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Learning to read: The role of the phonological loop.
Baddeley, A.D. & Gathercole, S.
In J. Alegria, D. Holender, J. Jun├ža de Morais & M. Radeau (Eds.), Analytic Approaches to Human Cognition (pp. 153-167). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.
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The frequent observation that children with a specific reading disability typically have reduced digit span raises the possibility that short-term phonological memory may play a role in learning to read. Two studies are described which explore the relationship between reading and a range of variables including nonword repetition, nonverbal intelligence, vocabulary and age. A longitudinal study tested the same children at ages four, five and six, observing a consistent association between IQ and reading. Nonword repetition has an effect that peaks after about one year; this is assumed to be associated with the acquisition of letter-sound correspondences. A second cross-sectional study added two further measures, namely digit span and a rhyme judgment task. Two separate measures of reading gave somewhat different results, with single word reading replicating the previous finding, while a multiple-choice task in which subjects pointed to a word matching the name of a picture showed clearer association with rhyme judgment. It is concluded that phonological memory probably constitutes one of a range of factors responsible for the complex task of learning to read.