Head and Coordination


  • Anna-Lena Preßler, Dipl.-Psych.
  • Maria Worgt, Dipl.-Psych.



11/2008 - 06/2014

Project ANNA

Working Memory and School Readiness

The project ANNA focused on precursor skills that are central to the learning of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

In recent years, numerous studies in educational research have shown that children enter school equipped with already existing important prior knowledge. This knowledge facilitates the learning of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Kindergarten children who notice, for instance, that words are composed of individual sounds have less difficulty in the acquisition of reading and writing skills. Kindergarten children who have a good grasp of the link between numbers and quantities experience less difficulty in acquiring school mathematics.

The goal of this long-term study was to show whether kindergarten children with particular impairments of the subsystems of their working memory are more often among those children who show later difficulty in the acquisition of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was assumed that kindergarten children with impairments in their phonological working memory, carry a particular risk for subsequent difficulties in reading and writing, but not in arithmetic. Kindergarten children with impairments of their visual-spatial working memory, should carry a high risk of developing arithmetic difficulties, but should develop no difficulties in reading and writing. It was the central concern of the project ANNA to clarify the extent to which these hypotheses are valid.

Selected Publications

Krajewski, K., & Schneider, W. (2009). Early development of quantity to number-word linkage as a precursor of mathematical school achievement and mathematical difficulties: Findings from a four-year longitudinal study. Learning and Instruction, 19, 513–526.

Preßler, A.-L., Könen, T., Hasselhorn, M., & Krajewski, K. (2014). Cognitive preconditions of early reading and spelling: A latent-variable approach with longitudinal data. Reading and Writing, 27, 383–406. doi:10.1007/s11145-013-9449-0

Preßler, A.-L., Krajewski, K., & Hasselhorn, M. (2013). Working memory capacity in preschool children contributes to the acquisition of school relevant precursor skills. Learning and Individual Differences, 23, 138–144. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2012.10.005