More-skilled readers' use of orthographic rimes in reading words in isolation and in context

Judith Anne Calhoon, Marquette University


Two studies examined the effects of word frequency and rime neighborhood size (RNS) on the rime recognition accuracy of students with word recognition levels of fifth to sixth grade. The results obtained by these subjects were compared to a model that predicted that, when children are reading at fifth to sixth grade level, their rime recognition accuracy has reached ceiling levels and they are no longer sensitive to RNS (Leslie & Calhoon, in press). Past research has supported the predictions of this model for readers at second and third grade reading level, but predictions regarding the influence of RNS on older readers' rime recognition has not been examined. The first study followed-up 19 readers from a suburban Milwaukee elementary school who had been tested each year. The second study tested 39 readers, reading peers of the first group, to determine whether the effects in the first group were attributable to that group alone or whether the model's predictions were accurate for both groups. Grade reading levels were assessed using the Qualitative Reading Inventory (Leslie & Caldwell, 1990). Orthographic knowledge was assessed using a triplet list (high and low frequency words and nonwords) in which each legal rime derived from Treiman, Goswami and Bruck (1990) was used. Readers from both studies were reading at a late fifth grade level and were not significantly different from one another. MANOVAs performed on the data found that all readers were minimally sensitive to RNS when reading rimes from high frequency words in stories and on lists. All readers were very sensitive to RNS when reading rimes from low frequency words in stories and on lists. The readers in Study 1 were not sensitive to RNS when reading nonwords, however, the readers in Study 2 were sensitive to RNS in this condition. Word recognition for both groups was predicted by word frequency alone, while nonword recognition was predicted by RNS in Study 2. No word-part variable predicted nonword recognition for readers in Study 1.

Recommended Citation

Calhoon, Judith Anne, "More-skilled readers' use of orthographic rimes in reading words in isolation and in context" (1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9600845.