Effects of Word Type, Orthographic Type, and Word Length on Decoding and Spelling Abilities of Fourth Graders with and without Reading Impairments
The effects of word type (real, nonsense), orthographic type (phonetic, nonphonetic), and word length (1 to 5 syllables) on the decoding and spelling abilities (accuracy) of fourth-graders with and without reading impairments was investigated. This study was unique because the 23 participants were in one grade level (fourth grade) which controlled for age and reading experience. The participants, who varied in their single word decoding abilities, were separated into two reading groups, an average reading group and primary reading impairment group based on their performance on the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-III (WRMT-III) Word Identification and Word Attack subtests. All 23 participants completed the three experimental tasks: a single word decoding task, a spelling decision task, and a written spelling task. The same stimuli, a total of 100 stimulus words, 50 real words and 50 nonsense words (word type), categorized by two orthographic types (25 phonetic, 25 nonphonetic), and five words for each of five lengths (1-5 syllables) were used in each experimental task. Word length had a significant effect on all three experimental tasks: 1) the single word decoding task, 2) the spelling decision task, and 3) the written spelling accuracy for both reading groups. Results included relationships between decoding accuracy, spelling decision accuracy, and written spelling accuracy for the two reading groups as a function of word type, orthographic type, and word length. The decoding accuracy and spelling accuracy performance for the participants in the present study were characterized by a linear decrease in accuracy with an increase in word length. For the experimental tasks, the strongest correlations were found between the decoding and spelling accuracy for phonetic words regardless of word type (real words, nonsense words). Decoding accuracy results included a significant main effect of group, characterized by higher decoding accuracy by the average reading group for both word types compared to the reading impairment group. In the decoding accuracy, there was a significant three-way interaction for word type, orthographic type, and word length. Post hoc comparisons included higher decoding accuracy for shorter words (< 3 syllables) regardless of word type and orthographic type. Written spelling accuracy results included two significant three-way interactions for Reading Group x Word Type x Word Length and Word Type x Orthographic Type x Word Length. The average reading group accurately decoded and spelled more of the shorter words (< 3 syllables) than longer words (4 and 5 syllables) compared to the reading impairment group. Word type effects included more real words decoded and spelled accurately compared to nonsense words. Orthographic type effects included more proficient decoding and spelling of shorter real phonetic words (< 3 syllables) than real nonphonetic, nonsense phonetic and nonsense nonphonetic words, compared to words containing 4 and 5 syllables. This study provided more detailed decoding and spelling information than current standardized assessment tools, characterized by reading group differences for word type, orthographic type, and word length. There is a need for an assessment tool that assesses both decoding and spelling accuracy and provides detailed error analysis using the same lexical/word stimuli categorized by word type, orthographic type, and word length for children with suspected reading impairment. Decoding and spelling accuracy measures are vital for the provision of detailed differential diagnoses and subtyping of reading impairments and spelling deficits. This detailed decoding and spelling data will also provide information critical for the provision of client-specific intervention.
Naylor, Joanne. (January 2014). Effects of Word Type, Orthographic Type, and Word Length on Decoding and Spelling Abilities of Fourth Graders with and without Reading Impairments (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4693.)
Naylor, Joanne. Effects of Word Type, Orthographic Type, and Word Length on Decoding and Spelling Abilities of Fourth Graders with and without Reading Impairments. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, January 2014. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4693. October 24, 2020.
Naylor, Joanne, “Effects of Word Type, Orthographic Type, and Word Length on Decoding and Spelling Abilities of Fourth Graders with and without Reading Impairments” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, January 2014).
Naylor, Joanne. Effects of Word Type, Orthographic Type, and Word Length on Decoding and Spelling Abilities of Fourth Graders with and without Reading Impairments [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2014.
East Carolina University