Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(1990) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print (Adams, M. J.)

Research on Pre-readers 
Letter Naming

  • Learning styles activities had no effect on reading (Bateman, 1979; Chall, 1978; Robinson, 1972; Williams, 1977). 
  • Letter naming was the best predictor of beginning reading (Bond & Dykstra, 1967; Chall, 1967).
  • Contradictory findings: Teaching to name letters no appreciable advantage (Gibson & Levin; 1975) Was it just a "symptom" instead of a cause?
  • Conclusion: Letter naming knowledge is a good predictor of success but just learning to name letters not enough.
      Explanation of predictive value of letters (p. 62).
  1. If you can name letters, quickly and accurately, indicated thorough knowledge of letters.
  2. Automaticity with naming allows the brain to focus elsewhere.
  3. Names of letters related to phoneme they represent; children can more easily relate the associated phoneme when they hear it in the name.
  4. Rapid letter naming, like other rapid identification (colors, shapes, numbers) indicates a capacity for visual recognition.
Phonemic Awareness
Second best predictor of first grade reading achievement was ability to discriminate between phonemes (Bond & Dykstra, 1967). 
We know phonemes well as adults and children. Repetition frees the mind from attention to the details, and concern for the process. There's no reason to pay attention to phonemes until we have to interpret them from a written text. Phoneme awareness tasks may not be understood by children, even if they are aware of phonemes. 

Decompose a syllable into its phonemes
Tapping task - tap for each phoneme. Performance on tapping task entering first grade correlated with reading achievement at the end of the year.
Study findings: Tapping task performance found to be causally related to decoding abilities an decoding abilities causally related to reading comprehension. Segmenting was insufficient. Explicit instruction in decoding scored significantly better than psycholinguistic group while both groups were equal on segmentation task (Tunmer & Nesdale, 1985, 1988).

Manipulation task
Delete or add phonemes: pill without /p/ = ill; add /s/ to top = stop 
Strong correlation between phoneme manipulation task and reading achievement, documented longitudinally through gr. 12 (Calfee, Lindamood, & Lindamood, 1973). Task too difficult for children before the end of first grade. Need well-developed spelling skills to delete, reorder, and insert. Rosner (1974) found after a year of instruction, there was little progress on learning the task.

Syllable splitting
Easier than segmentation or manipulation: break off first phoneme, pronounce it in isolation, say what is left: pink /p/ /ink/. Shown as a strong predictor of first grade reading achievement. 39% of the variance attributed to success at task (Share, Jorm, Maclean, & Matthews, 1984).

McNeil & Stone (1965) found children have less trouble analyzing nonsense syllables. Wallach & Wallach (1979) found low income poreschoolers can become proficient in splitting initial consonant sounds off. This, however, is a difficult task.  There's a strong relation to early reading achievement (Stanovich, Cunningham, & Freeman, 1984).

Blending Tasks
In blending, phonemes are provided rather than broken off. More difficult to hold on to unrelated sounds to blend than to say a meaningful word. Fox & Routh (1975) found only childrenwho could be coaxed to produce phonemes in isolation benefitted from blending training.  It was a strong predictor of reading achievement through gr. 4 (Chall, Roswell, & Blujmenthal, 1963). Strong predictor at gr. 1 (Lundberg, Olofsson, & Wall, 1980; Perfetti, Bell, & Hughes, 1987).

Oddity Tasks (easiest task)
Which word is different or doesn't belong (ala Sesame Street)? Basic compare & contrast tasks
Highly significant relationship between pre-k oddity task score and reading achievement in 3 yr follow-up (Bradley & Bryant, 1983). They selected 65 kids who performed poorly on the task.
Group 1 were provided 40 individual tutoring sessions comparing beg. mid. final sounds in words.
Group 2 were taught how sounds were represented by letters of the alphabet. (greatest gain here)
Group 3 categorized words semantically
Group 4 had no special training.

Nursery Rhyme knowledge (Most primitive level of PA)
Maclean, Bradley, and Bryant (1987) found early knowledge of nursery rhymes strongly and specifically related to development of more abstract phonological skills and of emergent reading abilities.

 ch 12: Phonological prerequisites: Becoming aware of spoken words, syllables and phonemes

Levels of Linguistic Awareness
My questions  - Do children need word awareness and syllable awareness before they acquire phoneme awareness? Isn't syllable awareness better used in constructing the orthography of words? Can't children develop word awareness as they are taught about phonemes? I would posit that they don't need to know the boundaries of a word in order to learn the phonemes within the word. Would scores on syllable awareness and/or word awareness predict phoneme awareness? Yet early phoneme awareness and letter recognition later predicts success in learning to read. PA is the essential building block. As the building is constructed, children begin to recognize the parts making the whole. Preschoolers love puzzles! Phonemes are another set of puzzle pieces to put together before you see the big picture - a meaningful word.

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