WWC review of this study

Promoting early literacy through rhyme detection activities during Head Start circle-time.

Majsterek, D. J., Shorr, D. N., & Erion, V. L. (2000). Child Study Journal, 30(3), 143. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ626919

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: June 2012

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: December 2006

Phonological processing outcomes—Substantively important positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Rhyme detection test

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Semantic training


3-5 year olds;
40 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 0% English language learners

  • Female: 45%
    Male: 55%
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The study took place at a Head Start program in Washington State.

Study sample

The study included 40 low-income three- to five-year-old preschool children. The mean age of the intervention group was 55.2 months; the mean age of the comparison group was 54.3 months. Forty-five percent of the sample was female, and all children included in the analyses spoke English as their primary language. Four groups of children were randomly assigned to the intervention and comparison conditions.

Intervention Group

The intervention group participated in Phonological Awareness Training that focused on the concepts of rhyming and rhyme detection. The children were introduced to these concepts using pictures from DaisyQuest software and objects from a rhyme box. Children generated rhyming words for the objects in the box. Each teaching session began with a review of the previous session’s activity. The intervention group participated in nine 10-minute sessions during their regular circle time over a four-week period.

Comparison Group

The comparison group participated in training with a semantic emphasis (i.e., a focus on word meaning), with activities focusing on synonyms, comparative-superlative, position in space, and reasoning. The comparison group participated in nine 10-minute sessions during their regular circle time over the same four-week period.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domain was children’s phonological processing. This domain was assessed with one researcher-developed measure called the rhyme detection test. (See Appendix A2.2 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.)

Support for implementation

Implementation of both the intervention and comparison conditions was conducted by the first author of the study. The WWC found no reason to believe that the person implementing the intervention and comparison conditions was not equally trained and motivated to implement each condition.


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