Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 55–70 | Cite as

Enhancing the metalinguistic abilities of pre-service teachers via coursework targeting language structure knowledge

  • Caralyn J. PurvisEmail author
  • Brigid C. McNeill
  • John Everatt


Low metalinguistic knowledge of pre-service and in-service teachers is likely to restrict the provision of evidence-based literacy instruction in the classroom. Despite such concerns, relatively few studies have examined the effects of teacher preparation coursework in building pre-service teachers’ language structure knowledge. This study examined the effects of 7 h of language structure coursework, delivered over 7 weeks, on 121 New Zealand pre-service teachers in their initial year of study. Changes in participants’ phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and orthographic knowledge were tracked across the teaching period. The impact of the coursework for participants who presented with strong spelling (n = 24) and poor spelling (n = 24) ability was also compared. The cohort demonstrated significant gains across all measures. Strong spellers responded more favourably to the teaching than poor spellers, even when accounting for initial levels of meta-linguistic knowledge. Implications for the development of teacher preparation programmes that enhance the provision of effective literacy instruction are discussed.


Metalinguistic ability Reading instruction Response to intervention Teacher education Teacher knowledge 


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caralyn J. Purvis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brigid C. McNeill
    • 2
  • John Everatt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.College of Education, Health and Human DevelopmentUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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