Neural Correlates of Reading Comprehension in Typical and Struggling Readers: A Multimodal Neuroimaging Study

Principal Investigators:

Jenifer Juranek, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Jack M. Fletcher, Ph.D., University of Houston

Jessica Church-Lang, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Funding Agency:

National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development

Description of Project:

This study investigates the functional and structural neural mechanisms of reading comprehension in typical and struggling readers using a multimodal neuroimaging approach. Three major aims of this project are described below:

  1. Characterize features of brain structure and function supporting sentence comprehension and executive functions in school-aged children
  2. Examine the predictive value of pre-intervention multimodal neuroimaging data for subsequent response to reading intervention
  3. Investigate functional changes in brain organization following an intensive reading intervention program

Neuroimaging data is acquired in a pre-intervention session occurring before an in school intensive reading intervention program. Following completion of the reading intervention, participants return to complete an additional post-intervention MRI session.

Children between the ages of 8-12 years participated in this investigation. During functional data acquisition, participants are given reading and executive function tasks while their brains are scanned in a 3T Siemens MRI scanner. In addition to functional data acquisition, structural scans are also collected.

This project will promote novel directions in cognitive neuroscience research by combining multimodal imaging methodologies in order to identify features of brain organization that are crucial for typical development of reading comprehension ability and features associated with successful intervention outcomes.

Participants:

Children between the ages of 8-12 years participated in this investigation. Children were recruited from public school districts in Houston and Austin. 

Research Sites:

University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, UTHealth, and Baylor College of Medicine.