Reading and Writing

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 511–533 | Cite as

The role of orthographic and phonological processing skills in the reading and spelling of monolingual Persian children

  • Noriyeh RahbariEmail author
  • Monique Sénéchal
  • Narges Arab-Moghaddam
Original Paper


The main objective of the present study was to examine the contribution of phonological and orthographic skills to Persian reading and spelling. The Persian language is of interest because it has very consistent grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences, but somewhat inconsistent phoneme-to-grapheme correspondences. Reading, spelling, phonological, and orthographic skills were tested in a sample of 109 monolingual Persian students (mean age = 8;1, SD = 4 mo) attending Grade 2 in Iran. The results showed that although monolingual Persian children relied both on phonological and orthographic skills, phonological skills were a strong predictor for both reading and spelling. Another objective of the study was to compare children’s spelling performance in terms of phoneme-to-grapheme (PG) consistencies. As expected, children spelled PG-consistent words more accurately than PG-inconsistent words. Moreover, they relied more on orthographic skills for spelling PG-inconsistent words than for spelling PG-consistent words. The results are discussed in terms of the differential effect of orthographic consistency on reading and spelling.


Reading Persian Consistency 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abu-Rabia, S., & Siegel, L. S. (2003). Reading skills in three orthographies: The case of trilingual Arabic-Hebrew-English-speaking Arab children. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 16, 611–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, M. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Arab-Moghaddam, N., & Sénéchal, M. (2001). Orthographic processing skills in reading and spelling in Persian/English bilinguals. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 140–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baluch, B. (1993). Lexical decision in Persian: A test of the orthographic depth hypothesis. International Journal of Psychology, 28, 19–29.Google Scholar
  5. Baluch, B., & Besner, D. (1991). Visual word recognition: Evidence for strategic control of lexical and nonlexical routines in oral reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17, 644–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baluch, B., & Besner, D. (2001). Basic process in reading: Semantics affects speeded naming of high-frequency words in an alphabetic script. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55, 63–69.Google Scholar
  7. Baluch, B., & Shahidi, S. (1991). Visual word recognition in beginning readers of Persian. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 72, 1327–1331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bialystok, E. (1997). Effects of bilingualism and biliteracy on children’s emerging concept of print. Developmental Psychology, 33, 429–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bosman, A. M., & Groot, M. B. (1996). Phonologic mediation is fundamental to reading: Evidence from beginning readers. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 49, 715–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bowey, J. A, & Muller, D. (2005). Phonological recoding and rapid orthographic learning in third-graders’ silent reading: A critical test of the self-teaching hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 92, 203–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. E. (1983). Categorizing sounds and learning to read: A causal connection. Nature, 301, 419–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bruck, M., Genesee, F., & Caravolas, M. (1997). A cross-linguistic study of early literacy acquisition. In B. A. Blachman (Ed.), Foundations of reading acquisition and dyslexia: Implications for early intervention (pp. 145–162). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Campbell, R., & Sais, E. (1995). Accelerated metalinguistic (phonological) awareness in bilingual children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13, 61–68.Google Scholar
  14. Corcos, E., & Willows, D. M. (1993). The role of visual processing good in and poor readers’ utilization of orthographic information in letter strings. In S. F. Wright, & R. Groner (Eds.), Facets of dyslexia and its remediation (pp. 95–106). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  15. Defior, S., Martos, F., & Cary, L. (2002). Differences in reading acquisition development in two shallow orthographies: Portuguese and Spanish. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 135–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Defior, S., & Serrano, F. (2005). The initial development of spelling in Spanish: From global to analytical. Reading Writing, 18, 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1981). Peabody pictures vocabulary test—revised. Circle Pines, MN:␣America Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  18. Ehri, L. C. (1987). Learning to read and spell words. Journal of Reading Behavior, 19, 5–31.Google Scholar
  19. Ehri, L. C. (1992). Reconceptualizing the development of sight word reading and its relation to recoding. In P. B. Gough, L. C. Ehri, & R. Treiman (Eds.), Reading acquisition (pp. 107–143). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Ehri, L. C. (1994). Development of the ability to read words. In R. Ruddell, M. Ruddell, & H. Singer (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (pp. 323–358). Newark, DE:␣International Reading Association.Google Scholar
  21. Ehri, L. C. (2005). Learning to read words: Theory, findings, and issues. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9, 167–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frith, U. (1985). Beneath the surface of developmental dyslexia. In K. Patterson, M. Coltheart, & J. Marshall (Eds.), Surface dyslexia (pp. 301–330). London: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Frith, U., Wimmer, H., & Landerl, K. (1998). Differences in phonological recoding in German- and English-speaking children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 2, 31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goswami, U., & Bryant, P. E. (1990). Phonological skills in learning to read. Hillsdale, NJ:␣Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  25. Goswami, U., Gombert, J. E., & Barrera, L. F. (1998). Children’s orthographic representations and linguistic transparency: Nonsense word reading in English, French, and Spanish. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 19–52.Google Scholar
  26. Goswami, U., Porpodas, C., & Wheelwright, S. (1997). Children’s orthographic representations in English and Greek. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 3, 273–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goswami, U., Ziegler, J. C., Dalton, L., & Schneider, W. (2001). Pseudohomophone effects and phonological recoding procedures in reading development in English and German. Journal of Memory and Language, 45, 648–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Goswami, U., Ziegler, J. C., Dalton, L., & Schneider, W. (2003). Nonword reading across orthographies: How flexible is the choice of reading units? Applied Psycholinguistics, 24, 235–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ho, C. S.-H., & Bryant, P. (1997). Phonological skills are important in learning to read Chinese. Developmental Psychology, 33, 946–951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Juel, C. (1988). Learning to read and write: A longitudinal study of 54 children from first through fourth grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 437–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Juul, H. (2005). Knowledge of context sensitive spellings as a component of spelling competence: Evidence from Danish. Applied Psycholinguistics 26, 249–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Katz, L., & Frost, R. (1992). The reading process is different for different orthographies: The orthographic depth hypothesis. In R. Frost, & L. Katz (Eds.), Orthography, phonology, morphology, and meaning (pp. 67–84). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  33. Lesaux. N. K., & Siegel., L. S. (2003). The development of reading in children who speak English as a second language. Developmental Psychology, 39, 1005–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lundberg, I., Olofsson, A., & Wall, S. (1980). Reading and spelling skills in the first school years predicted from phonemic awareness skills in Kindergarten. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 21, 159–173.Google Scholar
  35. Metsala, J. L. (1999). Young children’s phonological awareness and nonword repetition as a function of vocabulary development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nassaji, H., & Geva, E. (1999). The contribution of phonological and orthographic processing skills to adult ESL reading: Evidence from native speakers of Farsi. Applied Psycholinguistics, 20, 241–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Olson, R. K., Wise, B., Connert. F., Rack, J., & Fulker, D. (1989). Specific deficits in component reading and language skills: Genetic and environmental influences. Journal of learning Disabilities, 22, 339–348.Google Scholar
  38. Perfetti, C. A. (1985). Reading ability. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Pinheiro, A. M. V. (1995). Reading and spelling development in Brazilian Portuguese. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 7, 111–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seymour, P. H. K., Aro, M., & Erskine, J. M. (2003). Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 143–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Share, D. L. (1995). Phonological recoding and self-teaching: Sine qua non of reading acquisition. Cognition 55, 151–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Share, D. L. (1999). Phonological recoding and orthographic learning: A direct test of self-teaching hypothesis. Journal of experimental child psychology, 29, 294–305.Google Scholar
  43. Share, D. L., & Stanovich, K. E. (1995). Cognitive processing in early reading development: Accommodating individual differences in to a model of acquisition. Issue in Education: Contributions from Educational Psychology, 1, 1–57.Google Scholar
  44. Spencer, H. L., & Hanley, R. (2003). Effects of orthographic transparency on reading and phoneme awareness in children learning to read in Wales. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sprenger-Charolles, L. (2003). Linguistic processes in reading and spelling: The case of alphabetic writing systems: English, French, German and Spanish. In T. Nunes, & P. Bryant (Eds.), Handbook of children’s literacy (pp. 43–65). The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  46. Sprenger-Charolles, L., Siegel, L. S., & Bonnet, P. (1998). Reading and spelling acquisition in French: The role of phonological mediation and orthographic factors. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 68, 134–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sprenger-Charolles, L., Siegel, L. S., Bechennec, D., & Serniclaes, W. (2003). Development of phonological and orthographic processing in reading aloud, in silent reading, and in spelling: A four-year longitudinal study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 84, 194–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Steiger, J. H. (1980). Test for comparing elements of a correlation matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 87, 245–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thorstad, G. (1991). The effect of orthography in the acquisition of literacy skills. British Journal of Psychology, 82, 527–537.Google Scholar
  50. Vellutino, F. R., & Scanlon, D. M. (1987). Phonological coding, phonological awareness, and reading ability: Evidence from a longitudinal and experimental study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 33, 321–363.Google Scholar
  51. Wimmer, H., & Goswami, U. (1994). The influence of orthographic consistency on reading development: Word recognition in English and German children. Cognition, 51, 91–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wimmer, H., & Hummer, P. (1990). How German-speaking first graders read and spell: Doubts on the importance of the logographic stage. Applied Psycholinguistics, 11, 349–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: A psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ziegler, J. C., Stone, G. O., & Jacobs, A. M. (1997). What’s the pronunciation for OUGH and the spelling for /u/? A database for computing feed-forward and feedback inconsistency in English. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 29, 600–618.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noriyeh Rahbari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Monique Sénéchal
    • 1
  • Narges Arab-Moghaddam
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Iranian Academic Centre for EducationCulture & Research (ACECR)-Fars BranchShirazIran

Personalised recommendations