Classroom Phonological Awareness Instruction and Literacy Outcomes In the First Year of School
PurposeDespite strong investment in raising literacy achievement for all children significant inequalities in literacy outcomes continue to exist among some of the world's most advanced economies. This study investigated the influence of a short and intensive period of phonological awareness (PA) instruction implemented by classroom teachers on raising literacy achievement for children with and without spoken language difficulties. MethodA quasi-experimental design was employed to measure the PA, reading, and spelling development of 129 children aged five years. Thirty-four children received 10 weeks of PA instruction from their teachers. Ninety-five children continued with their usual reading program, which included phonics instruction but did not target PA. ResultsChildren who received PA instruction demonstrated superior literacy outcomes compared to children who followed the usual curriculum. Children with spoken language difficulties showed significant improvements in PA, reading, and spelling, but varied in their response to instruction compared to children with typical language. Importantly, the number of children experiencing word decoding difficulties declined from 26% among children who followed the usual literacy curriculum to 6% among children who received PA instruction. ImplicationsA short and intensive period of classroom PA instruction can raise the literacy profiles of typically developing and at-risk readers.