Objectives: 1) to establish a core facility within which to undertake a range of experimental studies relating to reading in children who are learning to speak and read in both official languages; 2) to use this facility to study the impact of bilingualism on reading processes; 3) to investigate the interplay between the cognitive processes involved in reading and the associated pattern of eye-movements, and 4) to explore the possibility of using experimental paradigms such as the Missing Letter Effect (MLE) to assess and predict reading deficits.
Hypotheses: 1) leading edge research on bilingual reading skill requires easy access to an appropriate population, and appropriate facilities. Moncton provides an appropriate population for such work, and Drs. Saint-Aubin and Cormier have the requisite skills and interest, however, some laboratory improvements are needed. In particular, eye-tracking and computing facilities will be purchased for the laboratory. By establishing this facility, a range of studies on the development of reading skills in bilingual children could be undertaken. Of particular interest to the leaders of this project is work on the MLE. The MLE may also provide a basis for a simple, low-cost screening test to detect reading problems.
Significance and Deliverables: The establishment of this laboratory will facilitate a range of new studies of bilingual reading skill. One project of particular interest to the project leader is systematic investigation of the reading processes captured by the MLE during the development of reading skills, and in bilinguals. This will be the first study of the MLE in these situations where collateral eye-movement data are available. Besides providing strong tests of theory, this work would build a bridge with work on reading processes done with other methodologies. The development of a simple low-cost screening test would be an important addition to the field, and especially so in French where such instruments are lacking (see the Desrochers proposal for discussion of need for instruments in French).
For more information on this project, please contact Jean Saint-Aubin (saint-aj@UMoncton.ca).