Healthy preschool-aged children completed MRI including a T1-weighted anatomic scan. Before MRI, TRH and assessments of rapid naming (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, Second Edition), rhyming (Pre-Reading Inventory of Phonological Awareness), vocabulary (Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition), and emergent literacy () were administered. Analyses included Spearman-ρ correlations () accounting for age, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES). MRI analyses involved whole-brain measures of cortical thickness relative to TRH scores, accounting for covariates.
Seventy children completed assessments (36-63 months old; 36 female) and 52 completed MRI (37-63 months; 29 female). TRH scores were positively correlated with Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, Second Edition ( = 0.61), Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition ( = 0.54), ( = 0.87), and Pre-Reading Inventory of Phonological Awareness scores ( = 0.64; all < .001). These correlations remained statistically significant across age, sex, and SES groups. TRH scores were correlated with greater thickness in left-sided language and visual cortex (-family-wise error <.05), which were similar for higher SES yet more bilateral and frontal for low SES, reflecting a less mature pattern (-family-wise error <.10).
These findings expand validation evidence for TRH as a screening tool for preschool-aged children, including associations with emergent skills and cortical thickness, and suggest important differences related to SES.