Phonological Processes in Literacy: A Tribute to Isabelle Y. Liberman

By Susan A. Brady; Donald P. Shankweiler et al. | Go to book overview

But our data suggest an even stronger conclusion. Although there are no skilled Chinese or Phoenicians, there are semiskilled readers who might be called Phoenician (because they know the cipher but lack word-specific information). But there is no Chinese counterpart: There are no readers of English (or, we suspect, of any other alphabetic orthography) who are even semiskilled without knowing the cipher. If a leader does not have the cipher, he can only be a poor reader.

We conclude, then, that the cipher is the basis of reading ability in English. It is not one of two equivalent mechanisms for word recognition, two equal partners in the practice of reading. The cipher is the basic mechanism, the senior partner. To be sure, it is not enough; it must have help. By itself, the cipher will fail to recognize many (perhaps a majority) of the words in English. So further information, word-specific information, must also be acquired. But that information must be added to the cipher, and the cipher supports the whole endeavor. Reading ability in our language, like its orthography, begins in Phoenicia.


REFERENCES

Baron J. ( 1979). "Orthographic and word-specific knowledge in children's reading of words". Child Development, 50, 60-72.

Baron J., & Strawson C. ( 1976). "Use of orthographic and word-specific knowledge in reading words aloud". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 2, 386-393.

Baron J., & Treiman R. ( 1980). "Use of orthography in reading and learning to read". In J. F. Kavanagh & R. L. Venezky (Eds.), Orthography, reading and dyslexia. Baltimore: University Park Press.

Baron J., Treiman R., Wilf J., & Kellman P. ( 1980). "Reading and spelling by rules". In U. Frith (Ed.), Cognitive processes in spelling. New York: Academic Press.

Coltheart M. ( 1978). "Lexical access in simple reading tasks". In G. Underwood (Ed.), Strategies of information processing. London: Academic Press.

Coltheart M., Patterson K., & Marshall J. C. ( 1980). Deep dyslexia. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Funnell G. ( 1983). "Phonological processes in reading: New evidence from acquired dyslexia". British Journal of Psychology, 74, 159-180.

Gough P. B., & Hillinger M. L. ( 1980). "Learning to read: An unnatural act". Bulletin of the Orion Society, 30, 179-936.

Gough P. B., & Juel C. ( 1989). "The first stages of word recognition". In L. Rieben & C. Perfetti (Eds.), L'apprenti lecteur -- Recherches empiriques et implications pedagogiques (pp. 85-102). Neuchatel et Paris: Delachaux et Niestle.

Gough P. B., Juel C., & Roper-Schneider D. ( 1983). "Code and cipher: A two-stage conception of initial reading acquisition". In J. A. Niles & L. A. Harris (Eds.), Searches for meaning in reading/language processing and interaction. (32nd Yearbook of the National Reading Conference.) Rochester, NY: National Reading Conference.

Gough P. B., & Tunmer W. E. ( 1986). "Decoding, reading, and reading disability". Remedial and Special Education, 7, 6-10.

Healy J. M. ( 1982). The enigma of hyperlexia. Reading Research Quarterly, 17, 319-338.

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