Edited by Martin Neef and Guido Nottbusch
[Written Language & Literacy 9:1] 2006
► pp. 115–133
Phoneme awareness is not a prerequisite for learning to read
Three lines of evidence suggest that phoneme awareness (as measured by phoneme deletion) is not a prerequisite for learning to read and spell. 1. A boy with a serious reading problem could provide letters to represent onsets and codas better than he could delete onsets and codas. 2. A contingent analysis of reading and spelling achievement and deletion of onsets or codas or deletion of one phoneme from a complex onset was undertaken in a sample of poor readers. Onset and coda deletion developed before the students’ decoding skills reached a third-grade level, but deletion of a phoneme from an onset developed along with reading achievement. 3. When phoneme deletion was tested by a recognition method, good eighth-grade readers erroneously accepted items with the entire onset deleted as being correct responses, and had longer response times on these items. Onset and coda deletion develop after onsets and codas are represented alphabetically and before children read at about a third-grade level. However deletion of one phoneme from an onset cluster develops slowly as literacy develops and is a difficult task even for good readers.
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