Linguistic Influences on the Emergence of Written Word Decoding in First Grade This longitudinal investigation examined the linguistic influences on the emergence of written word decoding in a group of typically developing first-grade children. Sixty children were administered tasks that measured phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic abilities as well as literacy and alphabet knowledge during the first quarter of their kindergarten year. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 1997
Linguistic Influences on the Emergence of Written Word Decoding in First Grade
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linda K. Swank
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Contact author: Linda K. Swank, Department of Human Services, Communication Disorders Program, Curry Graduate School of Education, University of Virginia, 2205 Fontaine Avenue, Suite 202, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903 Email: lks4n@Virginia.edu
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 1997
Linguistic Influences on the Emergence of Written Word Decoding in First Grade
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 1997, Vol. 6, 62-66. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0604.62
History: Received February 11, 1997 , Accepted September 8, 1997
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 1997, Vol. 6, 62-66. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0604.62
History: Received February 11, 1997; Accepted September 8, 1997

This longitudinal investigation examined the linguistic influences on the emergence of written word decoding in a group of typically developing first-grade children. Sixty children were administered tasks that measured phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic abilities as well as literacy and alphabet knowledge during the first quarter of their kindergarten year. Subjects were then given measures of written word decoding in the fourth quarter of the first-grade year.

Fixed-order regression analyses indicated that the phonological and orthographic factors contributed the most variance to written word decoding. A meaning factor also contributed significant variance to written word decoding. This latter finding challenges previous research that identifies phonological and orthographic variables as the sole influence on written word decoding. It is argued that, in teaching written word decoding skills, a focus on only form (i.e., phonological and orthographic knowledge) to the exclusion of meaning may result in less efficient decoding and subsequently may result in less competent reading comprehension.

Author Note
The author wishes to acknowledge the personnel and students of the Hutchinson Public Schools, Hutchinson, Kansas, for their support and participation in the study. Support by Randall R. Robey for statistical analysis advice is also acknowledged and appreciated.
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