A follow-on study was conducted on first- and third-grade children who were tested on the Word Identification subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test. Errors were phonetically transcribed and proportions of total errors were assigned to one of four strategy types based upon the type of decoding analysis: whole word, part word, and either probable (legal) or improbable (illegal) phonetic decoding. The type of strategy employed was highly correlated with concurrent reading test scores and predicted 30 to 37% of the variance in word recognition 19 months later. Use of phonetic decoding was a strong positive predictor and whole word decoding a negative predictor at both first and third grade. Part word decoding became a negative predictor at third grade. Nearly all children used more than one strategy and there was a developmental trend to shift to a phonetic strategy. But this shift was not inevitable and had not occurred for 31% of the children at the close of the study. Children who stayed with the most inefficient strategies had significantly higher vocabulary scores and equivalent phonemic processing ability when compared to readers with more efficient decoding strategies.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adams, M. J. 1990. Beginning to Read. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Ball, E. W., and Blachman, B. A. 1991. Does phoneme awareness training in kindergarten make a difference in early word recognition and developmental spelling? Reading Research Quarterly 26:49–66.
Baron, J. 1979. Orthographic and word-specific mechanisms in children’s reading of words. Child Development 50:60–72.
Barr, R. 1974. The effect of instruction on children’s reading strategies. Reading Research Quarterly 10:555–82.
Beck, I. L. 1981. Reading problems and instructional practices. In Reading Research: Advances in Theory and Practice, G. E. MacKinnon and T. G. Waller (eds.). Vol. 2. New York: Academic Press.
Beck, I. L., and McCaslin, E. S. 1978. An analysis of the dimensions that affect the development of code-breaking ability in eight beginning reading programs. LRDC Report No. 1978/6. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center.
Blachman, B. A., Ball, E. W., Black, R. S., and Tangel, D. M. 1994. Kindergarten teachers develop phoneme awareness in low-income, inner city classrooms. Reading and Writing 6:1–18.
Bradley, L., and Bryant, P. E. 1985. Rhyme and Reason in Reading and Spelling. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Bruck, M., and Treiman, R. 1992. Learning to pronounce words: The limitations of analogies. Reading Research Quarterly 27:375–88.
Calfee, R. C., Lindamood, P. E., and Lindamood, C. H. 1973. Acoustic-phonetic skills and reading—kindergarten through 12th grade. Journal of Educational Psychology 64:293–98.
Cohen A. S. 1974. Oral reading errors of first grade children taught by a code emphasis approach. Reading Research Quarterly 10:616–50.
Dunn, L. M., and Dunn, L. M. 1981. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Revised. Circle-Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
Ehri, L. C., and Robbins, C. 1992. Beginners need some decoding skill to read words by analogy. Reading Research Quarterly 27:13–26.
Frith, U. 1985. Beneath the surface of developmental dyslexia. In Surface Dyslexia, K. Patterson, M. Coltheart, and J. Marshall (eds.). London: Erlbaum.
Goswami, U. 1986. Children’s use of analogy in learning to read: A developmental study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 42:73–83.
Goswami, U. 1988. Orthographic analogies and reading development. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 40:239–68.
Goswami, U. 1991. Learning about spelling sequences: The role of onsets and rimes in analogies in reading. Child Development 62:1110–23.
Goswami, U., and Bryant, P. 1990. Phonological Skills and Learning to Read. Hove, U.K.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Ltd.
Gough, P. B., and Hilliger, M. L. 1980. Learning to read: An unnatural act. Bulletin of The Orton Society 20:179–96.
Gough, P. B., Juel, C., and Roper-Schneider, D. 1983. Code and cipher: A two-stage conception of initial reading acquisition. In Searches for Meaning in Reading/Language Processing and Interaction, J. A. Niles and L. A. Harris (eds.). Rochester, NY: National Reading Conference.
Henry, M. K. 1989. Children’s word structure knowledge: Implications for decoding and spelling instruction. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2:135–52.
Hohn, W. E., and Ehri, L. C. 1983. Do alphabet letters help prereaders acquire phoneme segmentation skill? Journal of Educational Psychology 75:752–62.
Howard, M. 1982. Utilizing oral-motor feedback in auditory conceptualization. Journal of Educational Neurology 2:24–35.
Jeffrey, W. E., and Samuels, S. J. 1967. The effect of method of reading training on initial reading transfer. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 6:354–58.
Juel, C., Griffith, P. L., and Gough, P. B. 1984. Reading and spelling strategies of first grade children. In Issues in Literacy. A Research Perspective, J. A. Niles and R. Lalik (eds.). Rochester, NY: National Reading Conference.
Juel, C., and Roper-Schneider, D. 1985. The influence of basal readers on first grade reading. Reading Research Quarterly 20:134–52.
Liberman, I. Y., Shankweiler, C., Fischer, F. W., and Carter, B. 1974. Reading and the awareness of linguistic segments. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 18:201–12.
Lindamood, G. H., and Lindamood, P. C. 1971. Lindamood Auditory Conceptualization Test. Austin, TX: PRO-ED. Also available Riverside Publishing.
Lundberg, I., Olofsson, A., and Wall, S. 1980. Reading and spelling skills in the first school years predicted from phoneme awareness skills in kindergarten. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 21:159–73.
Marchbanks, G., and Levin, H. 1965. Cues by which children recognize words. Journal of Educational Psychology 56:57–61.
Marsh, G., Friedman, M., Welch, V., and Desberg, P. 1981. A cognitive-developmental approach to reading acquisition. In Reading Research Advances in Theory and Practice, T. G. Waller and G. E. MacKinnon (eds.). Vol. 3. New York: Academic Press.
McGuinness, C., McGuinness, D., and McGuinness, G. 1996. Phono-Graphix: A new method for remediating reading difficulties. Annals of Dyslexia 46:73–96.
McGuinness, D. 1981. Auditory and motor aspects of language development in males and females. In Sex Differences in Dyslexia, A. Ansara, N. Geschwind, A. Galaburda, M. Albert, and N. Gartress (eds.). Baltimore: The Orton Dyslexia Society.
McGuinness, D. 1985. When Children Don’t Learn. New York: Basic Books.
McGuinness, D. 1997a. Why our Children Can’t Read. New York: Free Press.
McGuinness, D. 1997b. Allographs I: A Linguistic Spelling Program. Sanibel, FL: SeaGate Press.
McGuinness, D., McGuinness, C., and Donohue, J. 1995. Phonological training and the alphabet principle: Evidence for reciprocal causality. Reading Research Quarterly 30:830–53.
Mullis, I. V. S., Campbell, J. R., and Farstrup, A. E. 1993. NAEP 1992 Reading Report Card for the Nation and States. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Education Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics.
Nation, K., and Hulme, C. 1997. Phoneme segmentation, not onset-rime segmentation, predicts early reading and spelling skills. Reading Research Quarterly 32:154–67.
Rayner, K. 1976. Developmental changes in word recognition strategies. Journal of Educational Psychology 68:323–29.
Rayner, K., and Pollatsek, A. 1989. The Psychology of Reading. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Richards, F. A., and Commons, M. L. 1990. Postformal cognitive-developmental theory and research: A review of its current status. In Higher Stages of Cognitive Development, C. N. Alexander and E. J. Langer (eds.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Rosner, J., and Simon, D. P. 1971. The auditory analysis test: An initial report. Journal of Learning Disabilities 4:384–92.
Share, D. L., Jorm, A. F., Maclean, R., and Matthews, R. 1984. Sources of individual differences in reading acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology 76:1309–24.
Tangel, D. M., and Blachman, B. A. 1995. Effect of phoneme awareness instruction on the invented spelling of first-grade children: A one-year follow-up. Journal of Reading Behavior 27:153–84.
Treiman, R. 1985. Onsets and rimes as units of spoken syllables: Evidence from children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 39:161–81.
Treiman, R., Goswami, U., and Bruck, M. 1990. Not all nonwords are alike: Implications for reading development and theory. Memory and Cognition 18:559–67.
Treiman, R., and Zukowski, A. 1991. Levels of phonological awareness. In Phonological Process in Literacy. A Tribute to Isabelle Y. Liberman, S. A. Brady and D. P. Shankweiler (eds.). Hillsdale, NJ; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Wagner, R. K., and Torgesen, J. K. 1987. The nature of phonological processing and its causal role in the acquisition of reading skill. Psychological Bulletin 101:192–212.
Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J. K., and Rashotte, C. A. 1994. The development of reading-related phonological processing abilities: New evidence of bidirectional causality from a latent variable longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology 30:73–87.
Willert, M. K., and Kamii, C. 1985. Reading in kindergarten. Direct vs. indirect teaching. Young Children May, 3–9.
Williams, J. P., Blumberg, E. L., and Williams, D. V. 1970. Cues used in visual word recognition. Journal of Educational Psychology 61:310–15.
Woodcock, R. W. 1987. Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests—Revised. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
About this article
Cite this article
McGuinness, D. Decoding strategies as predictors of reading skill: A follow-on study. Ann. of Dyslexia 47, 115–150 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-997-0023-9
- Reading Skill
- Letter String
- Phoneme Awareness
- Decode Strategy