Program

Aug 07, 2007

OVERVIEW

Phonological awareness training (PAT) 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 how to rhyme and alliterate. The
curriculum varies from study to study as PAT practices were developed by study
authors. Several evaluations have been conducted of PAT and have found that
participants in PAT do not differ significantly from control groups on measures
of phonological awareness.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Phonological awareness training
has been evaluated with children ranging from age 3 to 6 from
Washington State
and the Pacific Northwest.

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

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Majsterek, D.J., Shorr, D.N., & Erion, V.L. (2000).
Promoting early literacy through rhyme detection activities during Head Start
circle time. Child Study Journal, 30(3), 143-151.

Evaluated population: 40 low-income Head Start
children (ages 3 to 6) in Washington
State.

Approach: Children were randomly assigned to receive
either phonological awareness training or word training with an emphasis on
word meanings. PAT participants received nine 10-minute lessons over the course
of four weeks. Lessons focused on rhyming and identifying rhymes. Lessons also
included the use of DaisyQuest
software (a computer program designed to teach phonological awareness). The
control group received nine 10-minute sessions that focused on word meaning as
well as synonyms, comparative-superlative, position in space, and reasoning. At
post-test, participants were assessed using a measure of phonological
processing, specifically the identification of rhyming words.

Results: At post-test, the treatment group did not
differ from the control group on a the identification of rhyming words,
suggesting that PAT is ineffective in affecting phonological processing.

O’Conner, R.E., Jenkins, J.R., Leicester,
N., & Slocum, T.A. (1993a). Teaching phonological awareness to young children
with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 59(6), 532-546.

Evaluated population: 55 four to six year old
preschool children who were developmentally delayed. Due to attrition and
pre-test scores, 47 children were in the final sample.

Approach: Children were blocked on age and cognitive
ability and randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups (blending,
segmenting, rhyming) or a control group. In all three intervention
groups, participants received a 2 phase intervention.

Participants in the blending group received three weeks of
learning a specific blending task in the first phase. In the second phase
participants reviewed the task in the first phase and adding other blending
tasks. Participants in the blending group were given 10 minute lessons three or
four times a week.

Participants in the segmenting group received three weeks of
learning how to separate sounds by stretching each sound into two or three word
phonemes in the first phase. In phase two, participants were taught how to separate
words into onset-rime, say each word in a sound, and indicate which sound is
first. Participants in the segmenting group were given 10 minute lessons four
times a week.

Participants in the control group received three weeks of
lessons (phase one) where they were given examples of rhyme, rhymed in a group,
and then asked to produce a rhyme. In phase two, participants were asked to
continue to make rhymes and also identify pairs of rhyming words and identify
words that did not rhyme. Rhyming group participants received 10 minute lessons
four times a week.

Participants in the comparison group received routine
preschool activities. These activities included listening to stories and oral
language activities.

At post-test, participants were assessed using nine
nonstandardized measures of phonological processing: three blending tests,
three segmenting tests, three rhyming tests. In addition, participants were
assessed with a phonological mastery test.

Results: Overall, results of the study found that PAT
had no effects on phonological awareness. Neither of the three intervention
groups scored significantly different from the comparison groups on the
measures of phonological processing. However, there were several significant
differences on subtests. The blending group scored significantly higher than
the comparison group on measures of blending continuous sounds, onset-rime, and
separated sounds. In addition, the segmenting group scored significantly higher
than the control group on measures of blending continuous phonemes, segmenting
all sounds, and segmenting onset-rime.

Yeh, S.S. (2003). An evaluation of two approaches for
teaching phonemic awareness to children in Head Start. Early Childhood
Research Quarterly, 18
(4), 513-529.

Evaluated population: 44 low-income four and five
year old children from two Head Start programs in
Boston, MA.

Approach: Participants were randomly assigned to one
of two PAT groups. One group focused on phonemic segmentation. Activities in
the phonemic segmentation group included segmentation, blending, and
substitution of phonemes. Teachers modeled behaviors and had children practice.
Participants in the phonemic segmentation group received 20-25 minutes a week
of instruction over 9 weeks.

The second group focused on rhyming and alliteration.
Activities in this group included rhyming practices and bookmaking towards the
goal of telling stories to accompany pictures. Participants in the second group
received 20-25 minutes a week of instruction over 9 weeks.

Participants were assessed at post-test using a
nonstandardized measure of letter sound matching, four nonstandard measures
assessing phoneme blending, phoneme segmentation, phoneme deletion, and phoneme
substitution. Additionally, participants were assessed with using a
nonstandardized test of oral reading.

Results: Results of the study indicated that the two
PAT groups did not significantly differ on measures of letter-sound matching,
phonological awareness, or oral reading.

Slocum, T.A., O’Conner, R.E., & Jenkins, J.R. (1993).
Transfer among phonological manipulation skills. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 85
(4), 618-630.

Evaluated population: 48 low-income preschool
children in 4 Head Start classrooms in an urban area in the Pacific
Northwest. Due to attrition, the final sample was 35 children.

Approach: Participants were randomly assigned to one
of four groups. Two intervention groups included a blend-then-segment
intervention group and a segment-then-blend intervention group. Two control
groups included a word manipulation-then-segment comparison group and a word
manipulation-then-blend comparison group. All groups received interventions in
two phases and received 10-minute sessions. For intervention groups, sessions
continued until mastery of skills was achieved, for control groups, sessions
continued until intervention counterparts had mastered skills.

The blend-then-segment group received blending instruction
in the first phase and in the second phase were taught how to segment using
onset-rime.

The segment-then-blend group received segmenting instruction
using onset-rime in the first phase and were taught blending in the second
phase.

The word manipulation-then-segment group received word
manipulation instruction in the first phase and received the same segmenting
instruction in phase two that their counterparts were receiving.

The word manipulation-then-blend group received word
manipulation instruction in the first phased and the same blending instruction
in phase two that their counterparts were receiving.

At post-test, participants were assessed for their
phonological processing with two nonstandard measures: onset-rime blending and
onset-rime segmenting.

Results :Overall, results of the study indicated that
the intervention groups did not significantly differ from the control groups on
phonological processing. However, the blend-then-segment group did score higher
than the word manipulation-then segment comparison group on the measure of
onset-rime blending. Likewise, the segment-then-blend group scored higher than
the word-manipulation-then-blend on the measure of onset-rime segmenting.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Majsterek, D.J., Shorr, D.N., & Erion, V.L. (2000).
Promoting early literacy through rhyme detection activities during Head Start
circle time. Child Study Journal, 30(3), 143-151.

O’Conner, R.E., Jenkins, J.R., Leicester,
N., & Slocum, T.A. (1993a). Teaching phonological awareness to young
children with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 59(6), 532-546.

Slocum, T.A., O’Conner, R.E., & Jenkins, J.R. (1993).
Transfer among phonological manipulation skills. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 85
(4), 618-630.

Yeh, S.S. (2003). An evaluation of two approaches for
teaching phonemic awareness to children in Head Start. Early Childhood
Research Quarterly, 18
(4), 513-529.

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: Child Development, Literacy, Phonological Awareness, Education, Oral Language/Communication, Early Childhood (0-5), Preschool, School-Based, Preschool, Early Childhood Education, Phonological Processing, Urban, Cognitive Development.

Program information last updated on 8/7/07