Morphological Awareness and Learning to Read: A Cross-Language Perspective

TitleMorphological Awareness and Learning to Read: A Cross-Language Perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsKuo, L. -jen, & Anderson R. C.
JournalEducational Psychologist
Date Published00/00
ISBN NumberISSN-0046-1520

In the past decade, there has been a surge of interest in morphological awareness, which refers to the ability to reflect on and manipulate morphemes and word formation rules in a language. This review provides a critical synthesis of empirical studies on this topic from a broad cross-linguistic perspective. Research with children speaking several languages indicates that knowledge of inflectional morphology is acquired before knowledge of derivational morphology and the morphology of compounds, which continue to develop through the elementary school years. Research establishes that morphological awareness contributes to the decoding of morphologically complex words and contributes to the development of reading comprehension, although the relationship is probably reciprocal rather than unidirectional. Morphological awareness becomes an increasingly important predictor of measures of reading as children grow older. Morphological awareness is intertwined with other aspects of metalinguistic awareness and linguistic competence–notably, phonological awareness, syntactic awareness, and vocabulary knowledge. Lack of satisfactory control of these intertwined elements is one of several shortcomings of the existing literature.

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