Nature and importance of the logographic phase in learning to read

Bastien-Toniazzo, Mireille; Jullien, Sandrine
March 2001
Reading & Writing;Mar2001, Vol. 14 Issue 1/2, p119
Academic Journal
The purpose of this study was to determine the nature and role of knowledge constructed by the child at the very beginning of his or her contact with printed words, i.e., during the logographic phase. The results of four experiments conducted with 5-year-olds provided no supporting evidence for global processing of words. They did suggest, however, that children rely on the letters in words, which act as word identifiers. A few letters appear to suffice, particularly if they are rare or in word-initial position. Moreover, letter order is not processed by some children. The results as a whole indicate that the letters in a word serve as its identifying visual properties as long as, for the child, the sole function of the written language is to encode meaning. This phase appears to be crucial in learning to read, since it supplies the precursors upon which later acquisitions are based.


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