Mastery of the alphabetic principle necessitates learning letter–sound correspondences. In this study, we found evidence of the importance of spoken phonology in the letter–sound learning of 89 deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) preschoolers. Only DHH children with at least some ability to perceive speech were included in the study. DHH children were more likely to know letter sounds for which the corresponding letter name contains a phonological cue (e.g., d as opposed to h), a phenomenon robustly observed in hearing children (e.g., Treiman, Weatherston, & Berch, 1994). However, unlike the pattern observed in hearing children, DHH children benefited more from phonological cues that are at the end of letter names (e.g., m) rather than the beginning (e.g., b). DHH children’s letter-sound knowledge was strongly associated with phonological awareness—and phoneme-level skills in particular. Despite less differentiated phonological representations, DHH children seem to rely on similar processes to hearing children as they begin to acquire the alphabetic principle, with spoken phonology playing an important role.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 5, 2014
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