Children's morphological awareness and reading ability

John R. Kirby, S. Hélène Deacon, Peter N. Bowers, Leah Izenberg, Lesly Wade-Woolley, Rauno Parrila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

262 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effects of morphological awareness on five measures of reading in 103 children from Grades 1 to 3. Morphological awareness was assessed with a word analogy task that included a wide range of morphological transformations. Results indicated that the new measure had satisfactory reliability, and that morphological awareness was a significant predictor of word reading accuracy and speed, pseudoword reading accuracy, text reading speed, and reading comprehension, after controlling the effects of verbal and nonverbal ability and phonological awareness. Morphological awareness also explained variance in reading comprehension after further controlling word reading. We conclude that morphological awareness has important roles in word reading and reading comprehension, and we suggest that it should be included more frequently in assessments and instruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-410
Number of pages22
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • morphological awareness
  • phonological awareness
  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • word analogy


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