Effects of a morpheme-based spelling intervention challenging previous results

International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 13(5), 651–671. https://doi.org/10.26822/iejee.2021.219


Morpheme-based training programs to improve literacy skills are widely used with older children in the morphologically complex German language. This study investigated whether (1) morphological training is effective early in development (Grade 2) and (2) effects can be attributed to advanced morphological processing. Fifty-two German-speaking second-graders received an eight-week morpheme-based training, while an age-matched control group (n = 41) attended regular language classes. We observed training effects for spelling and reading morphologically complex words, whereas performance on standardized reading tests and a morphological awareness task improved similarly across groups. In a masked priming task assessing implicit word segmentation, response times for lexical decisions decreased more strongly in the intervention than the control group, but there was no clear training impact on the pattern of morphological priming. Thus, while written language processing improved, it is unclear whether these effects can be attributed to morphological processing or unspecific gains in orthographic knowledge.

International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 13(5), 651–671