ERIC Number: ED341498
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Using Children's Humor to Clarify the Relationship between Linguistic Awareness and Early Reading Ability.
Mahony, Diana L.; Mann, Virginia A.
This study uses linguistic humor to show that awareness of only those linguistic units transcribed by the orthography bear a special relation to early reading success. The study is decribed following a review of the literature and a discussion of advantages and problems associated with the use of humor appreciation as a probe of children's linguistic abilities. Subjects were 48 second-grade children from a predominantly white, middle class public school in Costa Mesa, California, divided almost evenly between boys (n=25) and girls (n=23). Their mean age was 8;3, with the boys being slightly older than girls. Classroom reading levels varied from highest (n=21) to middle (n=17) to lower (n=9). The children were tested on 10 phoneme/morpheme riddles which manipulate phonemes and bound morphemes, and 10 control riddles which depend on awareness of other aspects of linguistic structure and common sense. Three types of ability were measured: reading, IQ, and humor resolution. Reading ability was significantly related to correct resolution of the phoneme/morpheme riddles but not to correct resolution of the control riddles. Results indicate that while IQ is related to the resolution of riddles in general, reading ability has a special relation to riddles which manipulate phonemes and morphemes, consistent with the morphophonological nature of English orthography. Appended are 48 references and related materials. (Author/GLR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).