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The effect of phonology and semantics on word learning in 5- and 6-year-old children was explored. In Experiment 1, children learned to read words varying in spelling-sound consistency and imageability. Consistency affected performance on early trials, whereas imageability affected performance on later trials. Individual differences among children in phonemic awareness on the trained words were related to learning, and knowledge of a word's meaning predicted how well it was learned. In Experiment 2, phonological and semantic knowledge of nonwords was manipulated prior to word learning. Familiarization with a word's pronunciation facilitated word learning, but there was no additional benefit from being taught to associate a meaning with a nonword. © 2012 Copyright 2012 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific Studies of Reading

Publication Date





504 - 525