ERIC Number: ED174971
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Reading Ability and the Utilization of Orthographic Structure in Reading. Technical Report No. 515.
Massaro, Dominic W.; Taylor, Glen A.
Previous research has demonstrated that readers utilize orthographic structure in their perceptual recognition of letter strings. Two experiments were conducted to assess whether this utilization varied with reading ability. Anagrams of words were made to create strings that orthogonally combined high and low single letter positional frequency and regular and irregular orthographic structure. These strings and the original words were used as test stimuli in a target search task in which subjects indicated whether a given target letter appeared in the test string. In the first experiment, 19 good and 15 poor college readers showed equally large effects of orthographic structure on task accuracy. In the second experiment, involving 42 sixth grade readers and 14 college students, the poor sixth-grade readers showed a smaller effect of orthographic structure than did average or good sixth grade readers, and the college students benefited more from orthographic structure than did either sixth grade group. Post hoc correlations of measures of orthographic structure with reading ability revealed similar results. The results suggest that the utilization of orthographic structure is an important skill in reading and that differences in this skill might be partially responsible for differences in reading ability of relatively young readers. Although older readers appear to have mastered this skill, the cost of mastery may be partially responsible for deficits at other higher-order processing stages in reading. (Rules for selecting materials used in the experiments and the test stimuli are appended.) (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Research and Development Center for Individualized Schooling.