ERIC Number: ED244228
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-May
Reference Count: 0
The Decoding Ability of Elementary School Students. Reading Education Report No. 49.
A study examined the ability of third, fourth, and sixth grade students to use spellings to arrive at the pronunciations of unknown words. A test of 29 pseudo words was developed. Pseudo words were chosen because they eliminate familiarity with a word in its spoken form and contextual cues as sources of help in decoding. At the start of the test, the 184 subjects from two schools (A and B) were told of the examiner's interest in seeing whether they could pronounce made-up words by using their spellings. Pronunciations for each word, as well as explanations offered for how a subject pronounced three of twelve preselected words were recorded. Results indicated a mean score of 12.2 words correctly pronounced. Eighteen of the 29 pseudo words were mispronounced more than 50% of the time. Third grade students at school A had slightly higher scores than their counterparts at school B, while fourth and sixth grade students at school B had higher scores than their peers at school A. Test scores improved slightly more between third and fourth grades than between fourth and sixth grades. There was little evidence that subjects had been taught to scan the whole word before considering its parts, or that subjects understood the significance of syllabication. There were also problems with blending sounds to produce syllables or words, all of which suggest a need for better (rather than more) phonics instruction. (Descriptions of the two schools, students' explanations for pronunciations, and extensive tables of data are included.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.