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The development of decoding skills has traditionally been viewed as a stage-like process during which children's reading strategies change as a consequence of the acquisition of phonological awareness. More explicit accounts of the mechanisms involved in learning to read are provided by recent connectionist models in which children learn mappings initially between orthography and phonology, and later between orthography, phonology and semantics. Evidence from studies of reading development suggests that learning to read is determined primarily by the status of a child's phonological representations and is therefore compromised in dyslexic children who have phonological deficits. Children who have language impairments encompassing deficits in semantic representations have qualitatively different reading problems centring on difficulties with reading comprehension and in learning to read exception words.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Cogn Sci

Publication Date





88 - 91