Some Bodies are Easier to Read: The Effect of Consistency and Regularity on Children’ Reading

Veronica Laxon, Jacqueline Masterson, Veronika Coltheart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Patterson and Morton (1985) proposed a model for the skilled reading of words and non-words that accommodates two non-lexical routines. One is the grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence system which utilizes the regularity of letter to sound correspondences for single letters and digraphs. The other is a system of “bodies”—the vowel and terminal letters of a monomorphemic, monosyllabic word. The idea of the body segment, as Patterson and Morton use it, is to capture consistency effects in reading aloud—that is, the fact that the spelling-sound pattern of words with similar written endings to the target affects the speed and accuracy of its reading. In this study consistency and regularity are examined as separate factors in children’ reading, by devising stimuli in accordance with the different types of three-letter ending that are proposed within the body sub-system. A group of 87 children aged seven to nine (reading age range: 6;6 to 13;7) was sub-divided according to reading ability and given words and non-words to read aloud. In all the children, performance was affected by body type for both words and non-words, but the better readers were most affected. The implications of these results for a radical distributed model of reading acquisition (Seidenberg & McClelland, 1989) are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-824
Number of pages32
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1991


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