Monday, February 21, 2011

(1983) Categorizing sounds and learning to read--a causal connection

(Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. E.) Prereaders were measured (N=368) for skills at sound categorization. These scores were related to progress in reading and spelling over a 4 yr. period. A subsample received intensive instruction in sound categorization and other forms of categorization. Group 1 sound only, Group 2 sound with alphabet letter, Group 3 conceptual categorization (animal, farm animal, etc.). 40 sessions over 2 yrs!

Results: Group 1 way ahead of group 3 by 3-4 mos. in standardized reading & spelling, suggesting a causal relationship. Group 2 succeeded better than 1 in reading and especially spelling, suggesting sound categorization is more effective when it involves explicit connection with a grapheme. Math test for all groups indicated few differences between them. ANCOVA established significant differences between groups in reading and spelling scores (p=.001) but not for math, with gr 2 surpassing 1 in spelling (p=.05).

Results indicate that PA prior to formal reading instruction has a powerful influence on the success in learning to read and spell. This study is the first with adequate empirical evidence that the link is causal. Hence, specific experiences which a child has before school may affect progress once formal instruction begins. Groups 1&2 consistently remained 3-4 months ahead of control groups.

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