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By Alan Beaton

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Ans, Carbonnel, and Valdois (1998) have also developed a model of polysyllabic word reading but without assuming any explicit (or implicit) conversion rules (that is, it is not a dual-route type model in the sense in which the term is usually used). According to Seidenberg and McClelland’s (1989) and related models, there are two mechanisms for oral reading: a semantically mediated mechanism and a mechanism that operates by converting print to sound according to context-sensitive mappings between graphemes and phonemes.

This might explain failures, such as that of Share et al. (1987), to find a “hump” in samples of less than 1000. Although the supposed significance of the existence or otherwise of a “hump” is tied up with the question of whether dyslexia or specific reading disability can and should be distinguished from other forms (and causes) of poor reading, Stevenson maintains that: the presence or absence of a “hump” in reading underachievement is only marginally related to the issue of there being a qualitatively distinct group of poor readers.

Note, too, that use of this route presupposes an ability to segment letter strings into units of varying size before assigning the appropriate phonology. It is also worth noting that as well as converting a visually based unit (of whatever size) into a sound unit, an unknown word can be read by analogy with a word that is already known (Baron, 1979; Glushko, 1979; Kay & Marcel, 1981). This process also seems to require segmentation of a word into onset and rime (so as to read, for example, cat by analogy with bat).

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