In addition to initiating research on phonological awareness, Isabelle Liberman and her colleagues raised an important question about how metaphonological abilities may reflect underlying phonological processes. As she and Donald Shankweiler have maintained, both reading and phonological awareness tasks draw on the phonological component of the language apparatus. Therefore, if one had basic limitations in creating and using phonological representations, these limitations could impede discovery of the phonological structure of words and delay mastery of an alphabetic writing system. Working from this theoretical framework, Liberman and Shankweiler were among the first to document that the deficits of poor readers extend to other phonological processes. The function most widely studied has been verbal working memory. As Brady notes in the lead chapter, whereas there is wide- spread consensus that working memory processes are importantly related to reading performance, there is no general agreement concerning the nature of the relationship. The chapters in this section reflect the active interest in this question, and the diversity of opinion.
Brady begins her chapter by reviewing the considerable evidence that deficits in a specifically verbal form of working memory are associated with reading problems and emphasizes the need to examine the factors that contribute to verbal working memory performance. She argues that both longitu