The Role of Set for Variability in Irregular Word Reading: Word and Child Predictors in Typically Developing Readers and Students At-Risk for Reading Disabilities
In a quasi-regular orthography like English, children inevitably encounter irregular words during reading. Previous research suggests successful reading of an irregular word depends at least partially on a child’s ability to address the mismatch between decoded form and stored word pronunciation — referred to as a child’s “set for variability” — and the word’s relative transparency, measured here using a spelling-to-pronunciation transparency rating. From the study, significant predictors included general word reading, general set for variability performance, and item-specific set for variability performance; word frequency and spelling-to-pronunciation transparency rating; and an interaction between word reading and the transparency rating. Results underscore the importance of considering both general and item-specific factors affecting irregular word reading.