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Phonological mediation and semantic and orthographic factors in silent reading in French

In a study that followed 48 French-speaking children from kindergarten to the end of Grade 2, a semantic categorization task with homophone and visual foils (Study 1) was used to assess their phonological skills; their orthographic skills were assessed using a choice task involving a correct exemplar, a homophone, and a visual foil (Study 2). In the semantic categorization task, the differences between the visual and homophone foils increased with time, as the homophone foils were more and more likely to be chosen. In the orthographic choice task, performance improved with time, but errors were more likely to involve homophone foils. The results obtained by 2 subgroups of children who differed in their level of orthographic expertise at the end of Grade 2 (Study 3) indicated that, 1 yr earlier (at the end of Grade 1), the future "expert" spellers were more likely than the future "poor" spellers to use phonological processing in silent reading (semantic categorization task). Moreover, in Grade 1, future expert spellers' phonological skills in reading aloud and in spelling from dictation (pseudoword tasks) were better than those of future poor spellers, and future expert spellers also had better phonological awareness skills at the beginning of the last year of kindergarten. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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