This chapter from M. Harris and G. Hatano (Eds.), Learning to read and write: A cross-linguistic perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. reviews the available evidence on the development of reading and writing in the Hebrew language. In the first of four sections, we present a brief overview of the unique features of the Hebrew language and orthography, with special emphasis on Semitic morphology (the "root-plus-pattern" system) and the consonantal alphabet in both its pointed (fully voweled) and unpointed (partly voweled) forms. The next two sections review studies of pre-conventional reading and writing among preschoolers, followed by conventional in-school reading and spelling. A fourth section looks at research dealing with the cognitive and psycholinguistic factors underlying individual differences in literacy acquisition. Our review concludes with a summary of both the language-specific and language-universal aspects of Hebrew literacy acquisition.
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