A Cross-Language Perspective on Learning to Read

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Across the world there are many varieties of written language. Various orthographies are constructed on distinct principles and present linguistic information in diverse forms. European languages, such as English, employ an alphabetic writing system in which the elements represent minimal units of sound. There are, however, other writing systems, notably Chinese, in which the symbols most directly encode meaning. Because of these differences, it is useful to carry out reading research across languages. Such research can reveal both universal and orthography-specific processes important for learning to read, which in turn can help to build a genuinely comprehensive theory of how people learn to read and comprehend written information. At a personal level, in addition to satisfying curiosity about other languages and the challenges faced by children learning other languages, a cross-language perspective can help to make the familiar strange, calling to our attention features of our own language that we otherwise take for granted, presenting them in a new light so that we more fully appreciate their significance.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Literacy Development
Subtitle of host publicationA Global View
EditorsAnne McKeough, Linda M Phillips, Vianne Timmons, Judy Lee Lupart
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)0805851151, 9781410613332
StatePublished - Jul 7 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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