Consistency of Reading-Related Phonological Processes Throughout Early Childhood: Evidence From Longitudinal–Correlational and Instructional Studies
In this chapter, we address a question of central importance in understanding individual differences in the ease with which children learn to read. We take as a starting point the widely accepted observation that the critical problem for most children with serious reading disabilities involves learning accurate and fluent word identification skills (Rack, Snowling, & Olson, 1992; Stanovich, 1988). We also take as established fact that a primary cause of variability among children in the rate at which they acquire word reading skill is variation "in the phonological component of their natural capacity for language" (Liberman, Shankweiler, & Liberman, 1989, p. 1). The question we address in this chapter is whether reading-related phonological skills display sufficient stability across the period of early reading development to qualify as a proximal cause of a learning difficulty that is as resistant to treatment as reading disabilities often prove to be.