The importance of being literate: Reading development in primary school and its consequences for the school career in secondary education

  • Theo Boland


From 1979 till 1987 the Department of Education of the University of Nijmegen carried out a longitudinal reading research project. In this article some of the main research results are presented and discussed.

Two research questions are in the focus of interest. The first question deals with the concept of reading development. Here reading development is defined in the way interrelations between latent reading variables — i.e. decoding, reading comprehension and spelling — change during the years of primary education in school. In the second research question we examine the relation between reading ability in primary school and the school career in secondary education. Besides giving answers to these specific research questions, some benefits and shortcomings of longitudinal reading research are discussed.

The results indicate that, by conducting longitudinal reading research, it is possible to get a better and more detailed picture of the changing relationships between reading variables. And the somewhat obvious and trivial notion that reading and spelling ability in primary school affects the school career in secondary education has become more specific and clear.

Key words

Longitudinal research Reading development School career 


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theo Boland
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Curriculum DevelopmentEnschedeThe Netherlands

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