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23 Apr 2009

Morphological Knowledge and Learning to Read in English

Elfrieda H. Hiebert & Marco A. Bravo

Book Chapter

Hiebert, E.H., & Bravo, M., (2010). Morphological knowledge and learning to read in English. In D. Wyse, R. Andrews, & J. Hoffman (Eds.), International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching (pp. 87-97). Oxford, UK: Routledge.


Proficient reading in English requires knowledge of its morphological systems that include the derivational morphemes of Romance languages and the compounds of Germanic languages. This chapter presents research on three aspects of derivations and compounds: a) the nature of the phenomenon in English; b) its development in school- children and relationship to reading development; and c) the nature of effective instruction. A conclusion of the chapter is that the derivational system of English has received the bulk of attention within research and pedagogy on morphology. While such attention is appropriate, the prolifcacy of compounding in English necessitates that this system also be the focus of research and practice.

A pre-pub version of the chapter is available here on TextProject.

To purchase the book and to get more information about the other chapters in the volume, please visit the publisher’s website, Routledge Education.