The Cognitive Development of Reading and Reading Comprehension

Chancellor's Professor Carol M. Connor has edited a new book, The Cognitive Development of Reading and Reading Comprehension, published by Routledge (2016).


Learning to read may be the most complex cognitive operation that children are expected to master, and the latest research in cognitive development has offered important insights into how children succeed or fail at this task. The Cognitive Development of Reading and Reading Comprehension is a multidisciplinary, evidence-based resource for teachers and researchers that examines reading comprehension from a cognitive development perspective, including the principal theories and methods used in the discipline. The book combines research into basic cognitive processes―genetics, perception, memory, executive functioning, and language―with an investigation of the effects that context and environment have on literacy outcomes, making clear how factors such as health, family life, community, policy, and ecology can influence children’s cognitive development.

In addition to serving as editor, Professor Connor, Andre D. Mansion (ASU), and Greg J. Duncan have authored Chapter 11: Policy and Community Influences on Learning to Read (pp. 149-165).

Chapter 11 Abstract

In the United States, providing public education has been held as one of the most important functions of the federal, state, and local governments (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954). Education is not only important for the acquisition of knowledge, but is the foundation for the performance of our public responsibilities, professional training, and good citizenship (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954). At the heart of the educational experience is the process of learning to read (Common Core State Standards Initiative, CCSSI, 2010). Basic literacy is important because it provides the foundation for social communication, the achievement of goals, and cognitive growth, as well as a multitude of other important life experiences and outcomes. Fields such as cognitive and educational psychology have long been aware of the importance of teaching children to read (Stanovich, 2000). These fields are constantly developing new approaches to improve reading instruction (see, e.g., Connor, Morrison, Fishman, Cameron Ponitz, Glasney, Underwood, Piasta, Crowe, & Schatschneider, 2009). However, the governments that legislate scholastic policy, as well as the educational institutions that provide children with reading instruction, have only slowly utilized the innovative approaches suggested by these fields.