Reading development between high school years and young adulthood

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Over the last decade a large amount of data has been gathered with respect to reading development throughout the elementary school years. Among other things, it has been found that the perceptual span really starts to increase between the 2nd and 3rd grade (Sperlich et al., 2015), and that it reaches adult size during the 6th grade (Rayner, 1986). Yet, reading studies in which 6th graders have been compared with young adults between 20-30 years (Häikiö et al., 2009; Schröter & Schroeder, 2017) have found a clear difference in reading speed across groups, so supposedly processing efficiency still increases in between 12 and 20 years of age. There are no studies investigating reading development during these years though. In the current eye movement study we investigated whether 16-year old Finnish high school students were already at par with young Finnish adults in terms of lexical and complex morphophonological processing. Both groups read sentences including words in three conditions: monomorphemic nouns (lääkäri ‘doctor’), inflections (aamu+lla ‘in the morning’) and inflections with stem alteration (illa+lla [from ilta] ‘in the evening’). The results showed that all 3 conditions elicited longer fixation durations, more regressions and shorter saccades for high school students than for young adults. Moreover, an enlarged processing delay was observed for the morphophonological condition for the high school students only. These results indicate that there is still substantial ground to gain at different linguistic levels in terms of reading efficiency between high school years and young adulthood.
Event titleEuropean Conference on Eye Movements
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational