I recently found some research identifying that “skilled readers rely on their brain’s “visual dictionary” to recognise words.” It was carried out at the Georgetown University Medical Centre and supports the approach we take to improving literacy.
“When we see a word for the first time, it requires some time to read and sound it out, but after perhaps just one presentation of the word, you can recognise it without sounding it out.” “This occurs because our brain first uses phonology to encode the word and match the sound with the written word. Once we do that and encounter the word a few more times, we no longer need the phonology at first, just the visual input to identify the word.” Dr. Laurie Glezer
This research underpins what we have been observing and the way we teach people the skill. We have the whole neuroscience evidence, supported by MRI scans, if you want to read it.