, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 607-626
Date: 04 Apr 2009

Fostering alphabet knowledge development: a comparison of two instructional approaches

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Preschool-aged children (n = 58) were randomly assigned to receive small group instruction in letter names and/or sounds or numbers (treated control). Alphabet instruction followed one of two approaches currently utilized in early childhood classrooms: combined letter name and sound instruction or letter sound only instruction. Thirty-four 15 minute lessons were provided, with children pre- and post-tested on alphabet, phonological awareness, letter–word identification, emergent reading, and developmental spelling measures. Results suggest benefits of combined letter name and sound instruction in promoting children’s letter sound acquisition. Benefits did not generalize to other emergent literacy skills.

This study reports results from the dissertation of Shayne B, Piasta, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D. at Florida State University. The research was supported by a Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Grant (R305B04074) from the Institute of Education Sciences. The opinions articulated are ours and do not represent views of the university or funding agency. Gratitude is expressed to Christopher J. Lonigan, Christopher Schatschneider, and Carol McDonald Connor for providing comments on early drafts of this manuscript, Avni Vyas for her daily work within the preschool centers, Caroline Phythian-Sense and Shari Watson for conducting assessments, Liz Wagner and Samyuktha Kashinath for fidelity coding, and the preschool directors, teachers, parents, and children for welcoming us into their classrooms.