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We consider the prospects and need for a psychologically plausible connectionist model of the development of word recognition skills. We present an outline of the Seidenberg and McClelland (1989) distributed, developmental model of word recognition and naming. We emphasize certain incompatibilities between this model and the assumptions underlying it and psychological evidence from studies of children learning to read. In particular, we emphasize the importance of phonological skills as precursors and facilitators of learning to read. We argue that it may be possible to develop a connectionist model of the development of word recognition skills which, by having a built in knowledge of phonology, will be more consistent with evidence from studies of both normal and dyslexic children. © 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Original publication




Journal article


Reading and Writing

Publication Date





159 - 168