From illiteracy to literacy in adulthood: A microlongitudinal study

[Speaker] Kolinsky, Régine:1
[Co-author] Franco, Ana:2, Leite, Isabel:3, Carvalho, Cristina:5, Fernandes, Tânia:4, Calcus, Axelle:6, Morais, José:2
1:Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique-FNRS, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), 2:Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), 3:Universidade de Evora (Portugal), 4:Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), 5:None (Portugal), 6:Boston University (United States of America)

Little is known about literacy acquisition in adults. Yet, our former studies suggest that the majority of the changes induced by literacy in children also occur in adulthood. Based on this observation as well as on what we know from developmental studies on reading acquisition, we designed an intensive literacy course in which each difficulty (either phonological or visual) of the alphabetic code is introduced in turn in lessons dedicated to overcoming it.
We applied this course for 3½ months to 9 adult Portuguese illiterates. They were tested five times: two before starting the course (pre-tests), two during the course, and just after they completed the course. We tracked their evolution in reading and writing, metaphonology, memory for spoken nonwords, speech in noise perception, and visual abilities, including mirror-image discrimination.
Most participants learned to read and write and showed associated enhancements in several domains, in particular in phonological skills.
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