Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Rose Sevcik

Second Advisor

Dr. Robin Morris

Third Advisor

Dr. MaryAnn Romski

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Wing-Yi Chan


There is high comorbidity between reading disabilities and mathematical learning difficulties, yet the reasons behind this comorbidity has not been determined. Research, however, have suggested some correlates including linguistic abilities and executive functioning skills that influence mathematical skills. A comprehensive examination of how these factors relate to mathematical ability has not been determined. This study aims to investigates the possible influence of cognitive functioning, verbal skills, and reading skills, on the arithmetic competency of second and third graders with reading disabilities between the ages of 78 and 102 months. The data utilized in this study were from a longitudinal project which evaluated the effectiveness of various reading intervention programs. The first objective of this present study was to explore how performance on basic and advanced mathematical concepts related to verbal skills and reading skills. The results generally did not illustrate any differences in the way these constructs related to the mathematical concepts. The second objective of the study was to analyze the influence of verbal skills, reading skills, and cognitive functioning skills, on the mathematical ability in children, and to develop a parsimonious model of mathematical ability for children with reading disabilities. Various models were assessed using path analyses. The two-construct model of verbal skills and mathematical skills was determined to be the best model describing the mathematical skills of children with reading disabilities. Supplementary analyses were conducted which clarified the various constructs’ relationship to specific mathematical concepts. These analyses provided understanding to the impact of verbal skills, as well as other constructs’, influence on specific mathematical concepts. The findings of this study have important educational implications and provide insight on more effective methods for developing the mathematical skills of children with reading disabilities. Finally, these findings foster future research in determining more effective interventions methodologies for children with reading disabilities.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 16, 2019