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INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN L2 LITERACY ACQUISITION

PREDICTING READING SKILL FROM SENSITIVITY TO REGULARITIES BETWEEN ORTHOGRAPHY, PHONOLOGY, AND SEMANTICS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2021

Henry Brice
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Noam Siegelman
Affiliation:
Haskins Laboratories
Mark van den Bunt
Affiliation:
Haskins Laboratories
Stephen J. Frost
Affiliation:
Haskins Laboratories
Jay G. Rueckl
Affiliation:
Haskins Laboratories and University of Connecticut
Kenneth R. Pugh
Affiliation:
Haskins Laboratories, University of Connecticut, and Yale University
Ram Frost
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Haskins Laboratories, and University of Connecticut

Abstract

Statistical learning (SL) approaches to reading maintain that proficient reading requires assimilation of rich statistical regularities in the writing system. Reading skills in developing first-language readers are predicted by individual differences in sensitivity to regularities in mappings from orthography to phonology (O-P) and semantics (O-S), where good readers rely more on O-P consistency, and less on O-S associations. However, how these regularities are leveraged by second-language (L2) learners remains an open question. We utilize an individual-differences approach, measuring L2 English learners’ sensitivity to O-P, O-S, and frequency during word-naming, across two years of immersion. We show that reliance on O-P is leveraged by better readers, while reliance on O-S is slower to develop, characterizing less proficient readers. All factors explain substantial individual variance in L2 reading skills. These findings show how SL plays a key role in L2 reading development through its role in assimilating sublexical regularities between print and speech.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

This study was supported by the ERC advanced grant awarded to Ram Frost (project 692502-L2STAT), the Israel Science Foundation (grant 217/14 awarded to Ram Frost), and by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (RO1 HD 067364 awarded to Kenneth Pugh and Ram Frost, and PO1 HD 01994 awarded to Jay Rueckl).

The experiment in this article earned Open Materials and Open Data badges for transparent practices. The materials and data are available at https://osf.io/6wgup/ and https://www.iris-database.org/iris/app/home/detail?id=york:939455

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