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Matthew Effects in Reading: Some Consequences of Individual Differences in the Acquisition of Literacy

A framework conceptualizing the development of individual differences in reading ability is presented that synthesizes a great deal of the research literature. The framework places special emphasis on the effects of reading on cognitive development and on "bootstrapping" relationships involving reading.

Of key importance are the concepts of reciprocal relationships-situations where the causal connection between reading ability and the efficiency of a cognitive process is bidirectional-and organism-environmencto rrelation-the fact that differentially advantaged organisms are exposed to nonrandom distributions of environmental quality. Hypotheses are advanced to explain how these mechanisms operate to create rich-getricher and poor-get-poorer patterns of reading achievement. The framework is used to explicate some persisting problems in the literature on reading disability and to conceptualize remediation efforts in reading.

Reference: 
Stanovich, K. E. (1986). "Matthew Effects in Reading: Some Consequences of Individual Differences in the Acquisition of Literacy." Reading Research Quarterly 21(4): 360–407.


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