The contributions of decoding skill and lexical knowledge to the development of irregular word reading

Nash, Hannah and Davies, Robert and Ricketts, Jessie (2021) The contributions of decoding skill and lexical knowledge to the development of irregular word reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. ISSN 0278-7393 (In Press)

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Abstract

Two recent computational models of reading development propose that irregular words are read using a combination of decoding and lexical knowledge but differ in assumptions about how these sources of information interact, and about the relative importance of different aspects of lexical knowledge. We report developmental data that help to adjudicate these differences. Study One adopted a correlational approach to investigate the item-level relations between the ability to read a word aloud, general decoding ability, and knowledge of the word’s phonological form (lexical phonology) or meaning (lexical semantics). We found that the latter three factors all influenced accuracy of oral reading. We observed trends indicating that the impact of differences in decoding skill and lexical knowledge were more prominent for irregular words. Study Two comprised two experiments in which novel irregular words were taught; in Experiment 1 we compared phonological to no pre-training, while in Experiment 2 we compared phonological to phonological plus semantics pre-training. Exposure to the phonological form of the word had a substantial impact in the early stages of learning, while the impact of adding semantics was more modest and emerged later. Our findings provide strong evidence that irregular words are read using a combination of decoding and lexical knowledge, with a greater contribution from lexical phonology than lexical semantics. Computational models of learning to read are currently unable to fully account for our data, therefore we propose some modifications. We advocate an instructional approach whereby phonics and vocabulary teaching are combined to support irregular word reading.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Additional Information:
©American Psychological Association, [Year]. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: [ARTICLE DOI]
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3205
Subjects:
ID Code:
157144
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
14 Jul 2021 08:30
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
In Press
Last Modified:
22 Oct 2021 05:24