Two studies investigating the relationship betweenphoneme awareness and word reading ability in Downsyndrome (DS) are reported. The first study included33 Brazilian individuals with DS (mean age = 23years). They all had begun to read and all showedclear signs of phonological recoding skills. Thirty-three normal children (mean age = 7 years),matched with the individuals with DS for readingability, participated as controls. The second studyincluded individuals with DS with a wider range ofreading ability: a group of 46 readers (mean age = 22years) and a group of 47 nonreaders (mean age = 18years). The results question Cossu, Rossini, andMarshall's (1993a) claim that phoneme awareness is notrelated to alphabetic reading acquisition in DS.Although the individuals with DS who participated inthe first study performed rather poorly on a task thatpresupposes the ability to explicitly manipulatephonological representations, they performed quitewell on a task assessing the ability to detectphonemic similarities in words. We suggest that it wasthis ability that enabled them to acquire phonologicalrecoding skills as well as they did, despite theircognitive limitations. The results of the second studywere consistent with this interpretation. The abilityto detect phonemic similarities in wordssignificantly differentiated between the readers andthe nonreaders, even after we controlled forvariations in letter knowledge, intelligence, andchronological age.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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