High quality lexical representations in memory, characterized by accuracy and stability, are said to underpin fluent reading. Here, the relationship between orthographic quality and reading speed was examined by asking undergraduates (N = 74) to repeatedly read and spell words. Spelling performance over five trials indicated orthographic quality. Single word reading speed was measured using E-Prime technology. A within-participant repeated measures analysis revealed that words which participants spelled consistently accurately, were read faster than words which were misspelled. This pattern also held in a within-word analysis; the same words were read faster by individuals who always spelled them correctly, compared to those who did not. Further, it was found that when words were spelled using the same incorrect letter patterns across trials (i.e., in the same erroneous way), they were read faster than when they had an incorrect but less stable representation (i.e., inconsistent spelling across trials). Hence, the difference in reading speed appears to be a function of both the accuracy and stability of the orthographic representations stored in memory, rather than due to characteristics of individual participants or words. These results lend support for a central role of lexical quality in both spelling and reading, and are discussed with reference to the lexical quality hypothesis.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 16, 2014
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