chapter  4
23 Pages

Onsets and Rimes as Functional Units in Reading

Children who are beginning to learn to read are faced with a daunting task: they have to work out the connection between sequences of letters - printed words - and the sounds of those words in their spoken language. Traditionally, psychologists have proposed two ways in which children may set about this task. The first is to begin to read by learning associations between entire letter-strings and spoken words ('look-and-say' reading strategies). This approach has been called the logographic route to reading. Children using a logographic strategy are thought to learn connections between relatively unanalyzed visual units and individual words in spoken language. For example, a child reading logographically may read a nonsense word like 'cime' as 'cats', guessing at the pronunciation of the word on the basis of its first letter (e.g. Marsh et al., 1981).