Trainability in lexical specificity mediates between short-term memory and both vocabulary and rhyme awareness
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SourceLearning and Individual Differences, 57, (2017), pp. 163-169
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Learning and Individual Differences
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Learning and Plasticity; Psycholinguistics
A major goal in the early years of elementary school is learning to read, a process in which children show substantial individual differences. To shed light on the underlying processes of early literacy, this study investigates the interrelations among four known precursors to literacy: phonological short-term memory, vocabulary size, rhyme awareness, and trainability in the phonological specificity of lexical representations, by means of structural equation modelling, in a group of 101 4-year-old children. Trainability in lexical specificity was assessed by teaching children pairs of new phonologically-similar words. Standardized tests of receptive vocabulary, short-term memory, and rhyme awareness were used. The best-fitting model showed that trainability in lexical specificity partially mediated between short-term memory and both vocabulary size and rhyme awareness. These results demonstrate that individual differences in the ability to learn phonologically-similar new words are related to individual differences in vocabulary size and rhyme awareness.
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