Lexical and sub-lexical auditory phonological priming effects on word reading in grades 4 and 5
There is emerging evidence that phonology contributes to visual word recognition independent of orthography in the upper elementary grades, more so when reading less frequent words. It is unclear how lexical and different sub-lexical phonological units influence familiar word reading; therefore, we investigated the priming effects of the phonological word (repetition), syllable, rime, and phoneme units on word reading in fourth and fifth grades. We used an auditory primed and timed word reading task to determine whether different phonological units influenced the speed of reading familiar words. To examine their relationship with reading ability, we compared primed reading speeds with word and pseudo-word reading measures. The results revealed a significant lexical phonological priming effect of facilitation by repetition primes, and a difference between the direction of phoneme and rime priming. Lexical phonological priming did not relate with word or pseudo-word reading. Sub-lexical syllable priming, on the other hand, had a significant relationship with word reading. These findings show the influence of primed auditory phonological units during word reading without any overlapping orthographic prime in fourth- and fifth-grade children. Overall, lexical phonology has a definitive role of facilitation regardless of word reading ability whereas the sub-lexical phonological units appear to have a variable impact. Syllable influenced reading speed has a direct relationship with word reading.
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