Phonologic and semantic processing in reading-disabled and nondisabled males at two age levels

Betsy Waterman, Lawrence Lewandowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The purpose of the following study was to replicate the confusability paradigm of Byrne and Shea (1979) by examining phonologic and semantic performances of good and poor readers. This study added an older age group and a phonological awareness task to examine other aspects of phonological processing across age. The confusability tasks included a pseudoword recognition task with only phonological information available for coding and a word recognition task with both phonetic and semantic information available for coding. Forty poor readers and 40 good readers were divided into two separate age groups (8-10 years, 14-16 years). Rhyming, semantic, control, and general errors were recorded. On the pseudoword task poor readers′ rhyming versus control errors increased whereas good readers′ rhyming versus control errors decreased with age. On the word task poor readers made more errors on semantic than rhyming trials while good readers made more rhyming than semantic errors. Poor readers made significantly more errors on the phonological awareness task than good readers. The combined results suggest, as did Byrne and Shea, that poor readers have a weak-functioning phonological system which they rely upon less when semantic information is available for coding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-103
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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