Schedule of Events | Search Abstracts | Symposia | Invited Symposia | Poster Sessions | Data Blitz Sessions

Poster A124

Predicting Literacy in Emergent Readers in Rural Côte d'Ivoire: A Longitudinal fNIRS Study

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Henry Brice1 (, Benjamin Zinszer2, Joelle Hannon3, Fabrice Tanoh4, Konan Nana N'Goh Anicet4, Kaja K. Jasińska1,5; 1University of Toronto, 2Swarthmore College, 3University of Delaware, 4Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Côte d’Ivoire, 5Haskins Laboratories

We will present preliminary results from a longitudinal intervention in 135 5th-graders in rural Côte d'Ivoire, utilising fNIRS to probe print and speech processing in the brain in L2 learners of Ivorian-French. Much of the study of the neural underpinnings of literacy has focused on populations from high-income countries. Côte d'Ivoire, a low-middle income country with literacy rates <50%, provides a very different perspective. Children growing up in rural Côte d'Ivoire typically speak one over 60 local languages as their L1, and only begin acquiring literacy skills in L2 French in school. Children vary greatly in the age at which they begin school, and can begin as late as 12. This presents a unique window into L2 language and literacy acquisition, both in that here, literacy is acquired relatively late and in parallel with spoken language, and without prior L1 literacy skills. Such a situation is far from rare from a global perspective, but is largely lacking from the literature. Preliminary results show that both left- and right-hemisphere activity during print processing predicts longitudinal literacy, partially mediated by attentional processes. Children who started school at a later age showed less left-lateralisation in print processing, and less neural distinction between word and pseudoword processing, even when controlling for spoken language proficiency. Furthermore, the extent of convergence of the neural activation for print and speech was highly predictive of literacy two years later. These results are discussed in the context of neurocognitive models of literacy and contextual modulators of its development.

Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging


CNS Account Login


April 13–16  |  2024