1 results for Arrow, Alison Wendy

  • Potential precursors to the development of phonological awareness in preschool children

    Arrow, Alison Wendy (2007)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Phonological awareness is one of the most important metacognitive skills needed for literacy development. However, the relationships between preschool phonological awareness and pre-literacy skills are only just beginning to be examined. An important area is the study of potential precursors to phonological awareness. The current research proposed that phonological awareness develops along a continuum of linguistic awareness beginning with syllables and moving towards the smallest level of the phoneme. In the current research, potential precursors were examined in two studies. The first study was an examination of preschool phonological awareness in a sample of 110 New Zealand four-year-old children with no formal literacy instruction but who had a range of pre-literacy skills including 12 children who could read one or more words. The second study examined how literacy instruction influenced the development of phoneme awareness by independently assessing the role of learning to read and the role of learning to spell by teaching non-readers to read 8 CVC words or to spell the same 8 CVC words, but not to read and spell. The results found that rime and phoneme awareness both contributed to a latent variable of phonological awareness and that they each had different potential precursors. Receptive vocabulary explained the most variance in rime awareness with a small association of letter-name knowledge and own-name spelling while rime awareness developed more in children who learnt new words in the intervention. Rime awareness contributed to phoneme awareness along with letter-sound knowledge. When children were taught to read using blending this led to task specific phoneme awareness gains only. Phoneme awareness did not contribute to word-learning in the experimental conditions, with the only learning occurring in the spelling conditions. Letter-name knowledge had a relationship with the acquisition of orthographic representations. Letter-sound knowledge had a relationship with phoneme and letter-level attempts at unfamiliar words. This suggests that children with good letter-name and letter-sound knowledge have both orthographic knowledge and alphabetic strategies available in early word reading and spelling. Results are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical implications emphasising the role of alphabet knowledge in early literacy acquisition.

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