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Applying the self-teaching hypothesis to adults: the effects of reading condition and syllable length on orthographic learning

Lien, Bailey (2017) Applying the self-teaching hypothesis to adults: the effects of reading condition and syllable length on orthographic learning. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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An orthographic learning protocol was used to test whether the self-teaching hypothesis (Share, 1995) applies to adults. The self-teaching hypothesis posits that readers can independently use phonological recoding to achieve skilled recognition of unfamiliar printed words. Eighteen Native English-speaking adults read short stories that contained unfamiliar target pseudowords either aloud or silently. The pseudowords were either monosyllabic or multisyllabic. The amount of orthographic learning was tested one week later with two posttests. It was predicted that adults would perform similarly as children, since the self-teaching hypothesis asserts that decoding remains a fundamental mechanism for orthographic learning across all stages of reading development. As expected, the results revealed that decoding ability is positively correlated with orthographic learning. However, we found stronger orthographic learning as measured by an Orthographic Choice task when adults read aloud, as compared to silently. We also found stronger learning as measured by a Spelling task when adults learn monosyllabic items. We conclude that adults make greater use of lexicalized decoding, which draws upon visual similarities between new and already learned words, than the letter-sound decoding used by beginning readers. Further, we hypothesize that silent reading promotes the use of lexicalized decoding whereas reading aloud stimulates both beginner decoding and lexicalized decoding. Unobserved in children, these findings suggest that orthographic learning occurs in adults but it involves a different mix of decoding strategies than seen in children.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lien, Baileyyil122@pitt.eduyil122
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorFiez,
Committee MemberFraser,
Committee MemberWarren,
Committee MemberFraundorf,
Date: 26 April 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 April 2017
Approval Date: 26 April 2017
Submission Date: 25 April 2017
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 41
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Self-teaching; phonological recoding; adult orthographic learning; printed-word acquisition; silent reading
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2017 15:51
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2018 05:15


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