June 9-West and Stanovich, 1978. Sentence Context and Word Recognition.

This study was conducted to investigate changes in sentence context and word recognition throughout developmental changes. 48 fourth graders, 48 sixth graders, and 48 college students participated in the study. Participants were asked to read a congruous sentence (made sense), an incongruous sentence (did not make sense), and they were asked to read the target word at the end of the sentence (the cat). They were also asked to read the target word with no context. The time took to read the target word was measured with all participants with all 3 contexts. The results found that sixth graders read the target word faster than fourth graders, and college students read it faster that sixth graders. There was a significant negative correlation between wide Reading Achievement Test scores and the context facilitation index (the difference between congruous context and no context). Thus, more skilled readers relied less on context words.

Study Design: 3×3 mixed design; between subjects

Independent Variable: Reading level (age); Context condition

Dependent Variable: Reading time of target word

4th: X1 O X2 O X3 O

6th: X1 O X2 O X3 O

8th: X1 O X2 O X3 O

X1= No Context     X2= Congrous Context     X3= Incongruous Context

May 20-Ehri and Wilce, 1979. The mnemonic value of orthography among beginning readers.

Ehri believed that in the Word Identity Amalgamation Theory, which stated that when first graders start learning to read, they are already very developed with speech. However, they must learn to incorporate print  into their prior knowledge. According to this theory, word units have several different identities: Phonological (how words sound and are articulated), syntactic (their roles in sentences), semantic (word meanings), and the orthographic identity (words are represented visually) is added last. A printed word has been learned when it’s orthographic image has been formed and it is amalgamated (bonded) with the other three identities.

Her study examined how the images are established which represent sound in the memories of beginning readers. 24 first graders and 24 second graders were taught visual cues to four sets of cvc nonsense sounds. One set had a squiggle, another showed a single letter, and the last two sets had an initial letter plus a spelling aid- one set was correct spelling and the other was not. These sets were shown to the subjects, one card at a time, and the children had to remember what sound each squiggle or letter represented. The experimenter would say “This (squiggle or letter name ) stands for sound.” On the cards with the stimulus letters along with the spellings/misspellings, the experimenter would say, ” The Letter (name) stand for (sound).”  The children had to repeat the sound. Once testing trials began, children were given 5 seconds to recall the sounds of the squiggle or letter, and they were allowed a maximum of 15 trials. Each child was given a different set/order of cards.

The results showed that sounds of a stimulus letter plus a correct spelling aid were learned the fastest, followed by letters without any spelling aids, and sounds recalled for the squiggle prompts or the stimulus letter accompanied by a misspelled aid were learned the slowest. These results show that the print helped students recall the sound associated with the stimulus letter. Upon completion of the study, I think that incorporating print into existing knowledge is going to be an easier task than anticipated.

May 15- Perfetti and Hogaboam, 1975. Relationship between single word decoding and reading comprehension skill.

In this article, Perfetti states that decoding should be an automatic process that occurs naturally. Since students are not focusing on decoding, they can move their focus to comprehension (meaning). He performed a study using 32 third-graders and 32 fifth-grades, with half being skilled comprehenders and the other half were less skilled comprehenders. His purpose was to determine if decoding ability was the only difference between good and poor readers, or if they could also be differentiated based on their vocabulary knowledge. Each subject was presented words by a projector with a shutter. The words were presented in random order and consisted of high-frequency and low-frequency words, and pseudowords. When the shutter opened, a timer started. When the subjects initiated response, the timer was stopped. Afterwards, each subject was given a multiple-choice vocabulary test to test knowledge of real words in the set of words were given. The results found that the third and fifth-grade skilled readers were faster at reading all types of words, but both groups named high-frequency words the fastest, followed by low-frequency words, and named the pseudowords the slowest. These results showed that efficient decoding skills does effect comprehension. Those who lack decoding skills must place their focus on decoding, but those whose decoding skills are automatic can focus on comprehension.