Task-based neuroimaging studies face the challenge of developing tasks capable of equivalently probing reading networks across different age groups. Resting-state fMRI, which requires no specific task, circumvents these difficulties. Here, in 25 children (8-14 years) and 25 adults (21-46 years), we examined the extent to which individual differences in reading competence can be related to resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of regions implicated in reading. In both age groups, reading standard scores correlated positively with RSFCbetween the left precentral gyrusandothermotorregions, andbetweenBroca's andWernicke's areas.Thissuggeststhat,regardless of age group, stronger coupling among motor regions,as wellasbetween language/speech regions, subserves better reading, presumably reflecting automatized articulation. We also observed divergent RSFC-behavior relationships in children and adults, particularly those anchored in the left fusiform gyrus (FFG) (the visual word form area). In adults, but not children, better reading performance was associated with stronger positive correlations between FFG and phonology-related regions (Broca's area and the left inferior parietal lobule), and with stronger negative relationships between FFG and regions of the "task-negative" default network. These results suggest that both positive RSFC (functional coupling) between reading regions and negative RSFC (functional segregation) between a reading region and default network regions are important for automatized reading, characteristic of adult readers. Together, our task-independent RSFC findings highlight the importance of appreciating developmental changes in the neural correlates of reading competence, and suggest that RSFC may serve to facilitate the identification of reading disorders in different age groups.
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