Effects of Phonotactic and Orthotactic Probabilities During Fast Mapping on 5-Year-Olds' Learning to Spell


The purpose of this study was to investigate the orthographic-processing skills of typically developing 5-year-old preschool children. Of interest was whether phonotactic probabilities and/or orthotactic probabilities affected their ability to quickly learn the orthographic forms of 12 novel words. Orthographic processing was measured by the children's ability to spell and identify spellings of the novel words. Specifically, we were interested in whether (a) children quickly stored or "fast mapped" orthographic information after minimal exposure to novel words during storybook readings, (b) phonotactic and orthotactic probabilities affected orthographic fast-mapping skills, and (c) orthographic processing explained unique variance on a measure of the children's early spelling abilities. The results of this study indicated that young children quickly fast mapped orthographic information after minimal exposure to novel words, and their spelling (generation or reproduction but not recognition) was influenced by phonotactic and orthotactic probabilities. The significance of this work is that it demonstrates that preschoolers can fast map orthographic words they see onto spoken words they hear while listening to storybooks read to them and that the spelling of preschoolers is influenced uniquely by both phonological and orthographic information (probability of frequent letter and sound sequences in English words).


Communication Sciences and Disorders

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Developmental Neuropsychology