Facilitation Of Phonological Awareness In Three And Four Year Old Children

Innes, Sara Lynn (1995). Facilitation Of Phonological Awareness In Three And Four Year Old Children. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f768


This study investigated the effect of a short-term facilitation programme aimed at increasing the phonological awareness of pre-school, pre-literate children between three-and-a half and four-and-a-half years of age.

Forty-eight subjects were assessed both before and after a four-week intervention phase on four measures of metaphonological ability as well as measures of metasyntactic ability, auditory memory, auditory discrimination.

Following the pre-intervention assessments, subjects were allocated to one of three groups. Groups A, B and C each containing sixteen subjects and matched for age, gender, social background and linguistic ability.

Group A received a programme specifically designed to facilitate metaphonological abilities in 8 half-hour sessions. The first control group (Group B) received the same amount of input with a programme targeting semantics instead. Group C, the second control group, received no intervention.

The increase in mean combined metaphonological score from pre- to post-intervention testing for Group A was significantly greater than for either Group B or Group C while the two control groups did not significantly differ from one another. No significant difference was found amongst the three groups for any other measures. No statistically significant difference was found amongst Groups A, B and C tor any of the preintervention assessment measures.

The results suggest that the metaphonological intervention programme significantly influenced the metaphonological abilities of a group of three and four year old children while the control conditions had no such effect. Although previous studies have obtained similar results, they have all involved older pre-school or school-age children. The present study provides evidence that a metaphonological intervention programme could benefit young pre-school, pre-literate children in their preparation for school and their pursuit of reading readiness.

Pre-school children have disparate levels of metaphonological ability having had different metaphonological experiences. Not all children are equally ready to develop literacy skills when they start school. Children with poor phonological awareness, especially those with delayed or disordered language, are thought to be at risk of future reading difficulties and would particularly benefit from pre-school metaphonological intervention.

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