Two experiments demonstrate that individual differences among normal adult readers, including lexical quality, are expressed in silent reading at the word level. In the first of two studies we identified major dimensions of variability among college readers and among words using factor analysis. We then examined the effects of these dimensions of variability on eye movements during paragraph reading. More experienced readers (who also were higher in reading speed) read words more quickly, especially less frequent words, while readers with higher lexical knowledge showed shorter early fixations, especially for more frequent words. These results suggest that individual differences in reading may reflect differences in the quality of lexical representations and in reading experience, which is a source of lexical quality. In a second study, we controlled the lexical knowledge readers obtained from new words through a training paradigm that varied exposure to a word’s orthographic, phonological, and meaning constituents. Training exposure to orthographic and phonological constituents affected first pass reading measures, and phonological and meaning training affected second pass measures. Incomplete knowledge of word components slowed first pass reading times, compared to both more complete knowledge and no knowledge. Training effects were mediated by individual differences, pointing to lexical quality and reading experience—which, combined reflect reading expertise—as important in word reading as part of text reading.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 24, 2016
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