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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship between first grade children’s reading achievement and their performance on selected metalinguistic tasks Bruinsma, Robert Walter


Objectives: The purpose of this study was first to conceptualize specific metalinguistic abilities related to reading acquisition and to provide a conceptually defensible rationale for the measurement of those abilities by a battery of tests. A second major purpose was to gather empirical data concerning the relationship of the defined metalinguistic abilities and reading achievement in a group of first grade children. A third purpose was to examine the influence of gender on reading achievement and performance on metalinguistic tasks. Procedure: A Test of Metalinguistic Awareness (TOMA) was developed and administered to 113 first grade subjects in March, 1981. In April, 1981, all subjects were administered the reading subtests of the Stanford Achievement Test Primary I. Factor analysis was used to determine the underlying factor structure of the TOMA. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships of the subtests of the TOMA to reading achievement. Results: Factor analysis revealed a two factor structure for the TOMA interpreted as a Function factor and a Structure factor. The Function factor was discovered to account for the greatest amount of the variance in reading achievement (R² = 0.24). Multiple regression analysis indicated that the entire TOMA accounted for about 31 percent of the variance in reading achievement and that TOMA Subtest 5 (Awareness of the language of instruction) alone accounted for 20 percent. There were no significant differences in reading achievement or metalinguistic awareness, as a function of gender. Conclusions: It was concluded by the experimenter that metalinguistic awareness as measured by the TOMA is a significant though limited predictor of reading achievement in grade one pupils similar in character to those used in the study. It was further concluded that awareness of functional aspects of language may be more important to reading acquisition and achievement than is awareness of structural aspects of language. The study concludes with a discussion of its limitations and suggestions for further research are presented.

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