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Seventy-five 6- to 11-year-old children were administered tests of phonological awareness, verbal short term memory (STM), and visual-verbal paired associate learning (PA learning) to investigate their relationship with word recognition and decoding skills. Phonological awareness was a stronger concurrent predictor of word recognition than verbal STM, and phonological awareness but not verbal STM was a predictor of learning in the PA learning task. Importantly, measures of phonological awareness and PA learning both accounted for independent variance in word reading, even when decoding skill was controlled. The results suggest that PA learning and phonological awareness tasks tap two separate mechanisms involved in learning to read. The results are discussed in relation to current theories of reading development.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Child Psychol

Publication Date





160 - 173


Child, Child Development, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Paired-Associate Learning, Phonetics, Predictive Value of Tests, Psychological Tests, Random Allocation, Reading, Speech Perception