The syllabic bridge: the first step in learning spelling-to-sound correspondences*

Authors: Doignon-Camus N, Zagar D
ABSTRACT It is widely agreed that learning to read starts with the establishment of letter-to-phoneme correspondences. However, it is also widely agreed that prereaders do not have access to phoneme units. Here we show that the building of associations between letters and syllables, which we call the ‘syllabic bridge’, might be a faster and more direct way of learning spelling-to-sound correspondences in French. After a few minutes of exposure, prereaders are able to learn the statistical properties of letter co-occurrences. Statistical learning is boosted by explicit instructions about the associations between letter clusters and syllables. Building the syllabic bridge from available phonological syllables and frequent letter clusters may…

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