Pre-Readers' Concepts of the English Word

Unknown author (1976-11-01)

Pre-Readers exhibit concepts of the English word different from those of literate adults. The inclusive word concept is primary: A word is what we call an utterance and any of its parts. Pre-Readers suffer confusion between homophones at the syllabic level, e.g., the sound of the suffix in "PUPPY" is confused with the name of the letter. Conflict between implicit judgments of wordhood (inferred from the child's counting of the number of words in an utterance) and explicit judgments (responses to questions about whether an item is a word) vary from high, for pre-readers, to low, for beginning readers. The justifications pre-readers offer to support their judgments of wordhood are notable for not including any argumetns based on immediate verbal context. A concept development theory is offered to interpret this data and their relaxation to learning to read.