The University of Southampton

PSYC3063 Learning to Read

Module Overview

This module will provide students with a comprehensive overview of literacy development. Topics will include theoretical models of visual word recognition and of literacy acquisition, the research methods available for studying literacy development (with a focus on the more recent use of eye movement recordings), cross-linguistic differences in literacy development, and both developmental and acquired reading disorders.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide students with the skills, knowledge, and understanding to critically evaluate current understanding of how children learn to read, and of literacy disorders.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe and evaluate models of developmental changes in visual word recognition
  • describe and evaluate the main research methods used for studying children’s reading
  • explain cross-linguistic differences in learning to read
  • describe the key features of both developmental and acquired reading disorders
  • integrate their understanding of reading disorders with their knowledge of relevant theoretical models


• Historical overview of theories of reading development • Current theoretical models of skilled adult reading • Research methods (e.g., reading aloud, lexical decision, spelling, eye movement recordings) • Learning to read – alphabetic scripts, and the role of orthographic depth • Learning to read – non-alphabetic scripts • Phonological processing, and the contribution of eye movement data to a core education debate • Developmental dyslexia • Comprehension difficulties • Acquired reading disorders

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a weekly, 2-hour session. The first hour will be in lecture format, covering core material, whilst the second hour will be more interactive and will involve student presentations, group discussions, and debates based on key journal articles. These interactive, student-led components of the weekly session will be vital for students’ development of critical evaluation skills. Learning will also include independent study. Assigned reading, each week, will include both a textbook chapter and 2-3 key journal articles. In the weekly sessions, a subset of the group will be required to prepare in advance and then deliver a presentation on one of the pre-specified, key journal articles. Both the format (individual or group) and the number of presentations per week will depend on student numbers. These presentations will be given in the second hour of the weekly session, and will form part of the summative assessment for this module.

Independent Study128
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C. (Eds.). (2008). The science of reading: A handbook (Vol. 9).. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 75%
Presentation 24%
Research Participation 1%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PSYC2021

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