WWC review of this study

Teaching phonological awareness to young children with learning disabilities.

O’Connor, R. E., Jenkins, J. R., Leicester, N., & Slocum, T. A. (1993). Exceptional Children, 59(6), 532–546. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ464005

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    22
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: March 2013

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: June 2012

Communication/ Language outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Blending: Separate sounds

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

4.8

0.7

Yes

 
 
46
More Outcomes

Blending: Onset-rime

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

4.7

0.8

Yes

 
 
41

Blending: Continuous phonemes

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

6.6

2.4

Yes

 
 
39

Rhyming: Production

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

2.7

1.8

No

--

Rhyming: Oddity

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

1.9

1.5

No

--

Rhyming: Recognition

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

5.4

5.2

No

--

Segmenting: All sounds

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

0

0

No

--

Segmenting: First sound

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

0

0

No

--

Segmenting: Onset-rime

Phonological Awareness Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 to 6 year olds;
22 students

0.1

0

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Washington

Setting

The study was conducted in six preschool classrooms in the Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington.

Study sample

Fifty-five children aged 4–6 with developmental delays were pretested for the study. The authors excluded four children who scored 30% or better on a phonological pretest and one child with autism, who was nonverbal. Children were stratified by class (morning or afternoon), age, and the results of the cognitive ability pretest. Within strata, children were randomly assigned to either one of three phonological awareness training conditions or a comparison group. Only one comparison, phonological awareness training with a blending focus versus the comparison group, meets WWC standards and is included in this report. Twelve children were randomly assigned to the phonological awareness training with a blending focus condition and 13 to the comparison group, but three children left the program before the completion of the study, leaving an analytic sample of 22 children (11 each in the intervention and comparison groups). For the whole sample (including all three phonological awareness training conditions), 80% of the children had significant language delays and some physical handicaps, behavioral disorders, or an intellectual disability.

Intervention Group

Children met in groups of three to five for 10-minute sessions, four times a week. Instruction lasted seven weeks. In the first three weeks, children in the blending focused (intervention) condition practiced blending two to three phonemes in elongated words with continuous sounds. For example, “I’ll say words the slow way. You’ll say them fast. Ssseeeeennnn. What word?” (p. 536). At the end of the three weeks, children were tested on the set of phonological skills that was taught and one that was not taught (e.g., blending and segmentation). During the last four weeks, the skills were reviewed and instruction was extended to other tasks. Children were taught to blend words beginning with stop sounds, all sounds separated, and onset-rime.

Comparison Group

Children participated in routine preschool activities, such as listening to stories read by the teacher or “circle time” oral language activities. The authors were concerned that children in the intervention group would have more experience with “sounds in isolation” than children in the comparison group, which could result in the outcome measures favoring the intervention groups. To address this, the researchers met with each comparison group child twice during the implementation period to practice the isolated sounds used in training. For example, the researcher would say, “Today we’re going to practice saying sounds. Say this sound.” The researcher would model, and the children would then repeat the sounds.

Outcome descriptions

Nine subtests of auditory phonological skills (three each for rhyming, blending, and segmenting) were developed by the study team. The blending outcomes were continuous phonemes, onset-rime, and separate sounds. The segmenting outcomes were all sounds, onset-rime, and first sound. The rhyming outcomes were production, oddity, and recognition. Children were tested in the week prior to the start of the study and directly after the cessation of instruction for the intervention groups. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

The intervention was conducted by three graduate students, all of whom had teaching experience. Each graduate student teacher led all three interventions to minimize potential teacher effects. Each Monday, the three teachers practiced the formats to be used for the week with the first author. The teachers met daily to discuss and resolve problems. In addition, the teachers were randomly audiotaped to ensure that protocols were being implemented as designed.

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top