, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 289-324

The necessity of the alphabetic principle to phonemic awareness instruction

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This investigation examined the extent to whichcurricular choice and incorporation of phonemicawareness (PA) into the kindergarten curriculumaffects growth in kindergarten literacy skillsand first-grade reading and spelling outcomesin 114 classrooms in 32 Title 1 schools for4,872 children (85% African American). Literacy curricula were described as havingmore or less teacher choice and more or less PAand were implemented with ongoing professionaldevelopment. Observations of curriculumfidelities and ratings of student behavior werealso obtained. Alphabetic instruction withoutPA was not as effective as alphabeticinstruction with PA. However, effectiveinstruction in PA and alphabetic codingappeared to be as much a consequence of ongoingprofessional development as it was a functionof prescribed PA activities. Results providelarge-scale classroom support for findings onPA reported by the National Reading Panel[(2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-basedassessment of the scientific research literature onreading and its implications for reading instruction.Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health andHuman Development].