Preschool Phonemic Awareness Instruction

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Information about Preschool Phonemic Awareness Instruction

Published on October 20, 2008

Author: aSGuest1474


Slide 1: Purpose: This poster demonstrates the effects of preschool phonemic awareness instruction with and without prior syllable instruction. Rationale: Phonemic awareness is one of the central component of reading (National Reading Panel, NRP, 2000). It is acquired during the process of learning to decode and spell words. However, in nation-wide efforts to start children reading earlier, additional direct, explicit instruction in phonemic awareness is now recommended for all children (Ehri et al., 2001; Lyon, Alexander, & Yaffee, 1997; NRP, 2000). Furthermore, there is great interest in providing phonological awareness intervention before kindergarten to alter the reading trajectory for at-risk children (Torgesen, 1988). Phonological awareness intervention is clearly more effective than lack of treatment (see NRP, 2000), but there are still many questions about the relative efficacy and efficiency of instructional methods. This study examined: (a) the immediate effects of early horizontally-ordered phoneme-level instruction and; (b) whether one common component of instructional programs, syllable awareness, had positive or negative additional effects compared to phoneme-only instruction. Preschool Phonemic Awareness Instruction With and Without Prior Syllable Training Janae J. Nuspl Teresa A. Ukrainetz University of Wyoming ASHA Convention, Miami, FL, November 17, 2006 Methods Participants: Fifteen preschool (10 boys, 5 girls) ranged from 4;0 to 5;7 years (mean = 4;7 years) at pre-testing. The children were typically developing, with no history of significant hearing difficulties or neurological deficits, and TELD scores >85. Procedure: Pre-testing. The children were given: TELD, Clay Letter Survey, and Phonological Awareness Test (PAT) (first phoneme identification, phoneme blending; phoneme segmentation, syllable blending, and syllable segmentation subtests). Eight matched pairs of children were derived from the TELD and the letter survey and were randomly assigned to the treatment conditions: Syllable + Phoneme (SP) or Phoneme-Only (PO). Syllable Treatment. The children in the SP condition received 2 weeks (2 hrs) of instruction to mastery at the syllable level. Syllable awareness activities included: count syllables in names, move blocks to syllables, clap to syllables, listen to syllables from words, and guess words from syllables. Every SP child met the mastery criterion level for syllables (8/10). Phoneme Treatment. Both conditions completed 4 weeks (8 hrs) of phonemic awareness training. Three subskills (first sound isolation, blending, segmentation) were addressed in all sessions. Every session began with the name activity, rotating among first sound, blending, and segmenting. Then two to three other activities occurred, addressing those three skills individually. Talk around a rhyming book addressed all subskills within one activity. It was completed every second session. Instruction was therapeutic: an explicit skill focus, systematic scaffolding, and repeated opportunities for learning (Ukrainetz, 2006). Differential scaffolding support matched to task difficulty and child need. Post-testing. The change in PAT (first phoneme identification, phoneme blending, and phoneme segmentation subtests) raw scores from pre- to post-test provided the primary outcome measures. Half-points were provided for segmentation responses of at least 1 phoneme segmented correctly (e.g., liver = /l/-/I/-/ver/, plop = /pl/-/a/-/p/). The phonemic awareness composite on the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP) (norms start at 5;0) was used as an exploratory post-test measure. Videotapes of the first two and final two phoneme instructional sessions were analyzed for phoneme/syllable confusions and treatment fidelity. Reliability. Treatment fidelity and inter-rater point-point agreements were taken on 20% of each measure. There was excellent treatment fidelity. Inter-rater results yielded >85%. Slide 2: Results Will short-term, horizontally-organized phoneme-level training result in improved phonemic awareness for preschoolers? Yes. The mean total PAT phoneme score increased from 2.0 to 12.3, significant on the main effect of a repeated measures ANOVA, p < .0001, with a very large standardized mean difference of 3.76. The three component gains were all significant, p < .01. The mean standard score on the post-test CTOPP was 96.5 (85-106). Examples of Phoneme-level Activities: 1. Matching First Phonemes – Cards with 2-4 different first phonemes are spread face down and the children take turns choosing two cards. If the cards match in first sound, the child keeps the pair, if not, they are returned to the table. 2. Blending Phonemes Into Words – Food items are identified and placed in an opaque bag. Then the children guess the word from phonemes. 3. Segmenting Words Into Phonemes – Paper fish with paperclips and 2-4 phoneme words are spread on table. A magnetic fishing rod catches the fish. The child cuts it up by segmenting the word. Phonemes in Name Talk – Names for the clinician, child, and friends are used for first sound, blending, or segmentation. Phonemes in Book Talk – Rhyming books are read aloud and enjoyed. During the reading, the rhyming words are identified for first, blending, and segmenting phoneme questions. Will prior syllable awareness instruction improve phonemic awareness? No. The mean total phoneme gain, components, and CTOPP were not significantly different between SP and PO. Both conditions improved largely and significantly on syllable awareness, but the SP improved significantly more (p < .05). Slide 3: Does individual performance show SP-PO differences? Yes, one difference, but in favor of PO. A score of >7/10 was good understanding, 3-6 was emergent, and <2 was no comprehension. There was a similar distribution of participant performance across conditions for first phoneme isolation and phoneme blending, with 5 or more achieving at least emergent understanding in both conditions. Differences were more apparent for phoneme segmentation: only 1 SP participant achieved emergent understanding of phoneme segmentation, while 4 PO participants showed emergent or better understanding. Discussion Phoneme-Level Awareness Instruction. Typically developing preschoolers were provided a short period of instruction on phonemic awareness, including the difficult task of segmentation. These young children had not received other formal literacy instruction. At the study outset, 12/15 participants were unable to even isolate a first phoneme and the kindergarten-level CTOPP was judged too difficult to administer. Post-testing showed sizeable and significant gains in phonemic awareness skills and average-range CTOPP performance. Many were successful at first sounds and blending, and showed gains in understanding segmenting with partially correct responses. In addition, if syllable awareness is important, children never taught syllable awareness gained this skill incidentally. These results add to research showing that preschoolers can learn phonemic awareness within a horizontal goal structure, given developmentally-sensitive support (Ukrainetz et al., 2000). The Effects of Prior Syllable Instruction. One condition involved prior syllable blending and segmenting instruction. This instruction resulted in no additional benefit for the critical level of phonemic awareness. There were no significant differences in phoneme isolation, blending, or segmentation between the syllable-plus-phoneme and phoneme-only groups, even though the syllable group received two weeks more of speech sound manipulation activities. Furthermore, the prior syllable instruction had some deleterious effects on phoneme segmentation. Will preschool children who received the additional syllable-level training evidence confusion when introduced to the phoneme phase? No. The mean syllable confusion in the first two phoneme instructional sessions for SP was over 9 occurrences, while it was under 1 occurrence for PO. This was significantly different on an unpaired t-test, p<.0001, with a very large effect size of d = 3.04. Slide 4: Syllable/Phoneme Confusion. Confusion – and frustration – occurred for the SP children despite instructional features designed to assist in the transition. During the syllable instruction, the children were taught that the learning target was “syllables” and were told that these were the “big chunks of sounds in words.” In the phoneme phase, the children were explicitly told they were moving from the big chunks of sounds to little sounds in words. In addition, the training words in the first two phoneme sessions, other than for the name activity, were single-syllable words, making syllable beating difficult. Despite all this, children made errors, disputed the move to small sounds, or became silent and non-participatory. Instructor: Ok, now that we know the first sounds of our names, should we count all the sounds? Child 1: Yeah. = Child 2 quietly watches the instructor and Child 1. Instructor: Let’s see who has the longest name, okay? We’re going to do hands up like this. = Instructor puts a closed fist in the air. Child 1: How ‘bout Jeff or Susan{her parents}? Instructor: Ok, we’ll do that in a little bit. Let’s start with our own names, okay. We’re going to start with Janae. Okay, ready, hands up like this. = Children put their elbows on the tables and hands in a fist to get ready. Instructor: </dz/-/a/-/n/-/ai/>. = Instructor raises one finger up for each sound. Participants speak chorally. Child 1: </dza/-/nae/> Child 2: </dza/-/nae/-/nae/-/nae/> {Repeats the final syllable when she realizes the instructor is still counting sounds} Instructor: Remember we’re doing the little sounds. = Instructor continues to hold four fingers up for the children to see. Instructor: How many sounds? Child 1: Four {answers faintly, unsure of her answer}. I thought you hadded two {raises her voice accusingly}. Instructor: That was two syllables, but we’re doing the little sounds. This is the little sounds. So I had four little sounds, /dz/-/a/-/n/-/ae/. Janae, four sounds. References Ehri, L.C., et al. (2001). Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s meta-analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 250-287. National Reading Panel (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved Nov. 30, 2003, from [] Torgesen, J. K. (1998, Spring/Summer). Catch them before they fall: Identification and assessment to prevent reading failure in young children. American Educator, 1-8. Ukrainetz, T.A., Cooney, M.H., Dyer, S.K., Kysar, A.J., & Harris, T.J. (2000). An investigation into teaching phonemic awareness through shared reading ad writing Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15, 331-355. Ukrainetz, T.A. (2006). Contextualized skill intervention: Scaffolding PreK-12 academic achievement. Eau Claire, WI: Thinking Publications. Conclusion This study demonstrates that preschool children can be taught directly at the phoneme level without prior syllable awareness instruction. Multiple phoneme subskills can be taught within a single session. Typically developing preschoolers can show success at first sounds and blending, and do partially correct segmenting. Incidental syllable awareness occurs too. Syllable awareness instruction has no positive effects on phoneme isolation and blending, and some negative effects on phoneme segmentation. This instruction included quality features of treatment. The next step is to examine whether a longer duration of treatment would produce similar results for children with language impairment and to examine maintained effects and effects on reading and spelling.

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