Research corner

10th April 2015 at 01:00

`Individual Differences in the Effect of OrthographicPhonological Conflict on Rhyme and Spelling Decisions' by Welcome, S E, and Alton, A C

Plos One, March 2015


A typical reader is able to make connections between phonology (how a word sounds) and orthography (how it is spelled). This study uses visual rhyme and spelling tasks to investigate the interaction of orthographic and phonological information in adults with varying levels of reading skill.

The research focuses on adult participants - 43 university students - to measure the effects of phonological and orthographical conflict on fully developed readers. Researchers tested each student's rhyme and spelling abilities through visual word pairings. Some differed in both orthography and phonology (tiecrow), while others shared orthography (farm warm) or phonology (voteboat).

For rhyme judgements, participants were slower and less accurate to accept rhyming pairs when words were spelled differently and to reject non-rhyming pairs when words were spelled similarly. Likewise, for spelling judgements, participants were slower and less accurate at indicating that word-endings were spelled differently when words rhymed, and slower and less accurate at indicating that words were spelled similarly when words did not rhyme.

The study concludes that poor readers may either be using markedly different reading strategies or differ in the degree to which they automatically access word-form information.

"Understanding this variability is important for understanding the reading process more broadly," it states.

Will Martin

Share your views by tweeting @tes

Hot off the press

Zip It: a fancy book of fastenings by Patricia Hegarty and Fhiona Galloway

(Little Tiger Kids)

ISBN 9781848958777

A fun, colourful teaching guide for introducing children to buttons, zips and tying bows, with instructional illustrations and real fastenings on every spread.

The Art of Being a Brilliant NQT by Gary Toward, Chris Henley and Andy Cope

(Crown House Publishing)

ISBN 9781845909406

From interview techniques and career development to preparing outstanding lessons, dealing with workloads and getting involved in school life, this book covers the full range of techniques a newly qualified teacher can use to transform their practice.

Brilliant by Roddy Doyle

(Macmillan Children's Books)

ISBN 9781447248774

In this uplifting adventure novel, Roddy Doyle weaves elements of magical realism into his narrative. Doyle's portrayal of family life and the struggles faced by residents of Dublin deals sensitively with the challenges of depression and makes the subject accessible to younger readers.

For book queries, please email chloe.darracott-cankovic

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today