The training of morphological decomposition in word processing and its effects on literacy skills

  • This study set out to examine the effects of a morpheme-based training on reading and spelling in fifth and sixth graders (N = 47), who present poor literacy skills and speak German as a second language. A computerized training, consisting of a visual lexical decision task (comprising 2,880 items, presented in 12 sessions), was designed to encourage fast morphological analysis in word processing. The children were divided between two groups: the one underwent a morpheme-based training, in which word-stems of inflections and derivations were presented for a limited duration, while their pre- and suffixes remained on screen until response. Another group received a control training consisting of the same task, except that the duration of presentation of a non-morphological unit was restricted. In a Word Disruption Task, participants read words under three conditions: morphological separation (with symbols separating between the words’ morphemes), non-morphological separation (with symbols separating between non-morphological units of words), and no-separation (with symbols presented at the beginning and end of each word). The group receiving the morpheme-based program improved more than the control group in terms of word reading fluency in the morphological condition. The former group also presented similar word reading fluency after training in the morphological condition and in the no-separation condition, thereby suggesting that the morpheme-based training contributed to the integration of morphological decomposition into the process of word recognition. At the same time, both groups similarly improved in other measures of word reading fluency. With regard to spelling, the morpheme-based training group showed a larger improvement than the control group in spelling of trained items, and a unique improvement in spelling of untrained items (untrained word-stems integrated into trained pre- and suffixes). The results further suggest some contribution of the morpheme-based training to performance in a standardized spelling task. The morpheme-based training did not, however, show any unique effect on comprehension. These results suggest that the morpheme-based training is effective in enhancing some basic literacy skill in the population examined, i.e., morphological analysis in word processing and the access to orthographic representations in spelling, with no specific effects on reading fluency and comprehension.

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Author:Irit Bar-Kochva, Marcus HasselhornGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2017/10/31
Date of first Publication:2017/10/31
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/01/23
Tag:intervention study; literacy; morphology; reading; second language learners; spelling
Issue:art. 1583
Page Number:17
Copyright © 2017 Bar-Kochva and Hasselhorn. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0