Purpose of the Study
Twofold: Examine the importance of "linguistic complexity and task differences in measuring phonological awareness." Examine the relationship of PA to early reading skills in according to PA tasks.
Early studies (Liberman et al, 1974) children needed to be able to reflect on sounds in words to later map the associated graphemes. Children without this knowledge have difficulty learning to read (Savin, 1972; Stanovich, 1986) Correlational evidence that is both concurrent and predictive (Adams, 1990 review) is extensive (Maclean, et al., 1987; Perfetti et al., 1987).
Adams also examined studies that suggested letter knowledge and PA are the strongest predictors of reading acquisition. Lomax and McGee (1987) studied children aged 3-6 and noted a developmental sequence from concepts of print (CP), graphic awareness, phoneme awareness, grapheme-phoneme (G-P) correspondence, and word reading. CP factor was assoicated with G-P correspondence. CP measured knowledge of print use, vocabulary of print (word, letter, sentence), and behavior with print (tracking left to right, top to bottom, etc.). PA assessed on 3tasks--deciding if two words were the same or different words, isolating initial consonant, isolating final consonant. Yopp (1988) referrs to isolation tasks as simple phoneme awareness.
Bradley & Bryant (1983) grouped children into a sorting group (Hawthorne control), a sorting with letters (Experimental), and an untreated control. Prereaders in the experimental group were 9 months ahead in reading skills compared to the H group and 12.5 ahead of the Control. PA and letter training facilitated spelling. PA also had a significant effect on early reading without letter training. Lundberg (1988) found that PA training of kindergarteners without letters led to gainis in PA and significantly effected spelling and reading achievement in 1st and 2nd grade.
Some researchers believe there is reciprocal causation between PA & reading achievement - Ehri & Wilce (1986) determined that children who could read responded differently on phoneme awareness tasks that involved identifying /t/ or /d/ in a PA task. Suggests that orthographic knowledge influenced choices. Levels of PA are likely the basis for reciprocal causation since some tasks can be done without print knowledge while others are advanced, requiring more sophisticated understanding of identities and orthography.
Demographics: 113 K-1 children in public and parochial schools participated. Mixed SES & racial background. Even boys to girls.
- Tests of phonological awareness (researcher constructed for 4 tasks - blending, segmenting, phoneme isolation, phoneme deletion; 4 levels of word complexity - onset-rime CVC, vowel-coda CVC, cluster onset CCVC, and cluster coda CVCC.)
- Written language measures
- Clay letter recognition
- Johns informal reading inventory (1991) adequate retell rather than questions for comp measure
- Environmental print logo reading
- Spelling measure (Tangel & Blachman, 1992)
- Memory measure
- Digit span subtest of the WISC-R (1974)
- Children tested individually (30-40 min) for logos, PA measures, word identification, IRI, & digit span.
- Children rewarded with a gift
- Spelling test administered in small groups at another time (0nly 85/113 participated in spelling test)
Phonetic cue reading is considered a stage in reading development when the initial or final consonant provided information to help identify a word. Stahl and Murray suggest that this is a "precursor to developing a rudimentary sight vocabulary." The ability to read well is always evident among children who can decode pseudowords.
Learning about phonemes introduces a child to a new way of thinking about language, providing insight into the alphabetic principle.
The range of reading abilities in this sample may be representative of the population but it makes it difficult to confirm outcomes as valid since some had rather sophisticated knowledge of written language while others barely knew their letters and no correspondences. There was no treatment, just all examination of correlations, so there cannot be any conclusions about causal relations. It does suggest further study into looking at tasks or linguistic complexity as we refine the construct of PA.