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AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
Figure1.Numberoferrorsmadeoneachdaybythe11-year-oldsforserialrecallofeight-
wordlistsofrhymingandnonrhymingmaterials.
testedtwiceondifferentdays,andthescoresforthesetwosessionswerecom-
pared.
8-year-olds.
These childrenwere giventhephonemic awareness tasksinthe
samesessionasthescreeningprocedures, andtheserialrecalltaskwasgiven
inaseparatesession.
RESULTS
Reliability
Reliabilitycoefficientswerederivedforthephonemicawarenessmeasuresand
theserial recall measures forthe datacollectedfrom m the11-year-olds. Mean
scoresonthephonemedeletiontaskwere14.6fortheodditemsand14.3for
theevenitems.Scores onthepigLatintaskwere19.3fortheodditemsand
18.4fortheevenitems.TheSpearman–Brownformulaforestimatingreliability
from split-halves datawasused(e.g., Ferguson, 1981)andyieldedreliability
coefficientsof0.77forthephonemedeletionscoresand0.98forthepigLatin
scores.Figure1 showsmeanerrors s ontheserialrecalltaskforeachdayfor
rhymingandnonrhyminglistsseparately. Toestimatereliabilityfortheserial
recalltask,aPearsonproduct-momentcorrelationcoefficientwascomputedon
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AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Table1.Meanerrors(outof80)acrossalllistpositionsfor
theadults,11-year-olds,and8-year-oldsbyrhymecondition
andmeandifferencescores
8-year-olds
Normal
Poor
Adults
11-year-olds
readers
readers
Rhyming(errors)
M
43.9
47.4
55.4
59.8
SD
(4.9)
(7.0)
(6.0)
(6.1)
Nonrhyming(errors)
M
27.8
37.8
47.8
52.4
SD
(6.6)
(8.9)
(10.1)
(6.0)
Differencescores
M
16.1
9.6
7.6
7.5
SD
(5.8)
(8.7)
(10.3)
(5.5)
themeannumberoferrorsforeachdayacrosspositionandrhymingcondition.
Theresultingreliabilitycoefficientwas0.75.Thus,allofthemeasuresmetthe
criterionofbeingsufficientlyreliablefortheearlystagesofpredictiveresearch
(Nunnally&Bernstein,1994).
Developmentaltrendsinserialrecall
Datafromthefirstdayoftestingforthe11-year-oldswereusedinsubsequent
analyses. Table1 1 displays s mean n errors s across list positions forrhyming g and
nonrhyming materials s separately y as s well as meandifference scores s (i.e., the
differenceintotalerrorsforrhymingandnonrhymingmaterials).Thislastscore
maybethoughtofasanoperationaldefinitionoftherhymingeffect.Datafor
theadults,11-year-olds,andnormal-reading8-year-oldsareshownincolumns
1, 2, and d 3, , respectively, andillustratedevelopmental l trends. . Figure2shows
themeannumberoferrorsateachlistpositionforthethreegroupsoflisteners.
FromTable1andFigure2itappearsthatthereisageneraldevelopmentim-
provementintheaccuracyofrecall,andspecificallythattheeffectofrhyming
increaseswithage.Thislastdevelopmentaltrendappearsduetoolderlisteners
showingamuchgreateradvantagethanyoungerlistenersforthenonrhyming
materials.
Atwo-wayanalysisofvariance(ANOVA)wasdoneonthetotalnumberof
errorsacrosslistpositions,withageasthebetween-subjectsfactorandrhyming
as the within-subjectsfactor. Thedecisionwas made toconduct theanalysis
thisway,summingacrosslistpositionsratherthanincludinglistasafactorin
theanalysis,becauseitsimplifiedtheanalysiswhilepreservingthevariablesof
interest.Aresponsewasconsideredwrongifitwasgivenintheincorrectorder,
andsothesesummedscorespreservedinformationabouttheordereffect.Pre-
liminaryanalysesshowedthatthedatawerebothnormallydistributedandho-
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AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
Figure2.Numberoferrorsmadebytheadults,11-year-olds,and normal-reading 8-year-
oldsforserialrecallofeight-wordlistsofrhymingandnonrhymingmaterials.
mogeneouswithregardtovariancesacrossgroups.Bothmaineffectsweresig-
nificant:forage,F(2,50)=30.90,p<.001;fortherhymingcondition,F(1,50)
=87.64,p<.001.Ofprimaryinterest,theAge·Rhymeinteractionwassignifi-
cant, F(2, 50)=4.77, p=.013, indicatingthatthemagnitude oftherhyming
effectvariedacrossage.
Next,one-wayANOVAs,withageasthefactor, wereconductedonscores
fortherhymingandnonrhyminglistsseparately.PairwisettestswithBonfer-
roni corrections were also done. . Results fortherhymingmaterials showeda
significantageeffect,F(2,50)=18.09,p<.001,andsignificantpairwisettests
foradultsversus8-year-olds(p<.001)andfor11-year-oldsversus8-year-olds
(p<.01).Thettestforadultsversus11-year-oldsdidnotreachstatisticalsignif-
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AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
icance. Resultsforthe nonrhymingmaterials showedasignificantage effect,
F(2,50)=24.19,p<.001.Allthreettestsweresignificantforthesematerials:
adults versus 8-year-olds (p<.001), , adults s versus 11-year-olds (p<.01), and
11-year-olds versus8-year-olds(p<.01). Consequently, itseemsfairtocon-
cludethattherewasageneraldecreaseinthenumberoferrorsmadeinserial
recallofthesematerials,bothrhymingandnonrhyming,withastrongereffect
forthenonrhymingmaterials.Thisconclusioniscomplementarywiththatfrom
thetwo-wayANOVA(i.e.,themagnitudeoftherhymingeffectchangedwith
age).
Normalversuspoorreaders
Phonemic awareness.
For the 8-year-olds s in n the normal-reading group, the
meannumberofitemscorrectonthephoneme deletiontaskwas 19.6(SD=
7.8). Forthe e children inthe poor-reading group, the mean numberofitems
correctwas9.5(SD=4.9). Thisgroupdifferencewas statisticallysignificant,
t(29)=3.88,p<.001.ForthepigLatintask,themeannumberofitemscorrect
forthenormal-readinggroupwas15.5(SD=11.3).Themeannumberofitems
correct forthe poor-readinggroup was 1.5 (SD=3.9). . This groupdifference
wasstatisticallysignificant,t(29)=3.97,p<.001.
Serialrecall.
ThelasttwocolumnsofTable1providemeanerrorscoresfor
the normal-reading and poor-reading 8-year-olds. Figure 3 3 shows the mean
numberoferrorsacrossparticipantsineachreadinggroupforeachlistposition
fornonrhymingandrhymingmaterials.Atwo-wayANOVAwasperformedon
the summed errorscores across listpositions, with readingabilityas thebe-
tween-subjectsfactorandrhymingconditionasthewithin-subjectsfactor.Only
the main effect ofrhyming condition was statistically significant, F(1, , 29)=
20.02,p<.001.Theeffectofreadingabilitydidnotquitereachstatisticalsignif-
icance,F(1,29)=3.84,p=.059.Ofmostinterest,theReadingAbility·Rhyme
interactionwasnotsignificant.
Correlations.
SeveralPearsonproduct-momentcorrelationcoefficients(r)were
computed to see ifeitherofthe phonemic awareness s measures orthe serial
recalldifferencescoreweresignificantlyrelatedtoreadingability,asmeasured
bytheWRAT-R,andtoseeiftheserialrecalldifferencescoreandthephonemic
awareness measures were related d to each other. Scores s for r both phonemic
awareness tasks s were e correlated with scores on the reading g subtest t of the
WRAT-R:forphonemedeletion(r=.71, p<.001), forpigLatin(r=.54, p=
.002).Thislattercorrelationmayhavebeenweakerthanthatforthephoneme
deletiontaskbecausesomanyofthepoorreadersweresimplyunabletodothe
pigLatintask.Thecorrelationcoefficientfortheserialrecalldifferencescores
andthescoresonthereadingsubtestoftheWRAT-Rwasnotsignificant.Al-
thoughtherewasscantevidencefromthegroupdatathatthe normal readers
wereusingaphonemiccodingstrategytoagreaterextentthanthepoorreaders
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AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
Figure3.Numberoferrors madeby thegood andpoorreaders forserial recallofeight-
wordlistsofrhymingandnonrhymingmaterials.
forstoringitemsinworkingmemory,itstillseemedworthwhiletoinvestigate
whetherphonemic awareness accountedfor any ofthe variancein the serial
recalldifferencescores.Tothisend,aPearsonproduct-momentcorrelationco-
efficientwascomputedbetweenscoresoneachofthephonemicawarenesstasks
andtheserialrecalldifferencescores.Ifphonemicawarenessaccountedforany
portionofthevarianceinserialrecallforlinguisticmaterials,thesecorrelations
shouldbesignificant.Neitheronewas.
DISCUSSION
Thisstudyshowedacleardevelopmentaltrendintheuseofphonemiccodes
forstoring linguistic items s in n working memory. . Childrenas oldas 11years
made significantly more errors s onthe e nonrhyming materials than the e adults
made,indicatingthattheywerenotcodingitemsinmemorywithaphonemic
codeas stronglyas the adultswere. Evidenceofphonemiccodingstrategies
wasevenweakerforthe8-year-olds.
Anotherfindingofthisstudywasanobserveddissociationbetweenphonemic
awarenessandphonemiccodingoflinguisticmaterialsinworkingmemory.The
normalreadersinthisstudydemonstratedsignificantlygreaterskillatmanipu-
latingthephonemicstructureofsyllablesthanthepoorreaders,indicatingthat
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AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
theyhadaccesstothatstructure.Nonetheless, the results fortheserialrecall
taskforthenormalreadersshowednoevidencethataphonemiccodingstrategy
hadbeen used to agreaterextent by them m thanbythepoorreaders tostore
wordsinworkingmemory.Severalresultssupportthisconclusion.Thenormal
readersmadesomewhatfewererrorsoverallthanthepoorreaders(althoughthe
effectdidnotreachstatisticalsignificance),buttheyshowednomoreofarhym-
ingeffectthanthepoorreadersshowed:thedifferencesinthenumberoferrors
madebetweenthenormalandpoorreaderswereroughlyequalforbothrhyming
andnonrhyminglists.Ifobserveddifferencesbetweenthereadinggroupswere
attributabletodifferencesintheextenttowhichaphonemiccodewasusedto
storewordsinworkingmemory,thelargestgroupdifferencewouldhavebeen
observedfornonrhymingmaterials, aswasthecasefortheadultsandthe11-
year-olds:meannumberoferrors weresimilarforrhymingmaterials forthe
adultsandthe11-year-oldsbutsignificantlydifferentfornonrhymingmaterials.
Also,therelationbetweenphonemicawareness(asmeasuredbyboththepho-
nemedeletionandpigLatintasks)andtheserialrecalldifferencescorewasnot
statisticallysignificant.Thus,nogroupdifferencewasobservedintheextentto
whichphonologicalcodingstrategies wereused,norwas there arelationbe-
tweenphonemicawarenessandtheuseofphonologicalcodingstrategiesacross
therangeofreadingabilities.Itseemsthattheuseofaphonemiccodingstrategy
forstoringitemsinworkingmemorydoesnotfollowautomaticallyasaresult
ofdevelopingaccesstothe syllable-internal, phonemicstructureoflanguage.
Instead,itseemsthatlearningtostoreitemsinworkingmemoryusingaphone-
miccodetakesplaceovertimeanddevelopmentallytrailstheabilitytoretrieve
phonemicinformationfromthelinguisticsignal.
Care was takenin this study tominimize task requirements. . Nonetheless,
theseresultsshowedlittledisparitybetweentheperformanceofthenormaland
poorreadersontherecalltask.Therefore,theconclusioncouldbereachedthat
thepoorreaders’serialrecallimprovedinthisstudy,relativetothatofearlier
studiesshowingdifferences inserialrecallbetweennormalandpoorreaders,
suchthattheyperformedsimilarlytothenormalreaders.Whileminimizingtask
requirementsmayhaveaccountedforthedecreaseindisparitybetweenthenor-
mal-andpoor-reading8-year-oldstosomeextent, neithergroupperformedas
well as s the e 11-year-olds oradults. . Thus, it seems fairto suggest that some
additionalskillmustbeneededbesidesbeingabletoaccessphonemicstructure
inordertomakeuseofthatstructureinworkingmemory.
Atthesametime,theserialrecalltaskusedinthisexperimentmayhavebeen
too difficultgenerallyfor8-year-olds, , thus degrading g theperformanceofthe
normal-reading8-year-olds.Itwasnotuncommonfor8-year-olds, eventhose
withnormalreadingabilities,tomake10errorsonsomeitemsintheintermedi-
atelistpositionsintheserialrecalltask,assuggestedbythehighmeanerror
rates forthesepositionsseeninFigures1and2. Inaddition, someofthe8-
year-olds were e unable to obtain n any y correct answers on the pig Latin task.
Therefore,ourabilitytodetectsignificantgroupdifferencesandsignificantcor-
relationsmayhavebeenconstrained.Experiment2wasdesignedtoseeifthe
resultsofthisfirstexperimentwouldbereplicatedwhenthesepotentialprob-
lemswerecorrected.
AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
EXPERIMENTII:SIX-ITEMLISTS
Asecondexperimentwasconductedasacheckonthepossibilitythatthefailure
to find the anticipated effects s in n Experiment 1 fornormal andpoor readers
wasduetowhatistraditionallytermedceilingandflooreffects.Specifically,a
significantReadingAbility·Rhymeinteractionwasexpectedfortheserialre-
calltaskbutwasnotfound.Inaddition,significantcorrelationswereexpected
bothbetweenthereadingscoresandtheserialrecalldifferencescoresandbe-
tweenthe phonemic awareness scores andtheserial recalldifference scores.
Noneofthoseexpectedcorrelationswasobserved.Inthissecondexperiment,
severalproceduralchangesweremade.First,theserialrecalltaskwasconducted
with six-itemlistsinhopesthatanyceilingeffectsforthe numbers s oferrors
wouldbeavoided.Also,all48itemswereusedonthepigLatintaskinhopes
thatflooreffectsforthenumbersofitemscorrectonthattaskwouldbeavoided.
Thissecondchangewouldnotbeexpectedtohavemucheffectonitsownfor
the8-year-oldswhosimplycouldnotdothepigLatintask:thosechildrendid
notgetfurther thanthefirst sixitems. . Nonetheless, it t seemeda worthwhile
attempttospreadoutscores on n the pigLatintask. . Finally, the agerangeof
childrenincludedinthecomparisonofgoodandpoorreaderswasincreasedto
include8-,9-,and10-year-olds.Inadditiontoimprovingthechancesthatmost
ofthechildrenwouldnotscoreneartheflooronthepigLatintask,thischange
meantthatthenumberofchildren participatingwouldbeincreased,thus s im-
provingthepossibilityoffindingsignificantgroupdifferencesandcorrelations,
iftheyactuallyexistinthegeneralpopulation.
METHOD
Participants
Childrenbetween8and10yearsofagewereenlistedforthissecondexperi-
ment.Onlyonechangewasmadetothecriteriaforparticipationfromthefirst
experiment.TheblockdesignoftheWISC-IIIwasusedtoscreenthechildren
fornonverbalabilitiesinsteadoftheCPM.Thischangewasmadebecausethe
meanscoresforthe8-year-oldsinthefirstexperimentwerehigherthanwould
beexpectedforarandomlyselectedgroupofchildren, ifthetestnormswere
appropriateforthesesamplesofchildren.Atotalof73childrenmetthecriteria
forparticipation. Of these, 57children fit the e description ofnormal readers
(standardscoresforthereadingsubtestoftheWRAT-Rof95orbetter)and16
children fitthe descriptionof poorreaders s (standard d scores s of85 5 orpoorer)
usedinthe firstexperiment. Mean ageofthe participants ineachgroupwas
9;3.MeanstandardscoresonthereadingsubtestoftheWRAT-Rwere108for
thenormalreaders(SD=7)and76forthepoorreaders(SD=9).Asinthefirst
experiment, these scoresmeantthatthe normal l readerswere readingroughly
halfayearaboveexpectationsfortheirchronologicalage,andthepoorreaders
werereadingroughlyayearandahalfbehindexpectationsfortheirchronologi-
calage. Unlikethefirstexperiment,though,slightdifferenceswerefoundbe-
tweenthenormal-andpoor-readinggroupsonthecriterionmeasuresofgeneral
AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
580
Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
andlanguageabilities.OntheblockdesignoftheWISC-III,themeanscorefor
normalreaderswas.33standarddeviationsabovethemean,whereasthemean
score forpoor readers was .33 standard deviations below the mean. . Within-
groupstandarddeviationswerethesameas inthegeneralpopulationforboth
groups.Thebetween-groupdifferencewasstatisticallysignificant,t(71)=2.26,
p=.03. Onthe PPVT-R, themeanstandardscoreforthenormalreaderswas
106(SD=13),andthemeanscoreforthepoorreaderswas93(SD=11).This
differencewasalsostatisticallysignificant, t(71)=3.65,p<.001. Thesegroup
differenceswerenotconsideredproblematicinthisexperiment,largelybecause
theywereactuallysmallinmagnitude:groupmeansforbothgroupswerevery
close to the population means. . Furthermore, , such h differences couldonly in-
crease theprobabilityoffindinggroupdifferencesontherecalltask,andthe
prediction in this experiment was that no such differences s would d be e found.
Specifically,theeffectsofinterestweretheReadingAbility·Rhymeinterac-
tion,thecorrelationbetweenserialrecalldifferencescoresandreadingscores,
andthe correlations between each ofthe phonemic awareness measures and
serialrecalldifferencescores.Failuretofindtheseeffectsstatisticallysignifi-
cant, even though h slight differences s in n general l and language e abilities exist,
wouldonlyprovideparticularlystrongsupportforthecontentionthattheeffects
donotexistinthegeneralpopulation.
Stimuliandprocedures
Withtwoexceptions,thestimuliandprocedureswerethesameasinExperiment
1.First,all48itemswereusedinthepigLatintask.Second,thelistsofwords
fortheserialrecalltaskconsistedofsixitemsinsteadofeight.Forthenonrhym-
ing lists, , the words teen and seedwere excluded; forthe rhyming lists, the
wordsPatandvatwereexcluded.Forthetraininglists,thelettersKandLwere
excludedfromthenonrhyminglists,andGandBwereexcludedfromtherhym-
inglists.
RESULTS
Phonemicawareness
Forthenormal-readinggroup, themeannumberofitemscorrectonthe pho-
nemedeletiontaskwas23.9(SD=6.3).Forchildreninthepoor-readinggroup,
the meannumberofitemscorrectwas13.4(SD=7.2).Thisgroupdifference
wasstatisticallysignificant, t(71)=5.71, p<.001. ForthepigLatintask, the
mean numberofitems s correctfor r the normal-readinggroupwas s 29.3 3 (SD=
14.1). The mean n number of items correct for the poor-reading group was
9.3(SD=12.3).Thisgroupdifferencewasstatisticallysignificant,t(71)=5.16,
p<.001.
Serialrecall
Table2showsmeanerrorscoresforthenormalandpoorreadersaswellasthe
meandifferencescores.AsinExperiment1, these scores are summedacross
list positions s but t provided separately for the e rhyming g and nonrhyming lists.
AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
Table2.Meanerrors(outof60)acrossalllistpositions
forthenormalandpoorreadersbyrhymeconditionand
meandifferencescores
Normalreaders
Poorreaders
Rhyming(errors)
M
30.3
34.8
SD
(7.8)
(5.0)
Nonrhyming(errors)
M
24.2
29.4
SD
(8.8)
(6.6)
Differencescores
M
6.1
5.3
SD
(7.4)
(6.0)
Figure 4showsthe meannumberoferrorsforeachlist position. Atwo-way
ANOVAwasperformedonthesummederrorscoresacrosslistpositions,with
reading ability as the between-subjects s factor r and rhyming condition n as s the
within-subjectsfactor.AsinExperiment1,themaineffectofrhymingcondition
wasstatisticallysignificant,F(1,71)=32.53,p<.001. Thistime,theeffectof
readingabilitywasclearlysignificant, F(1, 71)=5.99,p=.017. Again, how-
ever,theReadingAbility·Rhymeinteractionwasnotsignificant.
Correlations
ThesamePearsonproduct-momentcorrelationcoefficientswerecomputedon
thesedataasonthoseofExperiment1,withthesameresults.Thecorrelations
betweenscores on n each phonemicawarenesstaskwithscores s onthe reading
subtestoftheWRAT-Rwerestatisticallysignificant:forphonemedeletion(r=
.70,p<.001),forpigLatin(r=.57,p<.001).Thesecorrelationsarestrikingly
similartothosecomputedforthedatainExperiment1. Thus,evenwithmore
itemsonthepigLatintaskandawiderrangeofparticipantages,thecorrelation
betweenthisphonemicawarenesstaskandreadingabilitywasnotasgreatas
betweenphonemedeletionandreadingability.AsinExperiment1,thecorrela-
tion betweentheserialrecalldifferencescores s andthescores onthe reading
subtestoftheWRAT-Rwasnotsignificant.Finally,thecorrelationscomputed
betweenscoresoneachphonemicawarenessmeasureandtheserialrecalldiffer-
encescoreswerenotsignificant.
DISCUSSION
ThepurposeofthesecondexperimentwastocheckthefindingsfromExperi-
ment1toensurethatobservedeffectswerenotattributabletoprocedurallimita-
tions. Inspiteofthechangesinprocedures,identicaltrendswereobservedin
thesecondexperiment:thepoorreadersmadesomewhatmoreerrorsonserial
AppliedPsycholinguistics20:4
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Nittrouer&Miller:Developmentofphonemiccodingstrategies
Figure4.Numberoferrorsmadebythegoodandpoorreadersforserialrecallofsix-word
listsofrhymingandnonrhymingmaterials.
recallthanthegoodreaders,butthedifferencesbetweenthegroupsweresimilar
for the rhyming g and nonrhyming g materials. Consequently, no o evidence e was
found thatgood readers use e a a phonemic code to a greater extent than poor
readers. In addition, the e serial recall difference score was foundto correlate
neitherwithreadingabilitynorwithphonemicawareness.
GENERALDISCUSSION
Acentralquestionaddressedbythisstudywaswhetherchildrenwhoarecapa-
ble ofaccessingphonemicstructureinthespeech signalnecessarilyusethat
structureforstoringitemsinworkingmemorytoagreaterextentthanchildren
whohavedifficultyaccessingphonemicstructure.Inotherwords,doestheuse
ofphonemiccodingstrategiesinworkingmemoryemergeautomaticallywith
theabilitytoaccessthatphonemicstructure?Basedontheresultsoftwoexperi-
ments, the answerto o thisquestionisapparently“no.” Young normal readers
showednoevidenceofusingphonemiccodingstrategiesforstoringitems in
workingmemorytoagreaterextentthanyoungpoorreaders.First,nodiffer-
enceswerefoundbetweenthereadinggroupsinthemagnitudeoftherhyming
effect. Second, norelationwasfoundbetweenthe children’s readingabilities
andtheextenttowhichtheyusedaphonemiccodeforstoringitemsinworking
memory.
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