Skip to main content

Onset and rime structure influences naming by not early word identification in children and adults


Booth JRJames , Perfetti CACharles . Scientific Studies of Reading. 2002 ; 6(). 1-23


Four experiments assessed the role of the onset-rime structure in visual word recognition. If the onset-rime structure is important for recognition, then primes or masks with 2 overlapping letters at the beginning or at the end of 4-letter words should facilitate recognition of consonant-vowel (CV) CCVC-structure words more than the recognition of CVCC words. This is because the primes or masks correspond to the onset and rime in CCVC-structure words. Using the brief identification paradigm to tap into early word identification processes (14-56 msec), Experiments 1 through 3 showed no evidence for the importance of onset-rime in children (2nd through 6th graders) or adults. However, these experiments showed that end masks produced higher identification accuracy than begin masks, suggesting that early word identification involves a serial component. Experiment 4 with adults replicated the effects of Bowey (1990) by showing that onset-rime structure is important in oral reading. Begin and end primes facilitated the naming of CCVC words more than CVCC words, suggesting that the onset-rime structure may be an important unit in phonologic output.