How Word Meaning Influences Word Reading

Joanne Taylor, Fiona Duff, Anna Woollams, Padraic Monaghan, Jessie Ricketts

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Understanding how we read is a fundamental question for psychology, with critical implications for education. Studies of word reading tend to focus on the mappings between the written and spoken forms of words. In this article, we review evidence from developmental, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and computational studies that show that knowledge of word meanings is inextricably involved in word reading. Consequently, models of reading must better specify the role of meaning in skilled reading and its acquisition. Further, our review paves the way for educationally realistic research to confirm whether explicit teaching of oral vocabulary improves word reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-328
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • reading
  • learning
  • phonology
  • orthography
  • semantics

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