Dr. Marina Kalashnikova (Western Sydney University) will give a talk entitled “Learning to speak – learning to read: Early precursors of literacy skills” (abstract below) on Tuesday, March 21 at 10:30 am. The talk will take place in the Suedfeld Lounge (room 2510) in the Kenny Building (2136 West Mall). All are welcome!
Abstract: Reading and writing skills are essential for achieving successful communication in today’s society. However, approximately 10% of children who are affected by dyslexia or other problems with reading have significant difficulty developing these skills. Dyslexia has a neurodevelopmental basis and is characterised by specific deficits in reading and spelling, but is quite independent of an individual’s educational level or general intelligence. Further research has helped to define additional genetic, neural, and cognitive characteristics of dyslexia but, over decades of work, its aetiology continues to be debated. In this talk, I will introduce the Seeds of Literacy project that focuses on investigating auditory and linguistic skills that could be determinants of early literacy.
I will present preliminary findings of this longitudinal project, which tracks the development of two groups of infants from 5 months until 5 years of age: infants at-risk for dyslexia and infants not at-risk for dyslexia. Our focus is to assess the factors from the child (e.g., early auditory and speech perception skills) and from the child’s environment (e.g., early speech input) that are manifested differently across the two groups in the first years of life, and that could be the earliest precursors of later literacy skills.