Psychology researchers receive NSF grant to study preschool learning

Two psychology researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have received a $620,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “Preschoolers’ Use of Statistical Learning to Discover Spelling and Reading Conventions Prior to Formal Schooling.”


They are Rebecca A. Treiman, PhD, the Burke & Elizabeth High Baker Professor of Child Developmental Psychology in Arts & Sciences, and Brett Kessler, PhD, a research scientist in psychology. Treiman conducts research on language and language development through the analysis of both reading and spelling skills.

Even before children understand that the letters in written words stand for sounds in spoken words, they may learn a number of things about writing. The research examines what preschool children know about the characteristics of writing and how this knowledge relates to their literacy performance once they enter school.