An investigation into kana reading development in normal and dyslexic Japanese children using length and lexicality effects.
ABSTRACT This is the first study to report differences between Japanese children with and without dyslexia in the way string-length and lexicality effects are manifested when reading Japanese kana. These children were asked to read kana words and non-words consisting of either two or five kana characters. The results showed that the error rates of the normal Preschoolers and Primary-School children with dyslexia were higher than those of the normal Primary-School children. Further, the reading latencies of the normal Preschoolers, First-graders and dyslexics were significantly longer than those of the normal Second, Third and Fifth/Sixth graders. Moreover, reading latencies became shorter as the age of the participants increased. Both normal and dyslexic children showed significant effects of length and lexicality on reading latencies. However, the interaction between the length and lexicality was only seen in normal children from the Second-grade onwards. These results suggest that (1) normal First-graders reach a ceiling in terms of reading accuracy and that (2) as Japanese normal children become older, they become better at lexical reading processes, which leads to fluent kana reading, but that (3) the dyslexics, even at Fifth/Sixth grades, have not developed sufficient lexical reading processes.