Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Children Acquiring Literacy Naturally

University of California, Santa Cruz via Coursera


In this short course you will explore the possibility that children might acquire written language in a way that is similar to how they acquire spoken language—without instruction. You will encounter various aspects of behavioral science and technology that are relevant to this proposition. You will have the opportunity to learn the the perceptual, cognitive, and neurological capacities of children during their first years of life. You will advance your understanding of children and how they learn language. You will also be more attuned to current advances in the technology of human machine interactions, and what these phenomena imply for learning to read at an early age.


  • Week 1 Introduction, Challenges, and Language
    • Universal literacy, differences between spoken and written language, models of perception and processing, and implications of natural acquisition of reading.
  • Week 2 Acquiring Spoken and Written Language
    • Influences on language learning, iconicity, recognition skills of infants, visual processes in reading, and rapid serial visual processing.
  • Week 3 Reading, Early Reading, and Technological Innovations
    • The nature of reading, reading myths, current approaches to teaching reading, demographics of literacy and illiteracy, and technological innovations.

Taught by

Dominic William Massaro


4.4 rating at Coursera based on 166 ratings

Start your review of Children Acquiring Literacy Naturally

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.