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Good Readers Don't Guess

Tom Nicholson

When we look at recent research on reading acquisition, there has only been one exciting show to watch, and that has been the debate between Ken Goodman and Phil Gough. Ken Goodman's (1967) paper, 'Reading: A Psycholinguistic Guessing Game', made him the person most clearly associated with the view that reading is a 'top down' process. But Goodman became the target of debate in Phil Gough's (1972) paper, 'One Second of Reading', which took the opposite view, that reading is a 'bottom up', serial process. What, in plain words, has the debate been about? Basically, it's been about the relative importance of decoding in reading. It's a debate with a long history but one that has refused to go away.

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