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Phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge in the acquisition of literacy skills

Abstract
The nature of the relationship between phonological awareness and the acquisition of literacy was investigated in a longitudinal study of 29 children during their first two years at school. At the beginning of the study, when all children were nonreaders, syllable awareness was the strongest predictor of later word reading and spelling. During the first year, correlations from rhyme or alliteration awareness to later literacy were significant over intervals of two or three months. Correlations in the other direction, that is, from literacy to later rhyme or alliteration awareness were also significant over these periods. These results support the notion that early awareness of syllables, rhyme, and alliteration has a small facilitative effect on the first months of learning to read and spell, after which time a reciprocal relationship develops. Children were unable to score on both measures of phoneme awareness until after they could read a number of words. From half way through the first year, significant correlations were often found from phoneme awareness to later literacy. Correlations in the other direction, that is, from literacy to later phoneme awareness, were also significant. These results are consistent with phoneme awareness initially being a consequence of learning to read and write, and then having a reciprocal relationship with literacy. Controlling for verbal ability or phonological memory made little difference to the size of the correlations between measures of phonological awareness and literacy. Controlling for letter knowledge, however, often resulted in substantial reductions in the size of the correlations. Letter knowledge was frequently a strong predictor of later literacy. It is argued that letter knowledge has a central role in the development of literacy skills and in the relationship between phonological awareness and literacy.
Type
Thesis
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Blaiklock, K. E. (1999). Phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge in the acquisition of literacy skills (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12776
Date
1999
Publisher
The University of Waikato
Rights
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