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Research Report

Does Phoneme Awareness Training in Kindergarten Make a Difference in Early Word Recognition and Developmental Spelling?

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The goal of this project was to evaluate the effects of training in phonemic segmentation and of instruction in letter names and letter sounds on kindergarten children’s reading and spelling skills. Ninety students from three urban public schools in the U.S. were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group received training in segmenting words into phonemes, as well as training in correspondences between letter names and letter sounds (phoneme awareness group). The second group received only the training in letter names and letter sounds (language activities group). The third group received no intervention (control group). Results indicated that phoneme awareness instruction, combined with instruction connecting the phonemic segments to alphabet letters, significantly improved the early reading and spelling skills of the children in the phoneme awareness group. However, instruction in letter names and letter sounds alone did not significantly improve the segmentation skills, the early reading skills, or the spelling skills of the kindergarten children who participated in the language activities group, as compared with the control group.


Ball, E. W., & Blachman, B. (1991). Does phoneme awareness training in kindergarten make a difference in early word recognition and developmental spelling? Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 49-66.