Procedures used by beginning and skilled readers to read unfamiliar letter strings

Veronika Coltheart, Judi Leahy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports investigations of the extent to which novice readers (Grades 1 and 3) and adult readers used different types of letter-sound units when reading aloud. Although differences in performance of children and adults were observed, all age groups used grapheme-phoneme units more frequently than they used bodies. Both children and adults were better at reading nonwords constructed from real word-bodies than at reading nonwords whose bodies did not exist in English words, except that Grade 1 children derived significantly less benefit from word bodies than did older readers. Word reading accuracy showed that these differences between Grade 1 and older readers were not attributable to unfamiliarity with the words containing the body units. Beginning readers can apply grapheme-phoneme correspondences by the end of Grade 1. Their skills improve so that accuracy in reading monosyllabic nonwords in Grade 5 is only slightly below adult performance. The contribution of body-level units increases from Grade 2 onwards, and is likely to be due to expansion of the orthographic input lexicon.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)124-129
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996


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