Preschool children in Latvia were tested in order to examine the relationships among various enabling skills and early reading performance. A principal component analysis indicated three factors: a phonemic awareness factor, a naming factor, and a short-term memory factor. Multiple regression analyses with word identification and sentence comprehension as dependent variables yielded further support to the powerful role played by phonemic awareness in explaining variance in both these aspects of reading. Unexpectedly, neither naming nor short-term memory contributed to explain unique variance in word and sentence reading. The Latvian orthography is very consistent, and our results provide further evidence to the importance of phonemic awareness in early reading acquisition especially in a transparent language. Therefore, the tasks used when assessing phonemic awareness can be very useful when screening children at risk for developing reading problems. Enhancing children's letter knowledge and phonemic awareness skills should be a priority goal in the kindergarten classroom.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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