Advertisement

The relation between phonological memory skills and reading ability in greek-speaking children: Can training of phonological memory contribute to reading development?

  • Katerina Maridaki-Kassotaki
Article

Abstract

This study was designed to examine whether there is a relationship between phonological memory and reading ability in Greek-speaking children aged between 6 and 9 years. An additional aim of the study was to investigate whether training of phonological memory during preschool years enhances reading achievement during early school years. In Experiment I, the phonological memory ability of 136 first graders, 134 second graders and 132 from each of the third and fourth grades was assessed with a nonword repetition test. A reading test was also used to evaluate the reading skills of the above subjects. The results revealed strong links between reading performance and nonword repetition scores. 120 kindergarten children randomly assigned to a control and an experimental group participated in Experiment 2. Training that involved practice in the repetition of nonwords was used as a means of promoting the phonological memory of the children in the experimental group over the course of one year in school. Subjects’ reading ability was tested during the last month of their first year in the primary school. The findings showed that the performance of the trained subjects in the reading test was superior to that of the control subjects. Such evidence underlines the importance of teaching children of preschool years phonological strategies in order to boost their reading skills during early school years.

Key words

Children’s reading performance Nonword repetition ability Phonological memory Phonological-memory training 

Résumé

La présente recherche a été réalisée auprès des enfants grecs, âgés de 6 à 9 ans. Elle examine s’il y a des relations entre la mémoire phonologique et la capacité de lecture. De plus, elle cherche à examiner si l’exercice de la mémoire phonologique pendant l’âge préscolaire améliore la performance des enfants dans le domaine de la lecture au cours des premières années de scolarité. Pour répondre à ces questions nous avons procédé de la façon suivante:

Au cours de la première expérimentation nous avons évalué à l’aide d’un test de répétition des mots sans sens réel (nonword repetition test) la capacité de la mémoire phonologique de 534 enfants dont 136 fréquentaient la première classe de l’école primaire, 134 la seconde, 132 la troisième et 132 la quatrième. En parallèle, nous avons utilisé un test de lecture pour évaluer leur capacité en ce domaine. Les résultats obtenus montrent l’existence d’une liaison très forte entre la performance au test de lecture et les scores au test de répétitions de mots sans sens réel. Dans le cadre de la deuxième expérimentation 120 enfants suivant l’école maternelle étaient classés aux hasard en deux groupes: (a) groupe expérimental (60 enfants) et (b) groupe de contrôle (60 enfants). Les enfants du premier groupe ont été soumis à des exercices de répétition de mots sans sens réel pendant une année scolaire. La capacité en lecture de l’ensemble des enfants a été évaluée pendant le dernier mois de leur première année à l’école primaire. Les données obtenues montrent que la performance du groupe expérimental est significativement supérieure par rapport à celle du groupe de contrôle. Cette constatation souligne l’importance de faire apprendre aux enfants d’âge prescolaire des stratégies qui favorisent le développement de la mémoire phonologique en vue d’améliorer leur capacité en lecture.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baddeley, A.D., Gathercole, S.E., & Papagno C. (1998). The phonological loop as a language learning device.Psychological Review, 105(1), 158–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bryant, P.E., Bradley, L., Maclean, M., & Crossland, J. (1989). Nursery rhymes, phonological skills and reading.Journal of Child Language, 16, 407–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheung, H. (1996). Nonword span as a unique predictor of second-language vocabulary learning.Developmental Psychology, 32, 867–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fijalkow, J. (1990).Mauvais lecteurs. Pourquoi? Translated by S. Tantaros [in Greek]. Athens: Hellinika Grammata.Google Scholar
  5. Gathercole, S.E. (1990). Working memory and language development: How close in the link?The Psychologist, 2, 57–60.Google Scholar
  6. Gathercole, S.E. (1995). Is nonword repetition a test of phonological memory or long-term knowledge? It all depends on the nonwords.Memory and Cognition, 23(1), 83–94.Google Scholar
  7. Gathercole, S.E., & Adams, A. (1993). Phonological working memory in very young children.Developmental Psychology, 29, 770–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gathercole, S.E., & Adams, A. (1994). Children’s phonological working memory: Contributions of long-term knowledge and rehearsal.Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 672–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gathercole, S.E., & Baddeley, A.D. (1990). Phonological memory deficits in language-disorder children: Is there a causal connection?Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 336–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gathercole, S.E., & Baddeley, A.D. (1993a). Phonological working memory: A critical building block for reading development and vocabulary acquisition.European Journal of the Psychology of Education, 8, 259–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gathercole, S.E., & Baddeley, A.D. (1993b).Working memory and language. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  12. Gathercole, S.E., & Baddeley, A.D. (1996).The children’s test of nonwords repetition. London, UK: Psychological Corporation Limited.Google Scholar
  13. Gathercole, S.E., & Martin, A.J. (1996). Interactive processes in phonological memory. In S.E. Gathercole (Ed.),Models of short memory-term (pp. 73–100), Hove, UK: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gathercole, S.E., & Thorn, A.S.C. (1998). Phonological short-term memory and foreign language learning. In A.F. Healy & L.E. Bourne (Eds.),Foreign language learning. Psycholinguistic studies on training and retention (pp. 141–158). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  15. Gathercole, S.E., Willis, C., & Baddeley, A.D. (1991). Differentiating phonological memory and awareness of rhyme: Reading and vocabulary development in children.British Journal of Psychology, 82, 387–406.Google Scholar
  16. Gathercole, S.E., Hitch, G.J., Service, & Martin, A.J. (1997). Phonological short-term memory and new word learning in children.Developmental Psychology, 33(6), 966–979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gathercole, S.E., Willis, C.S., Baddeley, A.D., & Emslie, H. (1994). The children’s test of nonword repetition: A test of phonological working memory. In S. Gathercole & R. McCarthy (Eds.),Memory tests and techniques (special issue of Memory, pp. 103–127) Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  18. Gathercole, S.E., Willis, C., Emslie, H., & Baddeley, A.D. (1992). Phonological memory and vocabulary development during the early school years: A longitudinal study.Developmental Psychology, 28, 887–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Joseph, B., & Warburton-Philippaki, I. (1987).Modern Greek. London: Groom Helm.Google Scholar
  20. Lindamood, C.H., & Lindamood, P.C. (1969).The A.D.D. Program: Auditory discrimination in depth. Boston: Teaching Resources Corporation.Google Scholar
  21. Lundberg, I., Frost, J., & Petersen, O.-P. (1988). Effects of an extensive program for stimulating phonological awareness in preschool children.Reading Research Quarterly, 23, 263–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MacLean, M., Bryant, P., & Bradley, L. (1987). Rhymes, nursery rhymes, and reading in early childhood.Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 33, 255–281.Google Scholar
  23. Maridaki-Kassotaki, K. (1996). On the investigation of nonword repetition ability and the involvement of subvocal rehearsal in nonword repetition during childhood. Paper presented at the 5th Panhellenic Conference of Psychological Research, Patra.Google Scholar
  24. Maridaki-Kassotaki, K. (1998). Evaluation of the relationship between phonological working memory and reading ability.Psychologia, 5(1), 44–52.Google Scholar
  25. Masoura, E.V. (1999).Phonological short-term memory contributions to vocabulary acquisition. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Bristol.Google Scholar
  26. Porpodas, C.D., & Paleothodorou, A. (1999). A training study on phonological awareness and its effect on learning to read and spell in Greek language. Paper presented at the IVth European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Spetses.Google Scholar
  27. Service, E. (1992). Phonology, working memory, and foreign-language learning.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 45A, 21–50.Google Scholar
  28. Service, E., & Kohonen, V. (1995). Is the relationship between phonological memory and foreign language learning accounted for by vocabulary acquisition?Applied Psycholinguistics, 16, 155–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tafa, E. (1995).Test of Reading Ability [in Greek]. Athens: Hellinika Grammata.Google Scholar
  30. Tafa, E. (1997). The phonological awareness of preschoolers as an indicator of their reading ability during school years. Paper presented at the 6th Panhellenic Conference of Psychological Research, Athens.Google Scholar
  31. Vamvoukas, M. (1994).Evaluation of reading skills [in Greek]. Athens: Origoris.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harokopio UniversityAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations