How Orthography Alters Spoken Language Competencies in Children Learning to Read and Spell

  • Linnea C. Ehri
Part of the Springer Series in Language and Communication book series (SSLAN, volume 17)


Pictures that allow the mind to behold invisible aspects of reality may be worth much more than the 1,000 words proclaimed in the adage, particularly to children in the midst of constructing cognitive schema to make sense of their experiences, and particularly when the picture entails a system of symbols organizing an entire dimension of experience. For example, when children learn to read printed language, they become able to visualize what they are saying and hearing. When children learn to read clocks and calendars, they acquire a visual means of representing the passage of time. When children learn to read music, they become able to visualize what is sung or played on an instrument. In each case, a visual-spatial representational system is acquired by the mind for perceiving and thinking about experiences which cannot be seen and which have temporal duration rather than physical extent as a basic property. Acquisition of a spatial model offers several potential advantages. It enables the possessor to hold onto and keep track of phenomena which themselves leave no trace or have no permanence. It imposes organization upon the phenomena by specifying units, subunits, and interrelationships which might otherwise be difficult to detect or discriminate. However, some degree of distortion or inaccuracy may also result because properties of space may not be completely isomorphic with properties of the nonspatial modality, and also because the spatial system, being a cultural invention, carries no guarantee that it is perfectly conceived.


Target Word Phonological Awareness Function Word Word Spelling Sound Structure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1984

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  • Linnea C. Ehri

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