The Case for Teaching Phonemic Awareness and Simple Phonics to Preschoolers

Authored by: Thomas Nicholson , Giok Lian Ng

Handbook of Orthography and Literacy

Print publication date:  September  2005
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780805846522
eBook ISBN: 9780203824719
Adobe ISBN: 9781136781353


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The 24 preschool children examined in the study (mean age 3 years, 11 months) were learning to read English as a second language. They were given phonemic awareness training and were taught simple letter—sound correspondences in small groups, daily for 20 min for a duration of 6 weeks. A control group of children was taught through dialogic reading, for the same duration, in which stories were read to them in an interactive way. The results showed that the phonemic awareness training and simple phonics instruction produced significantly higher phonemic awareness scores compared with the scores of the control group. The performance of the children in the training group on tests of word reading both in lists and connected texts was better when compared with that of children in the comparison group. The phonological training benefited children no matter whether they entered the study with high levels of phonemic awareness or low levels of phonemic awareness.

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