Reading and Writing

, Volume 14, Issue 5–6, pp 423–457 | Cite as

The effect of phonics instruction on the reading comprehension of beginning readers

  • Vincent Connelly
  • Rhona Johnston
  • G. Brian Thompson


This study investigated whether two groups of6-year-old beginning readers taught to read by aphonics and by a ``book experience'' non-phonicsapproach would differ in reading comprehension as wellas the processes of word recognition. The two groupswere matched for word recognition but despite this, thephonics taught children had higher readingcomprehension. Phonics taught children produced morecontextually appropriate errors, and in both singleword and text reading made more spoken attempts atreading unknown words. The non-phonics taught childrenhad much faster reading reaction times to familiarwords but they scored less in phoneme segmentation andnonword reading tasks. Compared with the non‐phonicsgroup, the phonics group spent more time in attemptsat identifying unknown words and this included usingcontextual information, which apparently resulted inmore rehearsal of the meaning of the story text andhence better reading comprehension performance.

Comprehension Context Instruction Phonics Rate Teaching 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Connelly
    • 1
  • Rhona Johnston
    • 2
  • G. Brian Thompson
    • 3
  1. 1.PsychologySouth Bank UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.PsychologyUniversity of St. AndrewsFifeUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.EducationVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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