Morphological Use as an Indicator of Reading Disability

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Children with reading disabilities differ from children that read typically in their use of morphological forms. This view has been supported by multiple studies that review the relationship between reading and morphology (Carlisle, J., & Stone, C. 2005; Nagy, W., Berninger, V., & Abbott, R. 2006; Reed, D. 2008; Kuo, L. & Anderson, R. 2006). Morphology has been linked to reading ability, as has phonology, for many years. Traditionally reading ability, or disability, is detected by the student’s strength with phonology(Crisp, J.& Lambon Ralph, M. 2006; Marshall, C. & van der Lely, H. 2007;), yet many recent studies have indicated that morphological awareness can play a key role in the detection and intervention of reading disability, especially as the student gets older (Nagy, W., Berninger, V., & Abbott, R. 2006; McCutchen, D., Green, L., & Abbott, R.2008; Rabin, J., & Deacon, H.2008). In this literature review, we will discuss morphological use and its connection to reading ability, the connection between phonology and reading, and the importance of morphological form usage as an indicator of reading ability. Finally, we will discuss the focus of this research, its purpose, significance, and research questions.

Since lower use of morphological forms can be an indicator of reading disability, it is important to understand what morphological forms are. A morpheme is a single unit of meaning, and a form in morphology can refer to a suffix or prefix, otherwise known as bound morphemes (Deacon, S., Parrila, R., &Kirby, J. 2006). These forms can change the meaning of a word but do not have meaning without attachment to a word. For instance –ed can change a verb into its past tense, while adding dis- to the beginning o...

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Reed, D. K. (2008). A synthesis of morphology interventions and effects on reading outcomes for students in grades K-12. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 23(1), 36–49

*Siegel, L. S. (2008). Morphological awareness skills of English language learners and children with dyslexia. Topics in Language Disorders, 28(1), 15–27

Tsesmeli, S., & Seymour, P. (2006). Derivational morphology and spelling in dyslexia. Reading & Writing, 19(6), 587-625. doi:10.1007/s11145-006-9011-4

van der Lely, H. J., & Marshall, C. R. (2010). Assessing component language deficits in the early detection of reading difficulty risk. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43(4), 357-368. doi:10.1177/0022219410369078

Deacon, S., Parrila, R., & Kirby, J. R. (2006). Processing of Derived Forms in High-Functioning Dyslexics. Annals of Dyslexia-, 56(1), 103-128.