Phonological recoding and vocabulary learning: Does mapping print to speech promote vocabulary acquisition?

Susan Joy Chambrè, Fordham University


The purpose of this experimental study was to examine if explicit attention to orthography via phonological recoding provides additional benefits for vocabulary learning over implicit exposure or no exposure to print for first grade students attending urban Title-I schools. Employing a repeated-measures within-subjects design, participants (N = 55) were randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions: a decoding condition (words sounded out) or implicit print condition (print present, but no attention called to it). Students in both groups learned two sets of words which were paired with pictures and definitions, one set with print exposure and a control set with no print. Results indicated that students in the decoding condition had better recall for the pronunciation, spelling, and meaning of study words when compared to students in the implicit and control conditions. During learning trials for pronunciation and meaning, decoding words exerted an effect of recall for pronunciation and meaning, although meaning results fell short of significance and diminished across trials. Posttest results indicated that students who decoded study words recalled more pronunciations and spellings than students who saw spellings but did not decode them. Recall was better after one day than after one week. Posttest meaning recall was not impacted by decoding since scores were almost perfect in both treatment condition types. Implications of the facilitative effect of print and decoding on vocabulary learning for beginning readers in low-SES settings are discussed.

Subject Area

Education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Chambrè, Susan Joy, "Phonological recoding and vocabulary learning: Does mapping print to speech promote vocabulary acquisition?" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10643255.