Being able to read is very important in our literate society. Many studies, therefore, have examined children’s reading skills
to improve our understanding of reading development. In general, there have been two types of studies. On the one hand, there
is a line of research that focuses on the development of the reading system. According to prominent theories of reading development,
there is a gradual shift in the reading processes underlying word identification from initial serial reading strategies, such
as sounding out letters one-by-one, toward the ability to process letters in parallel and retrieve whole word pronunciations
from memory. On the other hand, there are studies that examined cognitive skills that foster reading performance. Phonological
skills, more specifically phonological awareness and rapid naming, for example, have been shown to be important predictors
of reading development. The majority of these studies, however, focused on the relation of cognitive skills with the outcome
of the reading system in terms of reading speed or accuracy. Surprisingly few studies have focused on the relations with the
processes underlying word identification. The studies in the current dissertation were aimed at bridging the gap between studies
that focused on the development of reading processes, and studies that examined cognitive skills that foster reading development.
findings of the current studies have important implications for our understanding of the nature of the relations of visual
attention span and rapid naming with reading. Furthermore, the results do not fit with current models of reading processes
and thus call for a new model of the reading system.
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