The magic of reading: Too many influences for quick and easy explanations.

Massaro, D. W., & Jesse, A. (2005). The magic of reading: Too many influences for quick and easy explanations. In T. Trabasso, J. Sabatini, D. W. Massaro, & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), From orthography to pedagogy: Essays in honor of Richard L. Venezky. (pp. 37-61). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Words are fundamental to reading and yet over a century of research has not masked the controversies around how words are recognized. We review some old and new research that disproves simple ideas such as words are read as wholes or are simply mapped directly to spoken language. We also review theory and research relevant to the question of sublexical influences in word recognition. We describe orthography and phonology, how they are related to each other and describe a series of new experiments on how these sources of information are processed. Tasks include lexical decision, perceptual identification, and naming. Dependent measures are reaction time, accuracy of performance, and a new measure, initial phoneme duration, that refers to the duration of the first phoneme when the target word is pronounced. Important factors in resolving the controversies include the realization that reading has multiple determinants, as well as evaluating the type of task, proper controls such as familiarity of the test items and accuracy of measurement of the response. We also address potential limitations with measures related to the mapping between orthography and phonology, and show that the existence of a sound-to-spelling consistency effect does not require interactive activation, but can be explained and predicted by a feedforward model, the Fuzzy logical model of perception.
Publication type
Book chapter
Publication date

Share this page