Initial Enabling Knowledge and Skills in Reading Acquisition: Print Awareness and Phonological Segmentation

Part of the Springer Series in Language and Communication book series (SSLAN, volume 28)


The acquisition of reading skill does not begin with formal instruction in school. Throughout the preschool years, most children in Western societies are subjected to a great deal of informal literacy socialization. Although a majority of children enter school as nonreaders in a traditional sense, they often display surprisingly well-developed concepts of the nature and the function of written language. A skill component, however, also is involved in reading literacy, which does not easily seem to develop spontaneously in the natural ecology of a child, but which, in many cases, seems to require explicit teaching for its development. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss some of the important steps preschool children seem to take on the route to literacy and to review some empirical studies that especially reveal the critical importance of phonological awareness in reading acquisition.


Word Recognition Phonological Awareness Phonemic Awareness Reading Acquisition Letter Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ayers, D., & Downing, J. (1982). Testing children’s concepts of reading. Educational Research, 24, 277–283.Google Scholar
  2. Bellugi, U., Fischer, S. (1972). A comparison of sign language and spoken language: Rate and grammatical mechanism. Cognition, 7, 173–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bertelson, P., & de Gelder, B. (1989). The emergence of phonological awareness: Comparative approaches. In I.G. Mattingly & M. Studdert-Kennedy (Eds.), Modularity the motor theory of speech perception. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. (1983). Categorizing sounds and learning to read: causal connection. Nature, 301, 419–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bryant, P., & Goswami, U. (1987). Beyond grapheme-phoneme correspondence. Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive, 7, 439–443.Google Scholar
  6. Chafe, W.L. (1985). Linguistic differences produced by differences between speaking and writing. In D.R. Olson, N. Torance, & A. Hildyard (Eds.), Literacy, language, and learning. The nature and consequences of reading and writing (pp. 105–123 ). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chafe, W.L. ( 1989, March). Where are the differences between oral and written language? Information flow in spoken and written languages. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  8. Downing, J. (1976). The reading instruction register. Language Arts, 53, 762–766.Google Scholar
  9. Ehri, L. (in press). Development of the ability to read words. In P.D. Pearson (Ed.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 2). New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  10. Fodor, J. A. (1983). The modularity of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Francis, H. (1973). Children’s experience of reading and notions of units in language. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 43, 17–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goodman, K.S., & Goodman, Y.M. (1979). Learning to read is natural. In L.B. Resnick, & P. A. Weaver (Eds.), Theory and practice of early reading (Vol. 1 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  13. Gough, P.B., & Tunmer, W.E. (1986). Decoding, reading, and reading disability. Remedial and Special Education, 7 (1), 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hiebert, E. (1981). Developmental patterns and interrelationships of preschool children’s print awareness. Reading Research Quarterly, 16, 236–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hohn, W.E., & Ehri, L.C. (1983). Do alphabet letters help prereaders acquire phonemic segmentation skill? Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 752–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Høien, T., & Lundberg, I. (1988). Stages of word recognition in early reading development. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 34.Google Scholar
  17. Huba, M.E., & Kontos, S. (1985). Measuring print awareness in young children. Journal of Educational Research, 78, 272–279.Google Scholar
  18. Huba, M.E., & Robinson, S.S. ( 1987, April). Correlates of reading ability among preschoolers. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Asociation, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  19. Juel, C., Griffith, P.L., & Gough, P.B. (1986). Acquisition of literacy: A longitudinal study of children in first and second grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 78, 243–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kontos, S., & MacKley, H. ( 1985, April). Development and interrelationships of reading knowledge and skills during kindergarten and first grade. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, Chicago.Google Scholar
  21. Larsen, J.P., Høien, T., Lundberg, I., & Ødegaard, H. (in press). MRI evaluation of the size and symmetry of the planum temporale in adolescents with developmental dyslexia. Brain and Language.Google Scholar
  22. Liberman, A.M., Cooper, F.S., Shankweiler, D., & Studdert-Kennedy, M. (1967). Perception and the speech code. Psychological Review, 74, 431–461.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lindblom, B. (1989). Some remarks on the origin of the phonetic code. In C. von Euler, I. Lundberg & G. Lennerstrand (Eds.), Brain and reading (pp. 27–44 ). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Lundberg, I. (1984). Sprak och lasning [Language and reading]. Malmö, Sweden: LiberFörlag.Google Scholar
  25. Lundberg, I. (1985). Longitudinal studies of reading and reading difficulties in Sweden. In G.E. MacKinnon, & T.G. Waller (Eds.), Reading research: Advances in theory and practice (Vol. 4, pp. 65–105 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lundberg, I. (1987). Are letters necessary for the development of phonological awareness? Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive, 7, 472–475.Google Scholar
  27. Lundberg, I. (1989a). Two dimensions of decontextualization in reading acquisition. In P.B. Gough (Ed.), Theories of reading acquisition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  28. Lundberg, I. (1989b). Lack of phonological awareness. A critical factor in dyslexia. In C. von Euler, G. Lennerstrand, & I. Lundberg (Eds.), Brain and reading (pp. 221–231 ). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  29. Lundberg, I., & Høien, T. (in press). Patterns of information processing skills and word recognition strategies in developmental dyslexia. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 34.Google Scholar
  30. Lundberg, I., Frost, J., & Petersen, O.-P. (1988). Effects of an extensive program for stimulating phonological awareness in preschool children. Reading Research Quarterly, 23, 263–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lundberg, I., Olofsson, Å., & Wall, S. (1980). Reading and spelling skills in the first school years predicted from phonemic awareness skills in kindergarten. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 27, 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mann, V.A. (1986). Phonological awareness: The role of reading experience. Cognition, 24, 65–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mason, J.M. (1984). Early reading from a developmental perspective. In D.E. Pearson (Ed.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 505–543 ). New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  34. Masonheimer, P.E., Drum, P.A., & Ehri, L.C. (1984). Does environmental print identification lead children into word reading? Journal of Reading Behavior, 16, 257–271.Google Scholar
  35. Mattingly, I.G. (1987). Morphological structure and segmental awareness. Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive, 7, 488–493.Google Scholar
  36. McGee, L.M., Lomax, R.G., & Head, M.H. (1988). Young children’s written language knowledge: What environmental and functional print reading reveals. Journal of Reading Behavior, 20, 99–118.Google Scholar
  37. Morais, J. (1988, November). Constraints on the development of phonemic aware-ness. Paper presented in the Symposium on Phonological Processes in Literacy, to honor the research of Isabelle Y. Liberman, 39th Annual Conference of the Orton Society, Tampa, Florida.Google Scholar
  38. Morais, J., Alegria, J., & Content, A. (1987). The relationships between segmental analysis and alphabetic literacy: An interactive view. Cahiers Psychologie Cognitive, 7, 415–438.Google Scholar
  39. Ninio, A., & Bruner, J. (1978). The achievement and antecedents of labelling. Journal of Child Language, 5, 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Olofsson, A, & Lundberg, I. (1983). Can phonemic awareness be trained in kindergarten? Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 24, 35–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Olson, D.R. (1977). From utterance to text: The bias of language in speech and writing. Harvard Educational Review, 47, 257–281.Google Scholar
  42. Olson, D.R. (1986). Learning to mean what you say: Toward a psychology of literacy. In S. deCastell, A. Luke, & K. Egan (Eds.), Literacy, society, and schooling. A reader (pp. 145–158 ). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Olson, R., Wise, B., Conners, F., & Rack, J. (1989). Deficits in disabled readers’ phonological and orthographic coding: Etiology and remediation. In C. von Euler, I. Lundberg, & G. Lennestrand (Eds.), Brain and reading (pp. 233–242 ). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  44. Pennington, B. (1986). Issues in the diagnosis and phenotype analysis of dyslexia: Implications for family studies. In S. Smith (Ed.), Genetics and learning disabilities (pp. 69–95 ). San Diego, CA: College Hill Press.Google Scholar
  45. Perfetti, C.A., Beck, I., Bell, L.C., & Hughes, C. (1988). Phonemic knowledge and learning to read are reciprocal: A longitudinal study of first grade children. In K.E. Stanovich (Ed.), Children’s reading and the development of phonological awareness (pp. 39–75 ). Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Sawyer, D.J. (1987). A retrospective analysis of poor auditory segmenters and low achievers: Insights from three longitudinal studies of the effects of teaching sementing skills within the reading program. In M. Masland & R.L. Masland (Eds.), Preschool prevention of reading failure (pp. 121–142 ). Parkton, Md: York Press.Google Scholar
  47. Stanovich, K.E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 360–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stanovich, K.E. (1988a). Explaining the differences between the dyslexic and the garden-variety poor reader: The phonological-core variable-difference model. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 21, 590–604, 612.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stanovich, K.E. (1988b). Introduction. In K.E. Stanovich (Ed.), Children’s reading and the development of phonological awareness (pp. 7–10 ). Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Stanovich. K.E., Cunningham, A., & Feeman, D. (1984). Intelligence, cognitive skills, and early reading progress. Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 278–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tannen, D. (1982). The oral/literate continuum in discourse. In D. Tannen (Ed.), Spoken and written language: Exploring orality and literacy (pp. 1–16 ). Nor-wood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
  52. Taube, K. (1988). Reading acquisition and self concept. Umeå: University of Umeå.Google Scholar
  53. Tomkins, G.E., & McGee, L.M. (1986). Visually impaired and sighted children’s emerging concepts about written language. In D.B. Yaden, Jr., & S. Templeton (Eds.), Metalinguistic awareness and beginning literacy (pp. 259–275 ). Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.Google Scholar
  54. Tunmer, W.E., Herriman, M.L., & Nesdale, A.R. (1988). Metalinguistic abilities and beginning reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 28, 134–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Warren-Leubecker, A., & Carter, B.W. (1988). Reading and growth in metaling¬uistic awareness: Relation to socioeconomic status and reading readiness skills. Child Development, 59, 728–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wells, G. (1985). Preschool literacy-related activities and success in school. In D. Olson, N. Torrance, & A. Hildyard (Eds.), Literacy, language, and learning: The nature of and consequences of reading and writing (pp. 229–255 ). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations