Current Research

Visual attention and reading difficulty

We are examining the roles that visual processes play in reading success and failure, and to determine how reciprocal influences of visual and phonological components in early literacy change with improved reading skill. In addition, we examine motion detection sensitivity and speed of visual processing as predictors of early acquisition of the alphabetic principle, spelling rules, and automatic word recognition, and on later reading skill in typical and struggling readers. Our longitudinal research shows rates of improvement in visual abilities and reading achievement are distinctly different for children at risk of reading difficulty: 

Current Studies

1. Brain activity and visual attention in struggling readers. We are studying brain wave patterns associate with visual attention in typical and struggling readers

2. Tracking the development of visual processes in typical and struggling readers. We are beginning a five-year longitudinal study of visual attention and reading acquisition, tracking 250 children from Kindergarten to Grade 4, a period of early literacy learning and visual/neurological maturation. Each semester, measurements of sensitivity to language sounds, rapid naming, orthographic (spelling) knowledge, word attack skills, word recognition, and visual processes will be made. Both behavioural and eye-tracking data will be collected, as will encephalographic (EEG) patterns during visual and reading tasks.

Morphological processes in typical and struggling readers.

Current studies:

  1. We are examining several aspects of morphological processing in typical and struggling reader to trace the involvement of morphological awareness, morphological analysis, and compound morphological processes.

  2. Morpho-orthographic processing involves automatic parsing of complex words in the first moments of word recognition. We are examining ERP patterns in typical and struggling readers during the initial moments of word recognition to understand how different brain regions are involved based on differences in reading ability.

Research Briefs

Morphological Awareness (Rebecca Madziak, MA student)

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Funding Sources