Two studies were conducted to assess whether: (1) the incidental presence of print facilitates the acquisition of oral vocabulary; (2) the facilitative effect of print is moderated by phoneme-tographeme consistency; and (3) the findings obtained with monolingual children generalize to bilingual children. Seventy-one monolingual French-speaking children (Mage = 9;2) in Study 1 and 64 bilingual children (Mage = 9;3) in Study 2 participated in one of three conditions: consistent print, inconsistent print, and no print. Children were to learn novel labels for unfamiliar objects in a paired-associate paradigm. In both studies, print facilitated the acquisition and recall of expressive vocabulary. The effect of print consistency, however, varied across studies. As expected, monolingual children exposed to consistent print learned more novel labels than children exposed to inconsistent print. In contrast, bilingual children exposed to inconsistent print learned and recalled more labels than children exposed to consistent print. These intriguing findings might be due to differences in attention allocation during training.

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Keywords Children, Learning, Literacy acquisition, Orthographic consistency, Reading, Vocabulary
Persistent URL
Journal Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Jubenville, K. (Kathleen), Sénéchal, M, & Malette, M. (Melissa). (2014). The moderating effect of orthographic consistency on oral vocabulary learning in monolingual and bilingual children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, 245–263. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2014.05.002