Acquisition and use of spelling-sound correspondences in reading

Joan Backman, Margaret Bruck, Martine Hebert, Mark S. Seidenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acquisition and use of knowledge concerning the spelling-sound correspondences of English were evaluated by having children read words and nonwords that contained regular and homographic spelling patterns. Regular spelling patterns are associated with a single pronunciation (e.g., -UST as in MUST); homographic patterns have multiple pronunciations (e.g., -OSE as in HOSE, DOSE, LOSE). Analyses of errors, latencies, and pronunciations provided evidence for two complementary developmental processes: good beginning readers rapidly learn to recognize high-frequency words from visual input alone, while at the same time they are expanding and consolidating their knowledge of spelling-sound correspondences. Younger and poor readers rely more on phonological information in word decoding, as evidenced by their particular difficulty reading homographic spelling patterns. Poor readers do not appear to use a radically different strategy for reading words: their perfomance is similar to that of younger, good readers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-133
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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