This chapter reviews the evidence on reading development in Williams syndrome (WS) and two other genetically based neurodevelopmental disorders of language — dyslexia and Down syndrome (DS). By taking a developmental approach to the study of reading in WS and other learning difficulties, the chapter begins with a short review of the literature on typical reading development, with a focus on the role of phonological and higher oral language in early word reading development. This provides a theoretical framework to consider how and why the processes involved in typical reading development may be impaired in children with learning difficulties. An examination of the similarities and differences in phenotypic reading and cognitive-linguistic profiles across WS, DS, and dyslexia identifies possible syndrome-specific or general cognitive-linguistic factors contributing to variation in the severity of reading difficulties and outcomes. Finally, the chapter considers practical implications for reading intervention for individuals with WS.
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