Catherine Penney

B.Sc.(Hons.) McGill, M.A., Ph.D. Toronto

Retired, Honorary Research Professor, Genesis Centre Client

Office: SN1076
Phone: N/A
Email: OR
Affiliations: Cognition, Developmental



First-class honours degree from McGill University, MA and PhD from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Endel Tulving and Ben Murdock respectively.

Research and Business Interests

I am interested in how children and adults learn to read, and the cognitive and linguistic deficits that make literacy acquisition difficult (see Penney, Drover, Dyck, 2008; Penney & Godsell, 1999; Penney, Hann & Power, 2001). I have developed a technique for teaching decoding skills and spelling to people of all ages who cannot read or who have low literacy levels (Penney, 2002; Penney, Drover, & Dyck, 2008). I am developing software that uses this technique, and plan to test beginning readers beginning early in 2017. I am interested in using the software to determine its effectiveness in improving decoding and spelling, reading speed, reading comprehension, and writing skills. The software will also provide information about the development of automaticity in reading and the relative difficulty of words.

Selected Publications

Penney, C. G. (2002). Teaching decoding skills to poor readers in high school. Journal of Literacy Research, 34, 99 – 118.

Penney, C. G., Drover, J. R., Dyck, C. (2008). Phonological processing deficits and the acquisition of the alphabetic principle in a severely delayed reader: A case study Dyslexia.

Penney, C. G., Drover, J. R., Dyck, C., & Squires, A. (2006). Phoneme awareness is not a prerequisite for learning to read. Written Language and Literacy, 9, 115 – 133.

Penney, C. G., & Godsell, A. (1999) Unusual modality effects in less skilled readers. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25, 284 – 289.

Penney, C. G., Hann, P, & Power, B. (1999). A possible contribution of word-retrieval difficulties to reading and spelling impairments. Learning and Individual Differences, 11, 377 – 400.