Rebecca Treiman

Rebecca Treiman

Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Burke & Elizabeth High Baker Professor of Child Development in Arts & Sciences
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
MA, University of Pennsylvania
BA, Yale University
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1125
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Professor Treiman conducts research on language and language development. Her major focus is on reading and spelling skills and how they develop. One line of research examines children's spelling errors and the reasons behind these errors.

    Treiman's major focus is on reading and spelling skills and how they develop. One line of research examines children's spelling, including the linguistic reasons why children spell words as they do and how even the productions of very young children may show more knowledge than appears on the surface. Other research looks at children’s knowledge about letters and ability to decode written words. In addition, Treiman and her collaborators examine reading and spelling processes in adults. Many of the studies are carried out with learners and users of English, but some studies involve users of other languages. 

    Selected Publications

    Treiman, R., Kessler, B., Boland, K., Clocksin, H., & Chen, Z. (2018). Statistical learning and spelling: Older prephonological spellers produce more wordlike spellings than younger prephonological spellers.Child Development89, e431-e443.

    Treiman, R., & Wolter, S. (2018). Phonological and graphotactic influences on spellers’ decisions about consonant doubling. Memory & Cognition, 46, 614–624.

    Treiman, R., Kessler, B., Pollo, T. C., Byrne, B., & Olson, R. K. (2016). Measures of kindergarten spelling and their relations to later spelling performance. Scientific Studies of Reading, 20, 349-362.

    Treiman, R., Pollo, T. C., Cardoso-Martins, C., & Kessler, B. (2013). Do young children spell words syllabically? Evidence from learners of Brazilian Portuguese. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116,873–890.

    How Children Learn to Write Words

    How Children Learn to Write Words

    Writing allows people to convey information to others who are remote in time and space, vastly increasing the range over which people can cooperate and the amount they can learn. Mastering the writing system of one's language is crucial for success in a modern society. This book examines how children learn to write words. It provides a theoretical framework that integrates findings from a wide range of age groups--from children who are producing their first scribbles to experienced spellers who are writing complex words. To set the stage for these discussions, early chapters of the book consider the nature of writing systems and the nature of learning itself. The following chapters review various aspects of orthographic development, including the learning of symbol shapes and punctuation. Each chapter reviews research with learners of a variety of languages and writing systems, revealing underlying similarities. Discussions of how orthography is and should be taught are incorporated into each chapter, making the book of interest to educators as well as to psychologists, cognitive scientists, and linguists. This book is unique in the range of topics and languages that it covers and the degree to which it integrates linguistic insights about the nature of writing systems with discussions of how people learn to use these systems. It is written in a scholarly yet accessible manner, making it suited for a wide audience.