Morphological Awareness, Reading Ability, and the Reading of Multi-Morphemic Words
Geier, B. Kelly
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This study examines the effects of morphological awareness and reading ability on the accuracy and speed of reading multi-morphemic words. Test of word reading ability and morphological awareness were given to 134 Grade 5 students. They also completed a test of their ability to read morphologically complex words, in which accuracy and response times were recorded. Two sets of response time scores were calculated – the first taking into account only the accurately pronounced words, and the second taking into account both the accurately and the inaccurately pronounced words. These words varied in surface frequency, base frequency, and transparency. Analysis of variances indicated that multi-morphemic word reading accuracy and speed were positively related to reading ability, morphological awareness, surface and base frequencies, and transparency. Significant interactions showed that (a) high base frequency increased reading accuracy and speed for words with low surface frequency, particularly for the less able students, and (b) the combination of high base frequency and transparency increased reading accuracy and speed for words with low surface frequency. Findings were similar for accuracy and both sets of response time scores. These results imply that morphological knowledge is involved in the reading of multi-morphemic words, suggesting that investigation of instruction that targets the morphological characteristics of words is warranted.