White matter pathways in reading

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Apr;17(2):258-70. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.03.006. Epub 2007 Mar 26.


Skilled reading requires mapping of visual text to sound and meaning. Because reading relies on neural systems spread across the brain, a full understanding of this cognitive ability involves the identification of pathways that communicate information between these processing regions. In the past few years, diffusion tensor imaging has been used to identify correlations between white matter properties and reading skills in adults and children. White matter differences have been found in left temporo-parietal areas and in posterior callosal tracts. We review these findings and relate them to possible pathways that are important for various aspects of reading. We describe how the results from diffusion tensor imaging can be integrated with functional results in good and poor readers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Reading*