Reading problems are related to listening problems.

According to  research at MIT, our ability to discern and differentiate what we hear affects our ability to read. Dyslexic people have greater difficulty identifying the voices of speakers of their own language than non-dyslexic people. Non dyselxic people are better at this, but only in their own language. They are as bad as dyslexic people when listening to a foreign language, or so it seems.

What is not clear is whether people are dyslexic because they have trouble discerning differences in what they hear, or whether they have trouble discerning some aspects of what they hear because they are dyslexic. What causes what? I wonder if activities to improve hearing discernment in relation to language input could improve their reading skills, for example lots of listening and reading.

I have always found an emphasis on listening to be essential to my reading skills in foreign languages. Lots of prior listening provides a number of advantages to reading in a foreign language. We gain some familiarity with the subject. We get a little rhythm or momentum for our reading and almost end up hearing the text as we read it quitely to ourselves. Lots of listening, as well as deliberate vocabulary acquisition, are at the core of LingQ.

I have often suggested that the LingQ approach could work for literacy improvement in one’s native language. All my approaches to individuals and groups involved in literacy education have been met with indifference. Perhaps this research should make these people think again. Maybe I am reading too much into the research.

 

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