Length awareness predicts spelling skills in Finnish
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Abstract. The main type of phonemic analysis skill considered to affect spelling acquisition has been awareness of phoneme quality. However, it is also important to find out whether other measures of phoneme awareness might contribute to literacy acquisition. Thus, the influence of phoneme length and phoneme quality awareness on spelling in Finnish was compared. The Oddity task was used to assess phonemic awareness and spelling skills were investigated by a spelling-to-dictation task. The results showed that length awareness predicted spelling better than quality awareness did. Moreover, length awareness was more strongly related to spelling of long phonemes, which specifically require analysis of phoneme length, than to spelling of phoneme clusters not involving length analysis. Additionally, only length awareness predicted children's general spelling skills. These findings suggest that awareness of length, which is a phonemic attribute of the Finnish language, is connected to children's spelling skills more strongly than awareness of phoneme quality is.
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