1 Ankara University (TURKEY)
2 University of Haifa (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Page: 5766 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Many educators and policymakers believe that the ability to read is the most important aim of schooling and that the teaching reading skills must be given highest priority in modern education. All children are expected to acquire reading at the initial stage of formal education in order to become it a tool for learning.

In most languages, reading is considered to be the process of understanding speech written down and its ultimate goal is to gain access to the meaning of written text (Goswami 2008). As a cognitive process, reading is hypothesized to involve decoding and comprehension. In order to become a proficient reader, one first has to be able to recognize words correctly and rapidly and, in a second step, to grasp their final meaning within the context of a sentence.

The attempt of the present study was to shed light on how the word reading skills of individuals are biased by the depth of the processed orthography (deep vs. shallow). The presentation highlights evidence regarding differences in the word processing skills of participants from five orthographies (Hebrew, Arabic, English, German and Turkish). We tested 124 participants from the mid level of education (sixth and seventh graders) using two computerized paradigms that assessed the perceptual and conceptual processing of word pairs. Based on an Orthographic Depth Hypothesis (ODH), we expected those reading in shallow orthographies to process written words faster and more accurately than those reading in deep orthographies. Findings suggested that efficiency of word reading skills may not be directly related to orthographic depth. Rather, they seem to reflect the joint contribution of augmented visuo-perceptual processing demands in visually complex orthographies and drastically impoverished reading experience that hampers the optimization of perceptual processes required in order to effectively deal with such complexity. Findings are discussed with direct reference to theory of orthographic depth.

The reported research was conducted as a part of an international reading research project and was funded by the SLC on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), NSF Grant # SBE-0541953.
Reading, orthography, word processing, word reading.