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The psycholinguistics of basic literacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2002

Charles A. Perfetti
Affiliation:
Learning Research and Development CenterUniversity of Pittsburgh
Julie van Dyke
Affiliation:
University of Pittsburgh
Lesley Hart
Affiliation:
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract

We review major issues in research on reading, including theories of word reading, cross-writing system comparisons, comprehension, reading difficulties, learning how to read, and cognitive neuroscience studies of reading. Each of these topics has psycholinguistic components that reflect the language foundations of reading. These foundations lie in two facts: (1) a writing system connects to a linguistic system at one or more levels, meaning that word reading is partially a psycholinguistic process; and (2): reading comprehension shares processes (e.g., parsing) with general language comprehension. One trend of recent research is the development of models of word identification that rely on single rather than dual mechanisms and their extension to explain reading difficulties. Another is the conclusion that phonology plays a role in reading that cuts across writing systems. Reading comprehension research continues to reflect two different traditions, sentence parsing and text comprehension. Both show increasing influence of general cognitive explanations, as opposed to strictly linguistic explanations, for comprehension phenomena. Studies of brain activation bring converging evidence on reading processes and provide neuroanatomical correlates of reading problems. In one area, the acquisition and teaching of reading, advances come from increasing consolidation and practical use of previous research gains.

Type
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
Copyright
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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