Phonetic Coding in Marginally Competent Readers

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Findings from recent studies suggest that children with reading disorders are deficient in coding the phonetic features of letters in memory, and that this deficiency is apparent whether the letters are presented visually or auditorily. The present investigation represents an additional test of the phonetic-deficit hypothesis. Ss in this experiment were 16 children classified as marginally competent readers and 16 children classified as good readers. Their task was to recall rhyming or nonrhyming letter sequences presented either visually or auditorily. Marginal readers showed less evidence of phonetic coding than good readers, whether letter presentations were visual or auditory, as in previous studies. However, analyses carried out separately on the data of each reading group suggest that marginal readers were capable of phonetic coding, at least when letter presentations were auditory. These findings raise the possibility that the phonetic-coding deficiency shown by children who are subaverage readers is not as pervasive as has been suggested previously.

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American Journal of Psychology, v. l09, issue 1, p. 87-94