Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Reading acquisition: Reading acquisition in psychology refers to the process of learning to understand and interpret written language. This complex cognitive process involves developing skills such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. See also Learning, Learning theories, Language acquisition, Reading, Phonetics, Phonology, Writing, Understanding, Language development, Language.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Psychological Theories on Reading Acquisition - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 99
Reading acquisition/psychological theories/Upton: One of the other major advantages of the written word is the way it enhances our cognitive functioning. Writing things down can be a great memory aid(…). In this way, writing is able to enhance our cognitive processes (Menary, 2007)(1). By learning to read and write, the child is also able to become an active participant in the socio-cultural world of which he or she is a member (Nelson, 1996)(2).
Reading is not automatic ((s) other than listening).
A. Phonics approach:
In order to learn to read, the child must develop a conscious awareness that the letters on the page represent the sounds of the spoken word. This happens through either a bottom-up or top-down process. In a bottom-up process we learn to spell out each phoneme and build up the word. To read the word ‘cat’, the word must first be split into its basic phonological elements.Once the word is in its phonological form, it can be identified and understood.
B. Whole language approach:
In a top-down process the whole word is recognised by its overall visual appearance. There is much debate
Upton I 100
about which approach is best, but the evidence suggests that children use and benefit from both strategies (Siegler, 1986(3); Vacca et al., 2006(4)). Once the word is identified, higher-level cognitive functions such as intelligence and vocabulary are applied to understand the word’s meaning (…).
Many children may also know the letters of the alphabet when they first start school. These children tend to be more successful in learning to read than those who have not learned the alphabet. (Adams, 1990)(5).
Children with a greater knowledge of nursery rhymes show a much better phonemic awareness (Maclean et al., 1987)(6). It seems that rhymes allow children to discover phonemes.
Upton i 101
Writing: Writing and reading are closely related and, some would say, inseparable. However, in addition to the cognitive and linguistic skills that children need for reading, in order to write, children also need to have developed fine motor skills. Studies of children with specific learning difficulties have highlighted the joint occurrence of motor and language difficulties (Viholainen et al., 2002)(7). Indeed, the observed prevalence of motor problems in children with developmental language problems has been estimated to be somewhere between 60 and 90 per cent (Viholainen et al., 2002)(7). One possible explanation for this co-morbidity is that motor and language problems share a common underlying neuro-cognitive system.
, >Learning/Deacon, >Language/Deacon, >Reading acquisition/Neuroimaging.

1. Menary, R (2007) Cognitive Integration: Mind and cognition unbounded. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
2. Nelson, K (1996) Language in Cognitive Development: The emergence of the mediated mind. New York: Cambridge University Press.
3. Siegler, RS (1986) Children’s Thinking. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
4. Vacca, JL, Vacca, RT, Gove, MK, Burkey, RC and Lenhart, LA (2006) Reading and Learning to Read (6th edn). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
5. Adams, MJ (1990) Beginning to Read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
6. Maclean, M, Bryant, P, and Bradley, L (1987) Rhymes, nursery rhymes, and reading in early childhood. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 33: 255–81.
7. Viholainen, H, Ahonen, T, Cantell, M, Lyytinen, P and Lyytinen, H (2002) Development of early motor skills and language in children at risk for familial dyslexia. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 44: 761–9.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011

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