Research Interests: Reading and spelling acquisition and disability, literacy, psycholinguistics, cognitive and language development.
Linnea C. Ehri earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1970 and was a professor at the University of California, Davis, before coming to the Graduate Center in 1991 as a distinguished professor. She has received research awards from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the National Reading Conference, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR). She has held elected offices in these organizations, including as president of SSSR. She is a fellow of AERA and the American Psychological Association, Division 15, and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. From 1998 to 2000 she served on the National Reading Panel, commissioned by the U.S. Congress to report on research-based methods of teaching reading effectively to elementary students.
Ehri’s research and teaching are focused on reading acquisition processes—the course of development in learning to read words by decoding and from memory by sight; preparing children to learn to read by teaching letters and phonemic awareness; vocabulary learning; learning to spell; reading instruction, particularly systematic phonics instruction; the impact of literacy on language processes; and the causes, prevention, and remediation of reading difficulties. She has published more than 130 research papers in books and scholarly journals and has edited two books and served on editorial boards of eleven scientific journals.
Her research has contributed to our understanding of psychological processes and sources of difficulty in learning to read and spell. Her studies underscore the importance of beginning readers acquiring knowledge of the alphabetic writing system. One major finding is that readers use their knowledge of grapheme-phoneme connections to retain sight words in memory. She also has found that learning the spellings of words influences readers’ conception of sounds in the words and helps them learn and remember new vocabulary.