ABSTRACT Early interactive processes of development in reading, spelling and implicit and explicit phonological awareness were assessed in a group of children at four time‐points as they progressed through their first three years in school. Exploratory causal path analyses were used to investigate the contribution of each ability to the subsequent growth of skill in reading, spelling and phonological awareness. The resultant structural models demonstrate a role of spelling in the early stages of reading acquisition, as well as differential contributions of implicit and explicit phonological awareness to both reading and spelling. They also suggest a developmental cascade from implicit to explicit phonemic awareness in the normal acquisition of phonological knowledge and associated skills. In the early formulative stages of reading implicit phonemic awareness and reading act reciprocally to build skill in each other. But, as ability in word recognition improves, implicit phonemic awareness plays a diminished role in reading. This pattern of initial reciprocal influence and later dissociation is repeated in the relationship between implicit phoneme awareness and spelling. Explicit phonemic awareness is an important factor in the first stages of spelling development but only emerges later as a significant contributor to reading. The early influence of explicit phoneme awareness on spelling, in conjunction with the major contribution of spelling to beginning reading, indicates that experience in spelling promotes the use of a phonological strategy in reading. Within a developmental context, explicit phoneme awareness initially appears to grow out of an implicit appreciation of the overall sound properties of words. Thereafter, ability to identify and segment phonemes develops independently of implicit phonemic awareness and plays an increasingly important role in the further growth of reading and spelling.
Journal of Research in Reading – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1988
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