Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 645–671

Behavioral and neurophysiological effects of morphological awareness training on spelling and reading

  • Silvana Weiss
  • Roland H. Grabner
  • Reinhard Kargl
  • Christian Purgstaller
  • Andreas Fink
Article

Abstract

Behavioral and neurophysiological effects of a computer-aided morphological training protocol were examined in German-speaking children from Grades 3 to 9. Study 1 compared morphological awareness, reading, and spelling skills of 34 trained children with an untrained control group of 34 children matched for age, sex, and intelligence. All participants in the training group showed increases in morphological awareness, but only students from secondary school improved significantly in reading and spelling competences. In Study 2, a subsample of 8 trained children with poor spelling and reading abilities and 10 untrained children with higher language competencies underwent an electroencephalography testing involving three different language tasks. The training resulted in decreased theta-activity and increased activity in lower (7–10 Hz) and upper alpha (10–13 Hz). These findings reflect more effortful and attention-demanding processing after the training and suggest that children with poor spelling and reading abilities use the acquired morphological knowledge in terms of a compensatory strategy.

Keywords

Morphological training Compensatory strategy Spelling Reading EEG Reading and spelling development 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvana Weiss
    • 1
  • Roland H. Grabner
    • 1
  • Reinhard Kargl
    • 2
  • Christian Purgstaller
    • 2
  • Andreas Fink
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Reading and Spelling GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of GrazGrazAustria

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