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Age of Initial Word Recognition Important to Later Reading Skills

Posted May 07 2009 8:54pm

Here’s an interesting article regarding the importance of timing when it comes to learning to read.  The article discusses how, in the past, researchers have found different patterns of reading in different studies, for which there was no explanation, at least until now.  This article discusses the finding that when a child learns a word is important in terms of that child’s later reading pattern.  From the article:

She said: “Children read differently from adults, but as they grow older, they develop the same reading patterns. When adults read words they learned when they were younger, they recognize them faster and more accurately than those they learned later in life.”

Talk about yet another incentive to get your kids reading early!  The more words they are able to instinctualize early, the less effort they expend on those same words as adults.  What I mean by instinctualize (not a real word, I know) is that, like learning to read music, one doesn’t need to “think” about the word (or note), they instinctually know it, through repetition and use.  Also similar, it seems, to many physical activities.  This makes intuitive sense, and I’m surprised this data point wasn’t controlled for in the past.  Seems the bottom line is that learning words earlier allows for improved reading later on, in part due to the ability to internalize the definitions, and therefore read more efficiently.  

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