Professor. Victor Van Daal

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Biography and Keynote Speaker Abstract

Victor van Daal became the Director of the Centre for Literacy and Numeracy Research (CLNR) and Professor of Education at Edge Hill University in March 2013, after having worked as a Professor of Special Education at the Reading Centre at Stavanger University, Norway.  Before moving to Norway in 2005, he was a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Dyslexia Unit (now the Miles Dyslexia Centre) at the University of Wales, Bangor (1999-2004).  Victor studied Cognitive Psychology at the University of Amsterdam (MA in 1981) and obtained his PhD from the Free University in Amsterdam in 1993.  From 1993 to 1999 Victor worked as a Lecturer and a Senior Lecturer at both universities in Amsterdam.  Victor’s research interests include typical and atypical development of reading and arithmetic, second language learning, multimedia and literacy learning, international comparative studies on reading comprehension and mathematics, and methodology and statistics for the social sciences. His work was returned in the REF 2014 for EHU.

Throughout his extensive career Victor has developed a number of areas of expertise, including: typical and atypical development of reading and arithmetic, second language learning, multimedia and literacy learning, international comparative studies on reading comprehension and mathematics and methodology and statistics for social sciences.

Abstract

A longitudinal study of self-teaching in learning to read and spell

Once children have learnt a few letters, they can teach themselves how to read simple words by blending the sounds of the letters that make up the words. After a few encounters with a word, the word will be read fluently. We examined (1) the developmental onset of self-teaching, (2) the contribution of self-teaching to reading and spelling ability over and above phonological memory, vocabulary, rapid naming, and exposure to print, and (3) whether self-teaching is restricted to word learning (orthographic learning).

In a cross-lagged panel design we assessed at four occasions a novel word learning task (self-teaching), phonological memory, vocabulary, rapid naming, and exposure to print, together with reading and spelling of real words. The novel word learning task, in which a picture is linked with a word, was extended to novel words made up of only vowels, of only consonants, series of Greek letters, Arabic numbers, and geometric forms. Novel words were also embedded in short stories without any picture. Seventy-four children were first assessed in reception class, 82 in Year 1, and 80 in Year 2 across 5 schools in the north west of England.

We specifically tested whether reading and orthographic learning develop reciprocally and in turn influence spelling ability.

This research informs us about the developmental onset of self-teaching, the contribution of self-teaching to reading and spelling ability and whether self-teaching is underpinned by associative learning.

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