Learning novel words by ear or by eye? An advantage for lexical inferencing in listening versus reading narratives in fourth grade

Esther Geva, Kama Galili, Tami Katzir, Michal Shany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the ability to infer the meaning of novel made-up words that appeared in 16 short narrative texts, presented in two modalities—reading and listening. Hebrew-speaking 4th grade students (N = 54) were asked to infer the meanings of the made-up words in both modality conditions. In this cross-group design, students were randomly assigned to one of two order conditions: reading first or listening first. Regardless of condition, participants were better able to infer the meaning of the made-up words in the listening condition than in the reading condition. Individual differences in word reading, vocabulary, and reading comprehension mediated novel word learning but working memory did not. Results are discussed in relation to the challenges faced by 4th grade Hebrew readers in the transition from reading a fully pointed (vowelized) shallow orthography to an unpointed, deep orthography. The ability of 4th grade readers to infer novel words appears to be enhanced when listening to animated narration, and is mediated by extant vocabulary knowledge and higher-order comprehension processes, but also by basic decoding skills.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1917-1944
Number of pages28
JournalReading and Writing
Volume30
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Language comprehension
  • Listening
  • Novel word-learning
  • Prosody
  • Reading

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Linguistics and Language

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