Betty Ann Levy(Ph.D., Toronto)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
FAX: 905-529-6225

We study the co-ordination of cognitive processes involved in the fluent reading of young adults and in the development of reading fluency during early childhood. Our adult studies focus on the representations that mediate rapid reading with comprehension. Our interest is in how knowledge about a passage influences the subsequent reading of that passage. We attempt to specify those aspects of a text that are available in memory after a reading encounter that can be used later to facilitate rereading. Our recent findings support a model of episodic representations that can be recruited to 'guide' reading of the new passage. These episodic representations include meaning, but they also include information about perceptual and linguistic aspects of the text. We are now using text processing models to explore the nature of representations at the different linguistic levels involved in reading.

In our developmental lab, that operates in schools throughout the Hamilton school system, we have explored the efficacy of whole word versus segmentation method for acquiring initial reading vocabulary in the early school years. We are now examining the differential benefits of a variety of training methods, as these relate to the cognitive profiles of normally achieving children, as well as children with learning disability.

Publications (since 1990)

  • Levy, B.A. & Burns, K.I. (1990). Reprocessing text: Contributions from conceptually-driven processes. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 44, 465-482.
  • Levy, B.A., & Hinchley, J. (1990). Individual and developmental differences in the acquisition of reading skills. In T.H. Carr, and B.A. Levy, (Eds.) Reading and Its Development: Component Skills Approaches. New York: Academic Press.
  • Levy, B.A. & Carr, T.H. (1990). Component process analyses: Conclusions and challenges. In T.H. Carr, and B.A. Levy, (Eds.), Reading and Its Development: Component Skills Approaches. New York: Academic Press.
  • Levy, B.A, Masson, M.E.J., & Zoubek, M.A. (1991). Rereading text: Words and their contexts. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 45, 492-506.
  • Jacoby, L.L., Levy, B.A. & Steinbach, K. (1992). Episodic transfer and automaticity: The integration of data-driven and conceptually-driven processes in rereading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 18, 15-24.
  • Levy, B.A., Di Persio, R., & Hollingshead, A. (1992). Fluent rereading: repetition, automaticity and discrepancy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 18, 957-971.
  • Lemoine, H., Levy, B.A., & Hutchinson, A. (1993). Increasing the naming speed of poor readers: Representations formed across repetitions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 55, 297-328.
  • Levy, B.A., Barnes, L., & Martin, L. (1993). Transfer of fluency across repetitions and across texts. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology (special issue on reading), 1993, 47, 401-427.
  • Levy, B.A., Nicholls, A., & Kohen, D. (1993). Repeated readings: Process benefits for good and poor readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 56, 303-327.
  • Levy, B.A. (1993). Fluent rereading: An implicit indicator of reading skill development. In P. Graf and M. Masson (Eds.). Implicit Memory: New directions in cognition, development and neuropsychology. Hillsdale, N.J.:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 49-73.
  • Faulkner, H., & Levy, B.A. (1994). How text difficulty and reader skill interact to produce differential reliance on word and content overlap in rereading transfer. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 58, 1-24.
  • Levy, B.A., Campsall, J., Browne, J., Cooper, D., Waterhouse, C., & Wilson, C. (1995). Reading fluency: Episodic integration across texts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 21, 1169-1185.
  • Levy, B.A. & Lysynchuk, L. (1997). Beginning word recognition: Benefits of training by segmentation and whole word methods. Scientific Studies of Reading, 1, 359-387.
  • Levy, B.A., Abello, B. & Lysynchuk, L. (1997). Transfer from word training to reading in context: Gains in reading fluency and comprehension. Disabilities Quarterly, 20, 173-188.
  • Bourassa, D.C., Levy, B.A., Dowin, S. & Casey, A. (1998). Transfer effects across contextual and linguistic boundaries: Evidence from poor readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 71, 45-61.
  • Faulkner, H., & Levy, B.A (1999). Fluent and nonfluent forms of transfer in reading: Words and their message. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 6, 111-116.
  • Levy, B.A., Bourassa, D.C., & Horn, C. (1999). Fast and slow namers: Benefits of segmentation and whole word training. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 73, 115-138.
  • Jared, D., Levy, B.A., Rayner, K. (1999). The role of phonology in the activation of word meanings during reading: Evidence from proofreading and eye movements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 219-264.
  • Levy, B.A.(1999) Whole words, segments, and meaning: Approaches to reading education. In R. Klein & P. McMullen (Eds.). Converging Methods for Understanding Reading and Dyslexia, Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press, p. 77-110.
  • Levy, B.A. (2001). Text processing: Memory representations mediate fluent reading. In M. Neveh-Benjamin, M. Moscovitch, and H.L. Roediger, III, (Eds.). Perspectives on Human Memory and Cognitive Aging: Essays in Honour of Fergus Craik. Philadelphia: Psychology Press, p.83-97.
  • Levy, B.A. (2001). Moving the bottom: Improving reading fluency. In M. Wolf (Ed.). Dyslexia, Fluency, and the Brain, Timonium, Md.: York Press, pp 367-379.
  • Anvari, S., Trainor, L., Woodside, J. & Levy, B.A. (2002). Relations among music skills, phonological processing and early readying ability among preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 83, 111-130.
  • Martin-Chang, S. & Levy, B.A. (2005). Fluency transfer: Differential gains in reading speed and accuracy following isolated word and context training. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 18, 343-376.
  • Levy, B.A., Gong, Z., Hessels, S., Evans, M.A., & Jared, D. (2006). Understanding print: Early reading development and the contributions of home literacy experiences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 93, 63-93.
  • Martin-Chang, S. & Levy, B.A. (2006). Word reading fluency: A transfer appropriate processing account of fluency transfer. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 19, 517-542.
  • Conrad, N.J. & Levy, B.A. (2007). Letter processing and the formation of memory representations in children with naming speed deficits. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 20, 201-223.
  • Martin-Chang, S., Levy, B.A. & O'Neil, S. (2007). Word acquisition, retention and transfer: Findings from contextual and isolated word training. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96, 37-56.
  • Collins, W.M., & Levy, B.A. (2007). Text repetition and text integration. Memory and Cognition, 35, 1557-1566.
  • Levy, B.A. and Collins, W.M. (2008). Fluent reading and the representation of text. In Cartwright, K.B. (Ed.) Literacy Processes:  Cognitive Flexibility in Learning and Teaching, NY:  Guilford Publishing, pp. 234-253.
  • Collins, W.M., & Levy, B.A. (2008).  Developing fluent text processing with practice:  Memorial influences on fluency and comprehension.  Canadian Psychologist: Special Issue, 49, 113-139.
  • Gong, Z. & Levy, B.A. (2009). Four-year-old children's acquisition of print knowledge during electronic storybook reading.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22, 889-905. Online version: DOI: 10.1007/s11145-008-9130-1.
  • Conrad, N.J. & Levy, B.A.  (2009).  Training letter and orthographic pattern recognition in children with slow naming speed.  Reading and Writing:  An interdisciplinary Journal.  Online version: DOI 10.1007/s11145-009-9292x.
  • Jared, D., Cormier, P., Levy, B.A., Wade-Woolley, L.  (2011).  Early predictors of biliteracy development in children in Frech Immersion:  A 4-year longitudinal study.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 119-139.
  • Jared, D., Cormier, P., Levy, B.A., Wade-Woolley, L. (2012).  Cross language activation of phonology in young bilingual readers.  Reading & Writing, 25, 1327-1343.
  • Jared, D., Cormier, P; Levy, B.A., Wade-Wolley, L. (2013) Discrimination of English and French Orthographic Patterns by Biliterate Children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, in press.



  • Carr, T.H., & Levy, B.A. (Eds.) (1990). Reading and Its Developmental: Component Skills Approaches. New York: Academic Press..

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1