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Components of phonological awareness

Abstract

The factorial structure underlying different types of tasks within the domain of phonological awareness was examined in two studies. Large sample sizes allowed for sensitive differentiation of constructs. In the first study, 128 preschool children without any experience of formal reading instruction were tested with a battery of tasks intended to tap various aspects of phonological awareness: rhyme recognition, syllable counting, initial-phoneme matching, initial-phoneme deletion, phoneme blending, and phoneme counting. Three basic components were extracted in a principal component analysis: a phoneme factor, a syllable factor and a rhyme factor. Cross-tabulations indicated considerable dissociation between performance on phoneme, syllable, and rhyme tasks. The structural relationships were replicated on a much larger sample (n=1509) in the second study. Subjects in this study were one year older and were attending grade 1 thus providing an opportunity to test their reading achievement. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated that the phonemic factor was by far the most potent predictor. However, the rhyming factor made an independent (although small) contribution to explaining the reading variance. Among the phonemic tasks, phoneme identification proved to be the most powerful predictor.

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Correspondence to Torleiv Høien.

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Høien, T., Lundberg, I., Stanovich, K.E. et al. Components of phonological awareness. Read Writ 7, 171–188 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01027184

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Key words

  • Factorial structure
  • Phonological awareness
  • Reading acquisition