Reading skills and challenged phoneme perception

TitleReading skills and challenged phoneme perception
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2011
Conference NameDag van de Fonetiek 2011
AuthorsKuijpers, Cecile, Louis ten Bosch, and Renske Schilte
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationUtrecht, The Netherlands

Numerous studies support the hypothesis that dyslexic persons have a specific problem with phonological processing. This problem is manifest in a weaker mastery of the relation between phonemes and graphemes and of the decoding of words. This research aims to reveal whether a discernable difficulty in correctly identifying distinct phones in speech could have a bearing on the ability to acquire reading skills. In a number of experiments, children with different reading proficiency levels were sub ject to perception experiments in which VCVs were presented, in combination with visual display showing the correct target consonant C and a distracter consonant. Two types of distracters were used, a phonologically close and distant one. Sub jects had to do a two-alternative forced choice task to indicate which of the visually presented graphemes corresponded to the consonant that was presented in the VCV, in various noise conditions (SNR). The findings show that all sub jects are less accurate and less fast when consonants had to be identified in noise. They are also less accurate and less fast if the target phoneme is presented together with a close distracter, as compared to a distant distracter. There was a marked drop in accuracy of the poor readers, but not of the good readers, when the surrounding noise level increased. The experimental results support the hypothesis that phonological representations of poor readers are less adequately built up as compared to good readers.