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Phoneme awareness, or the ability to recognize a spoken word as a sequence of individual sounds, is thought to be an essential prerequisite to successful literacy. A child-based phoneme awareness training program integrating children's experience and activities with sound awareness and print immersion was developed at a small urban elementary school in an effort to improve at-risk students' literacy rates. The program makes use of weekly targeted sounds, nursery rhymes, poems, songs and shared reading experiences to create a non-threatening learning environment. To examine program effectiveness, a study was undertaken to review program design and implementation and determine the effects on the early literacy development of 24 of the at-risk children. Quantitative data were collected through pretests administered in November 1992, and posttests administered in April 1993; qualitative data were collected through classroom observations and discussions with teachers and students. Tests of students' skills indicated a significant increase in students' reading, spelling, letter identification, print concept, and vocabulary skills. Classroom observations noted increased student interaction in print and sound awareness activities during shared reading exercises. The study findings provide strong evidence for the inclusion of phoneme awareness training in all kindergarten curricula. (Tables of test results and 30 references are included.) (BCY)

Descriptors: Case Studies, Classroom Environment, Classroom Techniques, Emergent Literacy, High Risk Students, Kindergarten Children, Literacy Education, Phonemic Awareness, Primary Education, Program Descriptions, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Reading Skills, Spelling

Autor: French, Vicky L.; Feng, Jianhua


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