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					A Comparison of Phonological
Awareness Intervention Approaches

  Lesley Raisor, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
Nancy Creaghead, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
 Christina Yeager, M.A. CCC-SLP
Session Objectives
   After this session, you will be able to…

    –   Identify 2 different approaches to phonological
        awareness interventions and site research that
        supports both approaches

    –   Create lesson plans targeting phonological
        awareness using both approaches

    –   Share your knowledge of phonological
        awareness intervention approaches with your
Where we are headed:

   1. Review literature
    –   Traditional Phonological Awareness (P.A.)
    –   Contextualized P.A. Training
   2. Discuss present study
    –   Detailed description of lesson plans and books
   3. Discuss lesson plan template
    –   Create your own plans
For Review….
   Phonological awareness is the conscious
    attention to the sound structure of

    –   It is a broad skill that includes:
            The ability to detect and produce rhyme
            The ability to segment speech into words, syllables, and
            The ability to detect and manipulate phonemes (Gillon,
Phonological Awareness

   The predictive power of
    phonological awareness for later
    literacy outcomes has prompted
    educators to develop interventions
    targeting phonological awareness
    skills in children at-risk for
    qualifying for special education
What have we learned from research
in phonological awareness?
Traditional Phonological
Awareness Interventions
   Ball and Blachman (1991)--classroom-
    based phonological awareness
    intervention successful for later reading
    and spelling
    – 15 hours of direct intervention.
    – Kindergarteners (placed in groups of four or five) were taught
      to use tiles to represent phonemes in words.
    – Engaged in segmentation activities and tasks that targeted
      letter-sound correspondence.
    – The results of the research revealed large gains in not only
      phoneme segmentation ability, but also in reading and spelling.
Traditional Phonological
Awareness Interventions
   Lundberg, Frost, and Peterson (1988)—
    phonological awareness can be trained
    in non-readers
     – Provided 235 kindergarten children who
       were non-readers with training in
       metalinguistic awareness (no training in
     – Intervention group outperformed a control
       group on word, syllable, and phoneme
       segmentation and synthesis tasks
    Traditional Phonological
    Awareness Interventions
   Bradley and Bryant (1985)—early phonological
    awareness training can affect later reading and spelling
     – 65 kindergarten children participated 40 minute training
       sessions spread over two years
           Taught to group pictures corresponding to words that
            began with the same phoneme
           Taught to categorize words that shared the same rime unit,
            by sorting picture cards into sets of words that rhymed with
            one another
     –   When children’s reading and spellings abilities were
         measured when they were 8 years old, the experimental
         phonological awareness group were ahead of the control
         children in reading by 8-10 months (reading) and 17
         months (spelling)
    Problems with Traditional
   McGee & Purcell-Gates (1997) –traditional approaches are:
     –   removed from children’s daily literacy experiences and
     –   are not responsive to individual differences in children’s

   Likewise, the National Reading Panel (2000)--phonological
    awareness instruction should be integrated into a child’s
    general literacy learning.

   Further, although many of the traditional drill approaches
    have been effective in increasing the skills of school-aged
    children (five and six-year-olds), this training approach may
    not be developmentally appropriate for younger preschool
         Alternate Strategy for Phonological
         Awareness Training

   Richgels, Poremba, and McGee (1996) studied
    an approach that more closely aligns with
    constructivist aspects of emergent literacy
    –   Described ways educators can guide children in a meaningful and
        functional literacy-based context for learning phonological
Alternate Strategy for Phonological
Awareness Training
   Naturalistic or contextual phonological
    awareness training-- utilizes children’s books to
    teach children about the sounds of language.

    –   Ukrainetz et al. (2000)--contextualized instruction led to
        gains in phonological awareness compared to a non-
        treatment control group.
   Raisor (2002)--contextualized phonological
    awareness intervention led to significant gains in
    phonological awareness skills of children with
    language learning problems.
Research Needed to Compare
Both Approaches
   Traditional drill approach -- based upon early
    behaviorist theories of learning

   Contextualized approaches -- grounded in socio-
    cultural/constructivist theories of cognition and

   While the research into naturalistic interventions
    described above is promising, systematic
    research comparing the effectiveness of this
    approach to the traditional sequenced and
    structured method is lacking.
      Purpose and Research Question
   The purpose—was to compare the effectiveness of two
    types of phonological awareness programs (a
    structured drill approach and a contextualized
    approach) in increasing the early literacy skills of
    preschool children at-risk for reading failure.

   Research question:
     – Is there a significant difference in the
      early phonological awareness/early
      literacy skills among intervention group
      (drill and naturalistic) and a control
      group as result of a four-week
      phonological awareness intervention?
         Methods: Participants
   Research Site: an inner city Head Start located in a large
    Midwestern city.
     – 150 children
     – Random assignment to classrooms

   Children: 44 children participated (average age: 4 years 9 months)
     –   Three classrooms in drill (17 children)
     –   Three classrooms in naturalistic (17 children)
     –   Two classrooms in control (10 children)—collected 2 years later

   Graduate Students: 8 Speech-Language Pathology Master’s
    Students served as test administrators and interveners
     – Reduced researcher biases
     – Offered better control than using teachers
 Methods: Assessment
(1).Portions of The Phonological Awareness Test (Robertson & Salter,
    1997): Because there is no standardized test of phonological
    awareness for use with children under five (see review in Justice,
    Invernizzi, & Meier, 2002), portions of The Phonological
    Awareness Test were administered informally.
    –   Rhyme discrimination/production, word and syllable segmentation, and
        initial sound isolation.

(2).The Test of Early Reading Abilities—3 (TERA-3): This is a
    standardized test normed on children ages 3-10 years (Reid,
    Hresko, Hammill, 2001). It has three subtests: alphabet
    knowledge, conventions (measuring children’s understanding of
    print concepts), and meaning (measuring children’s ability to
    comprehend the meaning of printed material).
     Methods: Graduate Student
   Following recruitment, graduate students were
    required to attend a two week-long project

   This training involved three aspects:
     –   (1) the administration of the testing protocols;
     –   (2) the implementation of the drill-approach to
         phonological awareness training; and
     –   (3) the implementation of the naturalistic
         approach to phonological awareness training.

   Included opportunities for supervised practice with test
    administration and the phonological awareness interventions.
    Methods: Phonological
    Awareness Interventions
1. Administered assessment tools

2. Classrooms were randomly assigned to receive the drill-
     approach or naturalistic treatment.

•     -A control group was recruited at a later time.

•     -There were three classrooms in each of the treatment
      conditions, and two classrooms in the control group.

1.    -Each group received the same amount of intervention
      (two 20 minute sessions per week for 4 weeks). The
      control group did not receive any intervention.

3. Graduate students re-administered both tests.
        Methods: Drill Approach
   Utilized procedures from other well-known
    phonological awareness studies (Lundberg, Frost, &
    Peterson, 1988; van Kleeck, 1995).

   Shaping procedures, with structured hierarchies
    controlling task complexity (McFadden, 1998;
    Ukrainetz, Cooney, Dyer, Kysar, & Harris, 2000;
    Gillon, 2004).

   A target skill will be selected for a one-week period
    –   1st week -rhyme discrimination and production;
    –   2nd week-word segmentation;
    –   3rd week-syllable segmentation;
    –   4th week- initial sound isolation.
         Methods: Naturalistic
   Naturalistic phonological awareness intervention incorporated scaffolding
    to support individual student responses.
     – Allowed other children to scaffold
     – Working within the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

   More than one type of phonological awareness skill was incidentally
    explored at a time (Ukrainetz, 2006).

   Lesson plans for the naturalistic approach were those that were used for
    the pilot-project of this research (performed in the summer of 2002).
       Methods: Naturalistic
   A storybook was included in every session. Every
    session began with readiness interactions, modeled
    from Cochran-Smith’s (1984) research.

   Each lesson plan targeted a specific skill, however,
    other phonological awareness skills were also
    addressed in each session.

   After the graduate student had finished reading the
    book, she asked children to participate in a follow-up
    activity that was meaning-based.
                    Methods: Drill Approach
   Week 2
   Sentence Segmentation.
   We are going to clap for each word we hear today. I am going to say a sentence, and I want
    you to clap for each word you hear.
          I love my mom.
          Turn on the television.
          My cat is big.
          Let’s read a book.
          I want to play.
          The dog has a large nose.
          My computer is not working.
          The clown likes balloons.
          The candle is hot.
          The boy has a spoon.
          The refrigerator is cold.
          My pillow is big and soft.
          The spring flowers are so pretty.
          Daddy said ―no.‖
          The remote control is under the couch.
         Methods: Naturalistic
   2nd Week Frog Theme
   Materials Needed. Jump, Frog, Jump
     –   Laminated characters of the story (frog, fly, snake, etc.) glued to craft sticks (make three for
         each character).
     –   12-15 multi-colored lily pads
     –   Upbeat music
     –   CD player
   Joint Book Reading Suggestions.
     –    Have the children look at the cover of the book and guess who will be the characters in the
     –   Assign each child a character in the story and give them the respective character on a craft
         stick (Some characters will need to be repeated among the children). Instruct the children to
         hold up their character each time it is mentioned.
     –   This book contains a great deal of rhythm. Read the story with a lot of inflection. You may
         have children clap as you read (only if you are not asking them to hold up the characters).
   Extension Sentence Segmentation Activity.
     –   Have children jump (from lily pad to lily pad) for each word they hear in a simple sentence from
         the book) (NOTE: You will have to simplify the sentences….some of the sentences from the
         book are very complex).

   You may play a game with music (having the children freeze on a lily pad when the
    music stops), and then ask them to jump in place on their lily pad for each word in a
    simple sentence.
 Schedule of Treatment

          1st         2nd       3rd       4th
          week        week      week      week
Drill     Rhyme       Sent.     Syll.     Initial
          Discrim/    Segment   Segment   Sound Iso.

Context   Rhyme       Sent.     Syll.     Initial
          Activity-   Segment   Segment   Sound Iso.
          There Was   Jump,     Mrs.      Buzz Said
          an Old      Frog,     McNosh    the Bee
          Lady        Jump      Hangs…
   SPSS software was used to analyze the data collected.
   One-way ANOVA’s were computed for each intervention
    group at pre-test to ensure that intervention groups were not
    significantly different at pre-test.
     –   Syllable segmentation (p< .05) (naturalistic intervention group
         mean significantly higher than the drill or control groups).
   Repeated measures ANOVA’s
     – group assignment (naturalistic, drill, or control-group) as a
       between-subjects factor
     – time as a within-subjects factor for each measure (rhyme
       discrimination, rhyme production, sentence segmentation,
       syllable segmentation, initial sound isolation, total phonological
       awareness, alphabet knowledge, print concepts, and
    Rhyme Discrimination

        7.5                          Group
         7                           Drill





              1                  2

                  Testing Time
        Sentence Segmentation

        6                           Naturalistic




             1                  2

                 Testing Time
         Total Phonological Awareness

        27.5                           Group
         25                            Drill





                1                  2

                    Testing Time
         Alphabet Knowledge

        8.1                          Group
        7.8                          Naturalistic


              1                  2

                  Testing Time
         Print Concepts

        4.5                            Group
         4                             Drill





               1                   2

                   Testing Times
Discussion: Summary of
 –   Both interventions were successful
     compared to control group for:
         Rhyme Discrimination, Sentence Segmentation,
          Total Phonological Awareness
 –   Naturalistic intervention successful for:
     Print Concepts
       Naturalistic  Intervention group demonstrating
          larger gains
 –   Alphabet Knowledge
       Unexplained    growth for drill group
         Discussion: TPA, Rhyme Discrimination,
         Sentence Segmentation,

   These results are consistent with results of other
    studies regarding the efficacy of:
    –   Traditional drill-based phonological awareness training (Ball &
        Blackman 1991; Bradley & Bryant, 1983; Herrera, 1993;
        Lundberg, Frost, & Peterson, 1988; Schneider et al., 1997)
    –   Contextualized intervention programs (Richgels, Poremba, &
        McGee, 1996; Ukrainetz et al., 2000).

   Gillon (2004) suggested that both approaches to
    phonological awareness training (skill mastery
    approach, i.e. drill, and integrated multiple skill
    approach, i.e. naturalistic) may be useful as she set
    forth guiding principles to phonological awareness
    intervention programs.
         Discussion: Rhyme Discrimination
         and Sentence Segmentation
•   Both intervention groups made gains, but the control group’s
    scores actually declined slightly (creating an interaction

     •   Bradley & Bryant (1983) targeted phonological awareness in a
         traditional way—children made significant gains

     •   Richgels, Poremba, and McGee (1996) targeted phonological
         awareness in naturalistic way—children made significant gains
    Discussion: Rhyme Production

•   Rhyme Production – results similar to van Kleeck et al.
    (1998)– children made gains in other phonological
    awareness skills, yet did not make progress in rhyme
    production following intervention.
     –   Current study—children errors were because of a semantic
         retrieval bias
             Children not metalinguistically ready to view words outside of their
              semantic purpose.
     –   Another explanation--Production may require higher cognitive
         processes than other measures of rhyming skills
         (discrimination, categorization, and oddity tasks)

     –   Also, perhaps the tax on phonological working memory
         (memory that involves temporarily holding the speech sound
         features of a word, so it can be analyzed or manipulated) was
         too much for the preschool children (Troia, 2004).
        Discussion: Initial Sound
   Initial Sound Isolation— There was not a
    significant difference between groups, nor
    was there an interaction effect.
    –   Liberman (1974)—children less than 5 years old often
        have difficulty with this task
    –   Gillon (2004) argues that phonemic level awareness has
        generally been considered to develop in kindergarten
        and beyond
    –   Ukrainetz (2006)—Kindergarten is when major changes
        can be observed in phoneme-level skills
            Although other researchers disagree. Bradley & Bryant
             (1985), Lundberg, Frost, & Peterson, 1988); Lundberg et
             al. (1990).
    Discussion: Early Literacy
   Alphabet Knowledge —There was an interaction effect between
    intervention and time.
     – A look at the means shows a large change in alphabet knowledge for
       the drill group
     – Letter-knowledge was not explicitly addressed in the drill intervention
     – Classroom teacher’s attention to letter knowledge was not controlled
    Discussion: Early Literacy
   Print Concepts —There was a significant difference between the
    naturalistic group and the control group and drill group. Children
    experienced exposure to print and the storybooks in the naturalistic
    intervention, whereas the drill and control groups did not.
      – Ezell, Justice, and Parsons (2000) investigated the efficacy of
        a shared-book reading intervention designed to foster parent’s
        strategies for stimulating preschooler’s learning of print
             The intervention was effective in stimulating children’s concepts of
              print, as children made gains in a print knowledge protocol
              adapted from Clay’s Concepts about Print assessment (1979)
              after only a five-week period.
   Meaning —No significant differences among groups
     –   This subtest might not accurately measure a child’s ability to make
         meaning from print sources. Many of the test items were related to
         alphabet knowledge
       Discussion: Drill Intervention
   Our drill-based activities provided each child explicit
    opportunities to practice a given skill
   In the present study, the drill-based approach ensured that
    each child had an opportunity to respond to two target
    phonological awareness stimuli.
     – The National Reading Panel, 2000 argued that
        phonological awareness instruction should be explicit
   However, Ukrainetz (2006) argues that this type of explicit
    instruction teaches children how to do well on tests of
    phonological awareness.
     – Children were asked to respond to the targets in ways
        similar to the testing situation. Therefore, children in the
        drill group ―practiced‖ taking phonological awareness
        tests at each training session.
     Discussion: Summary
   Naturalistic intervention successful compared to a
    control group for increasing children’s print
   Naturalistic and drill groups were both successful
    for increasing children’s rhyme discrimination,
    sentence segmentation ability, and total
    phonological awareness compared to a control
   It may be more beneficial to select a naturalistic
    intervention strategy for early preschool
    interventions due to added benefit of increasing
    print concepts in children in the naturalistic group.
Discussion: Limitations/Future
   Following children longitudinally to determine if
    the effects of the two strategies carry on for later
    reading and spelling
   Longer intervention cycles
   Alternative methods of assessment
     – Authentic assessments using children’s
     – Alternative ways of assessing rhyme
Your suggestions for further
Contact Information

   Lesley Raisor,
    –   513-221-4243
 Christina Yeager,
 Nancy Creaghead,