WWC review of this study

Prereading skills and achievement under three approaches to teaching word recognition.

Gettinger, M. (1986). Journal of Research and Development in Education, 19 (2), 1-9. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ330714

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    72
     Students
    , grade
    PK
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: December 2006

Early reading/writing outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Training words

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

23.67

18.48

Yes

 
 
39
More Outcomes

Short vowel in transfer words

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

16.77

12.6

Yes

 
 
36

Transfer words

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

15.51

11.73

Yes

 
 
32

Discrimination

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

67.95

60.87

Yes

 
 
25

Trials-to-criterion

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

1.27

1.63

Yes

 
 
20
Phonological processing outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Sound blending

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

20.12

7.53

Yes

 
 
50
More Outcomes

Consonant sounds

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

11.31

3.53

Yes

 
 
49

Sound memory

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

28.93

23.66

Yes

 
 
25
Print knowledge outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Consonant names

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Other skills training

Posttest

4-5 year olds;
72 students

14.03

9.75

Yes

 
 
40

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 44%
    Male: 56%
  • Race
    Black
    22%
    White
    66%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    12%
    Not Hispanic
    88%
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    Midwest

Setting

The study took place in preschools in two Midwestern communities.

Study sample

The study began with 122 four- and five-year-old children who were pretested on four measures. Based on pretest scores, 26 children were eliminated because they scored with greater than 75% accuracy on at least one of the pretest measures. The remaining children were blocked on pretest scores, gender, and age and randomly assigned to either the intervention or comparison conditions. The matching procedure resulted in a loss of 24 children, resulting in a final sample of 72 children. Sixty-six percent of the children were white, 22% were black, and 12% were Hispanic or other backgrounds. Forty-four percent of the children were female, and a range of socioeconomic status levels were represented (11% upper middle, 38% middle, 31% lower middle, and 20% lower).

Intervention Group

The children in the intervention group participated in phonological awareness and letter knowledge (PAT + LK) skills training. PAT + LK skills training was delivered to children in instructional subgroups, to which they had been randomly assigned, during three 30-minute lessons a week over three consecutive weeks. During each skills training session children were taught to recognize, name, produce the sound for, and blend (initial and final positions) two consonants each day, so that by the end of the intervention all children had been taught 18 consonants. Each lesson followed a similar structure and ended with a cumulative review of all syllables learned. Next, children participated in nine additional 30-minute reading instruction lessons over three consecutive weeks (i.e., three lessons a week for three weeks) to learn how to read using either a sight word approach, a linguistic approach, or a phonetic approach. The reading instruction lessons were designed to assess the effect of PAT + LK skills training on early reading/writing outcomes. The WWC does not report the results of the separate reading instruction conditions in this report because they are not Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training interventions. However, the WWC does report the results for the early reading/writing outcomes combined across reading instruction conditions because effects on those measures can be attributed to the initial skills training.

Comparison Group

The children in the comparison group participated in training in skills other than those related to phonological awareness and letter knowledge. The other skills training was delivered to children in instructional subgroups, to which they had been randomly assigned, during three 30-minute lessons a week over three consecutive weeks. During the other skills training, children participated in activities such as practice in color and number naming and picture identification. Next, children participated in nine additional 30-minute reading instruction lessons over three consecutive weeks (i.e., three lessons a week for three weeks) to learn how to read using either a sight word approach, a linguistic approach, or a phonetic approach. The WWC does not report the results of the separate reading instruction conditions in this report because they are not Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training interventions. However, the WWC does report the results for the early reading/writing outcomes combined across reading instruction conditions because effects on those measures can be attributed to the initial skills training.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domains assessed were print knowledge and phonological processing (measured immediately after the skills training), and early reading/writing (measured after completion of the skills training but during reading instruction training). Print knowledge was assessed with one nonstandardized measure—consonant names. Phonological processing was assessed with three nonstandardized measures—consonant sounds, sound memory, and sound blending. Early reading/writing was assessed by five nonstandardized measures—training words, transfer words, short vowel in transfer words, trials-to-criterion, and discrimination. (See Appendices A2.2–A2.4 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.)

Support for implementation

The intervention and comparison conditions were implemented by 11 preschool teachers or aides who had at least two years experience with preschool-age children and who received two hours of training involving the reading of prepared scripts and simulated activities for the lessons. All teachers were familiar with the children in the groups they taught.

 

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