The relationship between linguistic skills and arithmetic knowledge

Rose K. Vukovic, Nonie K. Lesaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Although language is implicated in children's mathematical development, few studies have focused specifically on how different linguistic skills relate to children's mathematical performance. Building on the model proposed by LeFevre et al. (2010), this study examined how general verbal ability and phonological skills were differentially related to children's arithmetic knowledge. Third grade children (N= 287) were assessed on verbal analogies, phonological decoding, symbolic number skill, procedural arithmetic, and arithmetic word problems. Using mediation analyses, the results indicated that verbal analogies were indirectly related to arithmetic knowledge through symbolic number skill, whereas phonological decoding had a direct relationship with arithmetic performance. These results suggest that general verbal ability influences how children understand and reason with numbers, whereas phonological skills are involved in executing conventional arithmetic problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Arithmetic
  • Language
  • Phonological decoding
  • Verbal ability

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