Third graders' metalinguistic skills, reading skills, and stress production in derived English words


Purpose: This study examined relationships between 3rd graders' metalinguistic skills (phonological and morphological awareness), reading skills (decoding and word identification), and accurate stress production in derived words with stress-changing suffixes. Method: Seventy-six typically developing 3rd-grade children (M = 8;8[years;months]) participated in a battery of tests measuring general oral language ability, phonological and morphological awareness skills, reading skills, and derived word production. Results: Significant positive correlations between stress accuracy in derived words and all other measures were found. Two multiple regressions were run, one with stress accuracy as the outcome variable and the other with decoding as the outcome variable. Metalinguistic and decoding skills independently accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in derived word stress production beyond that accounted for by age and general oral language ability. When decoding was the outcome variable, accurate stress production explained a significant amount of variance (11%) after phonological and morphological awareness were controlled. Conclusion: The relationship between accurate stress production and decoding appears to be strong and bidirectional. Possibly, the stress accuracy measure taps into another level of phonological awareness (i.e., morphophonological awareness), which develops later than typical segmental measures of phonological awareness. © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Publication Title

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research