Volume 19, Issue 4 (1990)
Multiple Orthographic Codes: Key to Alternative Instructional Methodologies for Developing the Orthographic-Phonological Connections Underlying Word Identification
Virginia W. Berninger
Recent theoretical advances in understanding orthographic codes and their relationship to phonological codes in reading acquisition are reviewed. The different ways in which orthographic skills have been conceptualized are discussed, including visual information processing specific to written words and procedures for translating written words into spoken words and vice versa. Methodological issues in measuring orthographic skills, especially in beginning readers, are explored. Despite the lack of consensus on definitional issues and the measurement challenges, orthographic skills should be considered in planning interventions for disabled readers. For example, school psychologists can assess whole word coding, letter coding, and letter cluster coding, each of which is related to a different intervention strategy for creating orthographic-phonological connections: phonics (letter-phoneme connection), sight words (whole word-phonetic/ semantic connection), and/or word families (letter cluster-syllable/rime connection). The more of these connections that are functional, the better word recognition will be (Berninger, Chen, & Abbott, 1988). This article stresses the importance of multiple orthographic and oral language skills that should be taken into account in assessing and planning interventions for disabled readers.
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