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March 01, 2010

Research shows it is particularly important to read to children who are learning English

Mother-And-Child-Reading.jpgNew research carried out with children of various countries learning their native languages has important implications for teachers of English as a foreign or second language. The research, which was carried out at the University of Alberta, shows that it is more important for adults to read books to children learning English than to children learning some other languages. George Georgiou, the head of the research team, says this is because English is an orthographically inconsistent language - letters can have more than one sound each.

Georgiou notes that students are able to learn to read faster in languages such as Greek and Finnish, because there is one-to-one correspondence between a letter and its sounds. This difference with English, implies that Greek or Finnish adults do not need to read as frequently to children to give them an edge on learning the language. He stresses that a rich literacy environment is more necessary when learning English than when learning an orthographically consistent language.

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