SAGE Journals

Reading Development in Children With Nonsyndromic Cleft Palate With or Without Cleft Lip: Meta-analysis and Systematic Review

Posted on 2021-09-14 - 12:07

We conducted a meta-analysis and systematic review of literature comparing pre-reading and general reading in school-age children with nonsyndromic cleft palate with or without cleft lip (NSCP/L) to their peers without NSCP/L.


Our literature search identified 1238 possible records. After screening we identified 11 samples for inclusion for systematic review and eight for meta-analysis. We compared 292 children with NSCP/L to 311 peers for 23 pre-reading effect sizes and 17 general reading effect sizes (EFg). We conducted a random-effects metaregression using robust variance estimation.


On average school-age children with NSCP/L scored lower on pre-reading (EFg = −0.36) and general reading measures (EFg = −0.38) compared to their peers. We conducted post-hoc analyses on phonological awareness and word decoding effect sizes; children with NSCP/L performed lower on phonological awareness (EFg = −0.22) and word decoding (EFg = −0.39) compared to their peers. There was weak evidence that hearing status and/or speech-language functioning might moderate reading development. There was limited evidence that age or socioeconomic status moderated reading development. However, samples did not consistently report several characteristics that were coded for this project.


Our findings suggest that school-age children with NSCP/L have persistent reading problems. Further research is needed to explore reading development in children with NSCP/L, as well as the relationships among hearing, speech, language, and reading development.


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The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal


Hope Sparks Lancaster
Kari M. Lien
Jordan Haas
Paige Ellis
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