LINGUIST List 16.1026

Mon Apr 04 2005

Books: Applied Ling/Lang Acq/Psycholing: McGuinness

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        1.    David Weininger, Language Development and Learning to Read: McGuinness

Message 1: Language Development and Learning to Read: McGuinness

Date: 14-Mar-2005
From: David Weininger <>
Subject: Language Development and Learning to Read: McGuinness

Fund Drive 2005 is now on! Visit to donate now!
Title: Language Development and Learning to Read
Subtitle: The Scientific Study of How Language Development Affects Reading Skill
Series Title: Bradford Books
Published: 2005
Publisher: MIT Press

Book URL:

Author: Diane McGuinness
Hardback: ISBN: 0262134527 Pages: 480 Price: U.S. $ 45

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, psycholingusitics, 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 that 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.

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

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Written In: English (ENG )

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