Aug 31, 2007


Phonological awareness training and Letter knowledge
training (PAT+LK) are two general practices that have been combined as an
intervention to assist children gain phonological awareness.

Phonological awareness training refers to a group of
curricula designed to increase the phonological awareness abilities of
children. These include activities that teach children how to identify and
manipulate segments of spoken word as well as rhyme and alliteration.
Letter knowledge training includes teaching children about letters of the
alphabet and connecting these letters to sounds.

The PAT+LK curriculum varies from study to study as PAT+LK
practices were developed by study authors. Several evaluations have been
conducted of PAT+LK and have found mixed reviews. One experimental study of the
effect of PAT+LK on oral language found that PAT+LK was effective in increasing
the oral language of participants. However, studies
have not had consistent findings with regard to print knowledge, phonological
processing, or early reading/writing.


Target population: Phonological awareness training
and letter knowledge training has been evaluated with preschool children.

Phonological awareness training and letter knowledge
training does not have a single developer or uniformity among implementations.
As a result, not all programs will have the same components. PAT+LK is designed
to help children develop the skills that precede reading. Typically, PAT+LK
serves as a supplemental activity to classroom activities. Skills taught may
include detecting rhymes, blending sounds together, segmenting words into
sounds, identifying letters, and connecting letters of the alphabet to sounds.
PAT+LK can be implemented by a teacher in an
one-on-one setting, or in small or large groups.


Gettinger, M. (1986).Prereading
skills and achievement under three approaches to
teaching word recognition. Journal of Research and Development in Education,
(2), 1-9.

Evaluated population: 72 four and five year old
children from two Midwestern preschools.

Approach: Children were matched on pretest scores,
gender, and age and randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a
comparison group. Participants in the experimental group received interventions
in two phases. In the first phase, experimental participants received three
30-minute lessons a week over the course of three weeks. Experimental
participants were instructed in small groups and taught identification,
production, and manipulation (i.e., blending) two consonants per lesson. In the
second phase, experimental participants received nine 30-minute reading
instruction lessons over the course of three weeks.

Participants in the control group also received two phases
of interventions. In the first phase, control participants were taught skills
unrelated to phonological awareness and letter knowledge (e.g., color, number
naming, picture identification). In the second phase,
comparison participants received 30-minute reading instruction lessons in the
same format as the experimental group.

At post-test, the researchers assessed print knowledge and
phonological processing. Print knowledge was measured by assessing knowledge of
consonant names. Phonological processing was assessed using measures of three
skills: consonant sounds, sound memory, sound blending. Throughout the reading
instruction training, early reading and writing were measured.

Results:Results of the study found that for print
knowledge, participants in the PAT+LK group scored significantly higher than
control group participants. Likewise, participants in PAT+LK scored higher than
their control counterparts on all measures of phonological processing. Finally,
on all except one measure of early reading/writing, PAT-LK participants scored
significantly higher than control participants.

Roberts, T., & Neal, H. (2004).Relationships among preschool English language learners’ oral
proficiency in English, instructional experience and literacy development.
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29(3), 283-311.

Evaluated population: 33 Hmong and Spanish speaking,
low-income children in a half-day, state-funded preschool program (ages 42-58
months). The original sample was 43 students but participants were lost due to
attrition and exclusion from the study due to eligibility criteria.

Approach: Children in the study were blocked by
primary language and then randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups.
Participants in the first group (letter-rhyme group) received 20 -25 minute
lessons focusing on phonological awareness skills and letter knowledge. Lessons
were given three times a week over the course of 16 weeks in a small group
setting. Lessons included learning to identify and write a new letter in the
alphabet and relating that letter to rhyming activities.

The second group (language comprehension) group received 20 –
25 minute lessons, three times a week for 16 weeks. In small groups,
participants watched a video of a book and engaged in an activity where
teachers responded to participants story-related language and pointing. In the
next session, participants would learn vocabulary from the text, point to the
text to promote print awareness, and putting together a story.

At post-test, participants were assessed on multiple domains
including oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and early
reading/writing. Early reading/writing was measured by a nonstandardized
measure of writing. Phonological processing was assessed with a measure or
rhyming. A nonstandardized measure of letter names
was used to assess print knowledge and a vocabulary and story event sequencing
test and the Pre-Idea Proficiency test were used to assess oral language.

Results: Results of the study found that, overall,
participants in the language comprehension group scored higher than
letter-rhyme participants on measures of oral language, specifically on the
measure of vocabulary. However, with regard to print knowledge, letter-rhyme
participants outperformed language comprehension participants. The two groups
did not differ on phonological processing or early reading/writing.



Gettinger, M. (1986). Prereading skills and
achievement under three approaches to teaching word
recognition. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 19(2),

Roberts, T., & Neal, H. (2004).
Relationships among preschool English language learners’ oral
proficiency in English, instructional experience and literacy development.
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29(3), 283-311.

Curriculum materials available for purchase at: Phonological
awareness training does not have a single developer or distributor of
materials, consequently there is no standardized program nor are there
standardized program materials.

KEYWORDS: Education,
Skills Training, School-Based, Oral Language/Communication, Preschool, Early
Childhood (0-5), Phonological Awareness, Phonological Processing, English as a
Second Language, Language Comprehension, Print Knowledge, Letter Knowledge, Literacy,
Early Childhood Education, Cognitive Development.

Program information last updated on 8/31/07

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