WWC review of this study

Transfer among Phonological Manipulation Skills.

Slocum, Timothy A.; And Others (1993). Journal of Educational Psychology, v85 n4 p618-30. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ476873

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: December 2006

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Phonological processing outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Onset-rime blending

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Word manipulation


Preschool children;
16 students





Onset-rime segmenting

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Word manipulation


Preschool children;
16 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 57%
    Male: 43%

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The study took place in four Head Start preschool classrooms in an urban area of the Pacific Northwest.

Study sample

Slocum et al. (1993a, b). The study began with 48 low-income preschool children randomly assigned to two intervention and two comparison conditions. Thirteen children left the preschools over the course of the study, leaving a sample of 35 children in the four groups. Children in special education were excluded from the study sample. The mean age of the child participants was 5.2 years. Fifty-seven percent were female, 77% were Black, 14% were Asian, and 9% were Caucasian. Slocum et al. (1993a). Results for the 16 children who had been randomly assigned to the blend-then-segment intervention group and the word manipulation-then-segment comparison group are included in this report.

Intervention Group

The study included two phases. The children in the blend-then-segment intervention group were taught blending during phase one and segmenting during phase two. Children were taught how to blend using auditory blending instruction. Children were taught how to segment using onset-rime segmentation instruction. Instruction was one-on-one, lasted about 10 minutes per session, and continued until the child achieved mastery, which was defined as responding correctly to four of five items in a set of items for two days in a row. The WWC only includes the results from the phase one instructional period in this report because there was no appropriate comparison condition to estimate effects of training at the completion of phase two training.

Comparison Group

Children in the word manipulation-then-segment comparison group were taught word manipulation in phase one and segmenting in phase two. Comparison group children were randomly matched with intervention group children, and they participated in word manipulation activities until their intervention group counterpart achieved mastery in his or her first instructional phase. Instruction was one-on-one and lasted about 10 minutes per session.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domain was children’s phonological processing, which was assessed with two nonstandardized measures of onset-rime blending and onset-rime segmenting. (See Appendix A2.2 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.)

Support for implementation

The intervention was implemented by six graduate students in education. They were trained in the instructional procedures until they could deliver the instruction to adults with 100% accuracy. After training, they practiced with nonstudy children until they reached 100% accuracy.


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