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Exploring English and Spanish rhyme awareness and beginning sound segmentation skills in prekindergarten Spanish-speaking English Learners

Abstract

Twenty-five 4- and 5-year-old Spanish-speaking English Learners (ELs) were tested in order to compare their English and Spanish performance in two phonological awareness skills: Rhyme awareness (RA) and beginning sound segmentation (BSS). The children had received formal instruction of phonological awareness, with an emphasis on RA and BSS for 1 year and in English only, using the Opening the World of Learning curriculum (Schickedanz & Dickinson, 2005). The results showed that the children scored higher on the English BSS than on the English RA tests (p < .001), even though RA is generally considered to be an earlier developing skill than BSS among English-monolingual children. No significant difference was found between the English BSS and Spanish BSS tests despite the fact that the children had received English-only instruction in these phonological awareness skills for 1 year. The results are discussed in terms of the possible impact of the similarities and differences between the Spanish and English linguistic structures on the learning and cross-linguistic transfer of phonological awareness skills in young Spanish-speaking ELs.

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Correspondence to Laura B. Raynolds.

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Raynolds, L.B., López-Velásquez, A. & Olivo Valentín, L.E. Exploring English and Spanish rhyme awareness and beginning sound segmentation skills in prekindergarten Spanish-speaking English Learners. Read Writ 30, 719–737 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9696-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9696-y

Keywords

  • Spanish-speaking English Learners
  • Prekindergarten
  • Phonological awareness
  • Rhyme awareness
  • Beginning sound segmentation
  • English-only instruction