Cognitive Science of how reading benefits speaking!

I thought folks here would find this recent article from Trends in Cognitive Science interesting. Unfortunately, I cannot post the full .pdf here, but I’m putting in a link and here’s a copy of the abstract:

Literacy Advantages Beyond Reading: Prediction of Spoken Language
Authors: Falk Heuttig and Martin Pickering

Proficient readers predict spoken language faster than less-proficient readers and illiterate adults. This reflects in part secondary correlates of reading acquisition, such as having larger vocabulary knowledge and working memory capacity.
However, we also argue that there are primary influences of reading behavior on speech prediction. We discuss several properties of the reading environment that support prediction and transfer from reading to spoken language processing.
Reading acquisition boosts prediction of upcoming speech because it trains shared processes (e.g., formation of predictive dependencies) and sharpens shared representations (e.g., lexical, syntactic).

(For some reason, Lingq says the url is invalid when I try to attach the link, so here it is: Literacy Advantages Beyond Reading: Prediction of Spoken Language - ScienceDirect)

I’ve wondered about this too - good to know lots of reading can help with output.


The abstract does not mention second language acquisition, but I would expect the same to apply. It’s interesting that it specifically addresses speech prediction. I find it really helps my listening comprehension to try to anticipate the next word. (Maybe that keeps me from falling behind thinking about the previous word too much.)


Yes, all the same mechanisms should still be at play. I should also clarify that upon reading more of the article, I see it is more about listening comprehension than speaking, but input and output processing are not as separate as one might expect, so the connection is still there. In any case, the effects of reading are interesting nonetheless!

Thanks for sharing! This validates Lingq’s approach to language learning, assuming the research applies to second language acquisition as well

1 Like