CO 80208
United States

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