The short- and long-term predictions of reading accuracy and speed from paired-associate learning

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Cross-sectional studies have established that performance on paired-associate learning (PAL) tasks is associated with reading per- formance. There are good reasons to expect such a relationship because learning to read involves learning the sounds of individual letters and possibly also sounds of strings of letters (e.g., spelling patterns). However, results from longitudinal studies have been mixed. A closer look at these studies suggests that PAL may be related to development of accuracy rather than speed in reading. This suggestion was investigated directly in the current longitudi- nal study. The study followed 137 students from Grade 0 (kindergarten) to Grade 5. In Grade 0, they completed measures of PAL, letter knowledge, phoneme awareness, and rapid automa- tized naming (RAN). In Grades 1 and 5, decoding accuracy was measured with the addition of decoding speed in Grade 5. PAL in Grade 0 was found to be a unique predictor of decoding accuracy in Grades 1 and 5 after controlling for Grade 0 letter knowledge, phoneme awareness, and RAN. PAL in Grade 0 even contributed to Grade 5 decoding accuracy after also controlling for Grade 1 decoding. Zero-order correlations between PAL and Grade 5 decod- ing speed were nonsignificant and close to zero. The results indicate that PAL measures a trait that may influence reading development over a substantial amount of time. Possible roles of PAL in decoding development over time are discussed, for example, how verbal learning may be a core component in the acquisition of associations between letter patterns (spelling patterns) and their pronunciation.
TidsskriftJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Sider (fra-til)77-89
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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