Reading and Writing

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 467–491 | Cite as

Phonological awareness and reading in Thai children

  • Kanokporn Vibulpatanavong
  • David EvansEmail author


Phonological awareness has been found to be an important skill underpinning reading development in several alphabetic languages. However, the development of phonological awareness and its relationship to reading development can be influenced by the nature of the language under investigation. While understanding this relationship in Thai language is important in effective identification of reading difficulties for Thai students, few relevant studies could be located in major international databases. This study aimed at investigating phonological development, reading development, and the relationship between phonological awareness and reading ability in Thai language. Three hundred and ten students from Grade 1 to Grade 3 from four schools in Bangkok, Thailand, were assessed on phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and reading ability. Phonological awareness and reading ability in Thai language continuously developed throughout the lower primary school grades. Phonological awareness significantly predicted reading ability in lower primary school students even after age, gender, parental education, and letter knowledge had been taken into account, although different phonological tasks had varying degrees of predictive values. The findings of the study also revealed the nature of Thai language may not be as transparent as previously thought. In order to improve the identification of reading difficulties in Thai language, systematic investigation of the nature of Thai language and how beginning reading instruction is taught in Thailand are needed. The findings also contribute to understanding reading development in different languages.


Phonological awareness Reading Thai language Early identification 



The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) at the University of Sydney. The research for this article/chapter/review was undertaken as part of a SSEAC Regional Mobility Grant 2016.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationSrinakharinwirot UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Sydney School of Education and Social Work, Education Building A35University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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