Relationship Between Students’ Stages of Orthographic Knowledge and Reading Efficiency

Assessment | Upper Elementary School

Summary of Findings:

This research evaluated the relationship between eye movement measures of reading efficiency and students’ orthographic knowledge. A strong relationship was found between these measures.

All eye movement measures differed significantly across the stages of spelling/literacy development, with the later stages being associated with faster reading rates, fewer fixations and regressions per word, and shorter fixation durations (p < .001).

These results demonstrate a strong relationship between orthographic knowledge and reading efficiency as measured by comprehension-based silent reading rate and eye movement behavior during reading. While the reciprocal relationship between orthographic knowledge and reading development is well established, this is the first known demonstration of the relationship between orthographic knowledge, comprehension-based reading rate, and oculomotor efficiency across multiple stages of spelling/literacy development.

“The reading efficiency of students in spelling/literacy stages 2, 3, and 4 aligned fairly well with normative values for grades 2, 4, and 6 respectively. The reading efficiency of students in spelling/literacy stage 5 compared favorably to high school students.”

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Study Profile

Type of Study: Correlational Study

Participants: N = 273

Measure: Elementary Spelling Inventory, Visagraph

Presentation: 19th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Wuppertal, Germany, 2017.

Authors: Kristin M. Gehsmann, Alexandra N. Spichtig, Jeffrey P. Pascoe, and John D. Ferrara