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  1. Seidenberg, Mark S.
  2. MacDonald, Maryellen C.


This article reviews the important role of statistical learning for language and reading development. Although statistical learning-the unconscious encoding of patterns in language input-has become widely known as a force in infants' early interpretation of speech, the role of this kind of learning for language and reading comprehension in children has received less attention. In fact, the implicit learning of co-occurrences of words, sentence structures, and other components of language forms a critical part of children's language comprehension and fluent reading. Beyond introducing basic information about language statistics, the article offers a discussion of how variability in the amount and nature of language experience can affect language development and literacy, including variation owing to the amount of language input in the child's linguistic environment and the variable nature of input for children who are exposed to multiple languages or multiple dialects.