Language Development and Learning to Read: The Scientific Study of How Language Development Affects Reading Skill

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Overview

Research on reading has tried, and failed, to account for wide disparities in reading skill even among children taught by the same method. Why do some children learn to read easily and quickly while others, in the same classroom and taught by the same teacher, don't learn to read at all? In Language Development and Learning to Read, Diane McGuinness examines scientific research that might explain these disparities. She focuses on reading predictors,analyzing the effect individual differences in specific perceptual, linguistic, and cognitive skills may have on a child's ability to read. Because of the serious methodological problems she finds in the existing research on reading, many of the studies McGuinness cites come from other fields —developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, and the speech and hearing sciences — and provide a new perspective on which language functions matter most for reading and academic success.

McGuinness first examines the phonological development theory — the theory that phonological awareness follows a developmental path from words to syllables to phonemes— which has dominated reading research for thirty years, and finds that research evidence from other disciplines does not support the theory. McGuinness then looks at longitudinal studies on the development of general language function, and finds a "tantalizing connection" between core language functions and reading success. Finally, she analyzes mainstream reading research, which links reading ability to specific language skills, and the often flawed methodology used in these studies.

McGuinness's analysis shows the urgent need for a shift in our thinking about how to achieve reading success.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262633406
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 8/11/2006
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane McGuinness is a reading consultant and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at theUniversity of South Florida. She is the author of Why Our Children Can't Read and What WeCan Do about It, Early Reading Instruction (MIT Press, 2004), and other books on reading and learning.

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Table of Contents

1 The origin of the theory of phonological development 21
2 Development of receptive language in the first year of life 43
3 Speech perception after 3 59
4 Links : auditory analysis, speech production, and phonological awareness 81
5 Young children's analysis of language 111
6 What is phoneme awareness and does it matter? 127
7 The development of expressive language 153
8 The impact of general language skills on reading and academic success 173
9 An introduction to reading research : some pitfalls 211
10 Auditory and speech perception and reading 227
11 Methodological issues in research on general language and reading 245
12 Vocabulary and reading 263
13 Verbal memory and reading 283
14 Syntax and reading 329
15 Naming speed and reading 359
16 Slow readers : how slow is slow? 391
17 Summary : what do we know for sure? 409
App. 1 Methodological problems in studies by Tallal et al 427
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