Language and Literacy Learning in the Akshara-based Languages of India

This project followed children in Akshara-based language regions of India for their first two years of schooling to understand who were at risk for later difficulties in reading and spelling.

It showed that an early profile of lower knowledge of the akshara and delays in language and visual processing were risk factors for reading difficulties. Further studies identified dimensions of complexity within the language (grammar) and the written units (visual, mapping to sound) were predictors of individual differences in level attainment.

Several findings from the project have since been replicated in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Sinhala, including two intervention studies – one in Hindi and Malayalam – and one comparison with another writing system in Japanese.

The project has contributed to the understanding of how learning to read differs across the world’s writing systems.

The following resources have since been developed:

EkStep Foundation Platform for lesson development and formative assessment
Lingua Akshara – articles, opinion pieces and notes pertaining to languages that use the akshara writing system
Decoding the script – early literacy initiative texts
Room to Read Talk series with Dr Sonali Nag