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The impact of reading material's lexical accessibility on text fading effects in children's reading performance

The acceleration phenomenon (AP) is defined by improvements in reading speed and reading comprehension, induced by an artificial text fading procedure corresponding to the previously determined fastest individual reading rate. Recent results, however, indicated that fading that is slower than the self-paced reading rate can produce comparable reading enhancements.

As reading performance can be strongly influenced by the reading material, this study aimed at investigating to which extent reading enhancements induced by text fading depend on the reading material's characteristics.

We confronted 39 German third graders with a previously utilized text fading procedure, which was slower than their self-paced reading rate. Included text varied regarding to the lexical accessibility (LA), representing how well information can be accessed from the mental lexicon. Children's reading rates increased statistically significant due to text fading for all LA levels. However, reading comprehension was sensitive to the text material's characteristics: Reading comprehension enhancements were observable for easily accessible reading material, but not for material with intermediate or difficult levels of LA. Material that was difficult to retrieve from the mental lexicon even resulted in reduced reading comprehension in the fading condition.

Possible influences on immediate lexical access, the impact of working memory capacity and implications for future AP research are discussed.

Nagler, Telse; Lonnemann, Jan; Linkersdörfer, Janosch; Hasselhorn, Marcus; Lindberg, Sven: The impact of reading material's lexical accessibility on text fading effects in children's reading performance, in: Reading and Writing, 27 (2014) 5, 841-853

last modified Aug 18, 2015