Decoding skill and awareness of phonemes in nonwords: an early reciprocal relationship at the letter-level only

Anna Cunningham, Laura R. Shapiro

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    Purpose. Phoneme awareness is an important predictor of growth in reading skills, but few studies have examined whether the relationship is truly reciprocal, despite frequent statements in the literature that this is the case.
    Method. We explored this question using a longitudinal design that measured letter-knowledge, decoding skills (nonword and regular word reading) and phoneme awareness (isolation and deletion of phonemes in nonwords) during the first two years of school. Seven hundred and seven children were tested at school entry (T1), then again at the end of the first year (T2) and again at the end of the second year (T3).
    Results. Phoneme awareness predicted letter-knowledge, and letter-knowledge predicted phoneme awareness from T1-T2, indicating an early reciprocal relationship. However, while phoneme awareness predicted decoding, decoding did not predict phoneme awareness from T2-T3, implying that the relationship became uni-directional once children began to read. We will present additional analyses to elucidate the mechanisms behind the initial reciprocity, including a test of the orthographic influence hypothesis.
    Conclusions. Our results highlight the role of letter learning in precipitating awareness of phonemes and suggest that phoneme awareness is a distinct process that, once precipitated, is not influenced by reading skill.

    Conference

    ConferenceAnnual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading
    CountryPortugal
    CityPorto
    Period13/07/1616/07/16
    Internet address

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  • Cite this

    Cunningham, A., & Shapiro, L. R. (2016). Decoding skill and awareness of phonemes in nonwords: an early reciprocal relationship at the letter-level only. Paper presented at Annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Porto, Portugal.