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Effects of a morpheme-based training procedure on the literacy skills of readers with a reading disability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2020

Irit Bar-Kochva
University of Cologne and German Institute of Adult Education (DIE)—Leibniz Centre for Lifelong Learning
Sebastian Peter Korinth
Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main and Center for Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA)
Marcus Hasselhorn
Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Center for Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA) and DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education
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The effect of a computerized morpheme-based training procedure on the reading and writing skills of reading-disabled participants (N = 30, mean age = 11.23 years, SD = 0.935) was examined. Considering that fast morphological analysis has been found to have a central role in written word processing of skilled readers, the following training was designed to enhance this process: it consisted of a visual lexical-decision task in which morphologically complex words were visually presented while the duration of the word-stems’ presentation was gradually restricted. A control intervention consisted of the same task, except that the duration of a nonmorphological unit’s presentation was manipulated. The children were divided into two groups: one underwent the morpheme-based intervention, and the other underwent the control intervention. The morpheme-based training procedure had a positive effect beyond that of the control procedure on the spelling of untrained word stems embedded in trained prefixes and suffixes. These results suggest a general improvement in retrieval of orthographic–morphological representations in spelling. Improvements in other measures could, however, not be ascribed to the morphological manipulation alone. These results emphasize the link between morphological processing and spelling. However, the morpheme-based training procedure appears to be less relevant to the improvement of reading.

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© Cambridge University Press 2020

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