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Comorbid Word Reading and Mathematics Computation Difficulty at Start of First Grade.

The purpose of this analysis was to describe cognitive processes associated with comorbid difficulty between word reading (WR) and mathematics computation (MC) at the start of first grade among children selected for WR and MC delays. A sample of 234 children (mean age 6.50 years, SD = 0.31) was assessed on WR, MC, core cognitive processes (phonological processing, rapid automatized naming, verbal counting [VC]), and domain-general cognitive processes (working memory, oral language, nonverbal reasoning, attentive behavior). Structural equation modeling was used to predict a latent Comorbidity factor, which modeled shared variance between WR and MC, and to identify processes associated with that Comorbidity factor. Results identified each of the core cognitive processes, especially VC, and each of the domain-general cognitive processes, especially working memory, as explaining shared variance between WR and MC. Implications for understanding comorbid difficulty at the start of first grade and designing coordinated first-grade interventions are discussed.

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