Reading, Development of

Cláudia Cardoso-Martins & Linnea C. Ehri

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Reading, Development of

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  • One of the great mysteries to challenge reading researchers is how people achieve proficiency in reading and comprehending text. Skilled readers can focus their attention and thought on the meaning of the text, while the mechanics of reading operate unobtrusively. A major contributor to this skill is sight-word reading, that is, the ability to read words as single units quickly and automatically from memory. Sight-word reading requires the ability to store in memory the spellings, pronunciations, and meanings of thousands of individual words and is considered the hallmark of skilled reading. In what follows, we examine the development of sight word reading, with special attention to the processes that drive learning in alphabetic orthographies, especially in English. As will be apparent, learning to read words ...

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