Do skilled readers use orthographic regularities in learning to read and spell?
AbstractThe English language has many different spelling patterns. For example, the letters ‘al’ occur in the words practical and allow, but within different positions. This study examines whether skilled readers use this type of orthographic knowledge when learning to spell and read new words. This is a two-part study. Part 1 manipulates the frequency of letter patterns using a statistical learning task. Part 2 examines whether skilled readers use knowledge of newly learned letter patterns when reading and spelling new words. Participants were 7 undergraduate students (5 females, 2 males) between the ages of 18 to 27 (M = 21.7). Participants read five stories, each containing four repetitions of two target words differing in the frequency of the letter pattern. A spelling and reading test followed, which contained practiced and unpracticed nonwords, made with high and low frequency letter patterns. Results indicated participants were more accurate at reading and spelling practiced words, in comparison to the unpracticed words F (1,6) = 9.51, p < 0.05, η²= .61. Findings suggest that adults benefit from setting up word representations.