The Onset of Literacy addresses one of the main questions in the field of reading research - why the acquisition of skills in reading and writing appears to be so much more difficult than the earlier acquisition of speech communication. As well as posing a major theoretical puzzle, the question has important implications for both instructional practices and ways of dealing with dyslexic children.Research on the reading process has made important progress in recent years, thanks to conceptual and methodological advances in cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, and neuropsychology, which have made it possible to deal with complex issues that in the past seemed to defy rational analysis. The Onset of Literacy presents a selective sample of work by major contemporary specialists who focus on current information processing approaches to the reading process and their interface with research on the development of reading and related skills. An introduction by the editor summarizes and places the various contributions within current analyses of reading inspired by the information processing approach.The chapters and their authors are: The Ability to Manipulate Speech Sounds Depends on Knowing Alphabetic Writing, Charles Read, Zhang Yun-Fei, Nie Hong-Yin, and Ding BaoQing. Literacy Training and Speech Segmentation, José Morais, Paul Bertelson, Luz Cary, and Jesus Alegria. Phonological Awareness: The Role of Reading Experience, Virginia A. Mann. Word Recognition in Early Reading: A Review of the Direct and Indirect Access Hypotheses, Roderick W. Barron. The Similarities Between Normal Readers and Developmental and Acquired Dyslexics, Peter Bryant and Lawrence Impey. Language Mechanisms and Reading Disorder: A Modular Approach, Donald Shankweiler and Stephen Crain.Paul Bertelson is Professor of Experimental Psychology and Director of the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. The Onset of Literacy is in a series that is derived from special issues of Cognition: International Journal of Cognitive Science, edited by Jacques Mehler. A Bradford Book.