Because the spelling of many words in the English language (and in many other languages as well) depends on their morphemic structure, children have to have some knowledge about morphemes in order to learn to read and write. This raises the possibility that children gain much of their explicit knowledge about morphemes as a direct result of learning to read and to spell. We report two large-scale longitudinal studies that support the idea of this kind of causal connection. In the first study children’s success in spelling the inflexion at the end of regular past verbs predicted their performance in two morphological awareness tasks a year later. In the second study the children’s consistency in spelling morphemes predicted their ability to define new words on the basis of their morphemic structure. We conclude that the experience of learning to read and write does affect people’s knowledge of morphemes, and we argue that the causal relationship between morphemic knowledge and reading and writing is probably a two-way one.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 29, 2006
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