Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14: 145–177, 2001.
© 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
The role of different levels of phonological awareness
in the development of reading and spelling in Greek
ATHANASIOS AIDINIS & TEREZINHA NUNES
Department of Child Development and Learning Institute of Education University of London,
Abstract. Phonological awareness is a strong predictor of children’s progress in literacy
acquisition. There are different ways of segmenting words into sound sequences – syllables,
phonemes, onset-rime – and little is known about whether these different levels of segment-
ation vary in their contribution to reading and writing. Does one of them – for example,
phoneme awareness – play the major role in learning to read and spell making the other phon-
ological units irrelevant to the prediction of reading? Or do different levels of analysis make
independent contributions to reading and spelling? Our study investigated whether syllable
and phoneme awareness make independent contributions to reading and spelling in Greek.
Four measures were used: syllable awareness, phoneme awareness, reading and spelling.
Analyses of variance showed that Greek speaking children found it easier to analyse words into
syllables than phonemes, irrespective of the inﬂuence of task variables such as position of the
phonological element, word length, and placement of stress in the word. Regression analyses
showed that syllable and phoneme awareness make signiﬁcant and independent contributions
to learning written Greek. We conclude that phonological awareness is a multidimensional
phenomenon and that the different dimensions contribute to reading and writing in Greek.
Keywords: Greek language, Phoneme awareness, Reading, Spelling, Syllable awareness
Phonological awareness is a strong speciﬁc predictor of children’s progress
in reading and spelling and remains signiﬁcant even after the effect of
factors such as age and intelligence has been partialled out (Bryant, Bradley,
MacLean & Crossland 1989; Bryant, MacLean & Bradley 1990). This
connection between reading, writing and phonological awareness is not
particular to learning to read in one language because evidence comes
from learning to read in a variety of languages such as English (Bryant,
Bradley, MacLean & Crossland 1989; Bryant, MacLean & Bradley 1990),
Spanish (Carrilo 1994; Deﬁor & Tudela 1994), Portuguese (Alegria, Pignot
& Morais 1982; Carraher 1987; Cary & Verhaeghe 1994), German (Wimmer
& Hummer 1990; Wimmer, Landerl & Schneider 1994), Norwegian (Høien,
Lundberg, Stanovich & Bjaalid 1995; Lundberg 1991) and Greek (Porpodas