The Connections between Language and Reading Disabilities

The Connections between Language and Reading Disabilities

The Connections between Language and Reading Disabilities

The Connections between Language and Reading Disabilities

Synopsis

This book is based on papers presented at a 2003 invitee-only conference. The participants were prominent scholars in the areas of language and reading. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss theoretical issues and research findings concerning the relationship between developmental language and reading disabilities, specifically looking at neurological, behavioural, and genetic factors.

Excerpt

It was indeed an honor to have been invited to the 2003 Merrill Conference on the connections between language and reading disabilities in Tempe, Arizona, and an even greater honor to have been asked to write the foreword to this collection of superb chapters. I have been an avid reader of the scholarly volumes that have served to summarize the scientific deliberations at previous Merrill conferences sponsored by the University of Kansas as they have addressed important topics ranging from developmental language disorders to the influence of aging on communication and language form and function.

To be sure, however, my scientific and clinical interests are more aligned with the contents of this book as I continue to believe that the ability to read proficiently represents not only the human attainment of a complex cognitive and linguistic enterprise, but also reflects a critical ability that is essential to realizing one's potential in life—a potential that is stripped away by reading failure. Why? Because reading proficiency is the most fundamental skill critical to most, if not all, academic learning and success in school. No doubt, mathematics, social studies, science, and other content domains are essential for academic and intellectual development, but learning specific information relevant to these disciplines is extraordinarily difficult if you cannot read. Moreover, in the United States, the ability to read is significantly related to one's quality of life. In contrast to three decades ago, there are limited vocational and occupational options available to the struggling reader. It is literally impossible to com-

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