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CiteWeb id: 19870000105

CiteWeb score: 3308

DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.101.2.192

Three bodies of research that have developed in relative isolation center on each of three kinds of phonological processing: phonological awareness, awareness of the sound structure of language; phonological receding in lexical access, receding written symbols into a sound-based representational system to get from the written word to its lexical referent; and phonetic receding in working memory, recoding written symbols into a sound-based representational system to maintain them efficiently in working memory. In this review we integrate these bodies of research and address the interdependent issues of the nature of phonological abilities and their causal roles in the acquisition of reading skills. Phonological ability seems to be general across tasks that purport to measure the three kinds of phonological processing, and this generality apparently is independent of general cognitive ability. However, the generality of phonological ability is not complete, and there is an empirical basis for distinguishing phonological awareness and phonetic recoding in working memory. Our review supports a causal role for phonological awareness in learning to read, and suggests the possibility of similar causal roles for phonological recoding in lexical access and phonetic recoding in working memory. Most researchers have neglected the probable causal role of learning to read in the development of phonological skills. It is no longer enough to ask whether phonological skills play a causal role in the acquisition of reading skills. The question now is which aspects of phonological processing (e.g., awareness, recoding in lexical access, recoding in working memory) are causally related to which aspects of reading (e.g., word recognition, word analysis, sentence comprehension), at which point in their codevelopment, and what are the directions of these causal relations?

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