Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Moroney Whited


The primary purpose of this research was to investigate the differential effects of visual (graphic) and auditory (phonetic) information in accessing meanings of derived words which are variant at the surface phonetic level, but retain in their orthography a relationship to the deeper lexical level. These effects were examined developmentally at the third and fifth grade levels using a researcher-designed multiple-choice test. The test instrument consisted of derived words not typically found in basal series at the grade levels under consideration and also met the criteria of pronunciation shift while retaining orthographic similarity to the base word. The test was presented in two forms at each grade level in a suburban western New York school district. The Visual Form was presented to 105 third grade and 127 fifth grade subjects. The Auditory Form was presented to 94 third grade and 96 fifth grade subjects. The secondary purpose was to examine relationships between ability to determine meanings of derived words in each modality and performance on a standardized reading measure, the Metropolitan Achievement Test. A two-way analysis of variance and a product-moment correlation-study were employed to test the hypotheses at the .01 and .001. level of significance. The data confirmed that children at both grade levels can utilize graphic information to determine meanings of derived words. The data also indicated a relationship between reading achievement and performance on the Visual Form of the test at the third and fifth grade levels, and the Auditory Form of the test at the third grade level. A study focusing on the fifth grade level was recommended.