An Inaugural Professorial Lecture
`How do children come to be able to look at any word, whether it is presented in a context or by itself, and read it aloud and understand what it means?' This is the question that has driven much of Morag Stuart's work in the psychology of reading for the past 20 years. In her inaugural professorial lecture she refines this question, asking, `what are the processes that children have to develop in order to become skilled readers, and what do we know about their development?' A skilled reader is able to read and understand the words on the page (word recognition processes), and is also able to make sense of the text (language comprehension processes). In her lecture Professor Stuart develops a model of the development of these processes within the context of research into children's development as readers. She describes how children develop print-to-sound translation strategies and sight vocabulary, eventually achieving a self-sustaining set of processes for recognising, understanding and pronouncing printed words. This is clearly only the beginning of the story of what's involved in reading, however. As children's language continues to develop, so they can understand more complex and difficult texts. And, as their understanding of the world and the people and objects in it also develops, they are able to engage in `real' reading.