An individual differences analysis of the self-teaching hypothesis

Frances A. Conners, Susan J. Loveall, Marie S. Moore, Laura E. Hume, Christopher D. Maddox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The self-teaching hypothesis suggests that children learn orthographic structure of words through the experience of phonologically recoding them. The current study is an individual differences analysis of the self-teaching hypothesis. A total of 40 children in Grades 2 and 3 (7-9 years of age) completed tests of phonological recoding, word identification, and orthographic knowledge. The relation of phonological recoding and word identification was significantly mediated by orthographic knowledge. Furthermore, two aspects of orthographic knowledge (perhaps word-specific and general orthographic knowledge) mediated different variance shared between phonological recoding and word identification. Results support an individual differences version of the self-teaching hypothesis and emphasize the importance of phonological recoding in the primary curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-410
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Individual differences
  • Orthographic learning
  • Phonological recoding
  • Reading
  • Self-teaching hypothesis
  • Word identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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