Children develop some orthographic knowledge before learning to read. In some contexts phonological knowledge can scaffold orthographic understanding, but in others, phonological knowledge must be ignored in favor of orthographic knowledge. The current study examines the development of orthographic knowledge as it interacts with phonological knowledge in early readers. Forty-five Kindergarten students were presented with two different nonwords on screen and their gaze was tracked. In the first task, they were asked to choose the best “word,” and in the second task they were asked to choose the best “word” for a specific pronunciation, thereby requiring phonological decoding of the stimuli. Our findings indicate that early readers show explicit awareness of some orthographic conventions and implicit awareness of others, but they only showed implicit awareness when they did not have to additionally decode the stimuli. These results suggest that early orthographic knowledge may be fragile and easily masked by phonological knowledge.
Kaefer, T. (2016). Integrating Orthographic and Phonological Knowledge in Early Readers: Implicit and Explicit Knowledge. Child Development Research, 2016, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6036129