Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Children begin to learn about the print in books and the role it plays in reading well before the onset of formal literacy instruction. Young children’s knowledge about precisely what readers are reading when they read books and who is able to read books has been studied primarily through interviews, but conclusions from this research are limited by methodological concerns. Three experiments examined whether pre-readers understand what part of a book is read and whether they distinguish between the skill of reading and the activity of reading. Although pre-readers were typically able to locate the print in a book, they appeared to still be learning that it is the print, not the pictures, that a reader reads. Pre-readers were knowledgeable about who has the ability to read, but many also indicated that the activity of reading does not require the ability to read. The results suggest that teachers and parents should not be careful not to overestimate the knowledge about print and reading that children acquire through everyday exposure to books.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Rebecca Treiman

Committee Members

Cindy Brantmeier, David Balota, Heather Grantham, Lori Markson,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/y0e7-6197