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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rhyming ability, phoneme identity, letter-sound knowledge, and the use of orthographic analogy by prereaders Walton, Patrick D.


Recent research in phonological awareness found a strong link between rhyming ability in preschool children and later reading achievement. The use of orthographic analogy, the ability to make inferences from similarities in spelling to similarities in sound, was proposed as the mechanism to explain this relationship (Goswami & Bryant, 1990). Literature was presented that suggested the need for further research. Four research questions were examined. First, can prereaders learn to read unfamiliar words on the basis of orthographic analogy after brief training with rhyming words? The evidence supported the view that they could. Second, will the ability to read words by orthographic analogy be enhanced by phonological training in onset and rime, and by the use of segmented text? The brief phonological training did not increase analogy word reading over the same training without it. However, using text segmented at the onset-rime boundary for training items did increase analogy word reading. Third, will reading by orthographic analogy vary according to the level of prereading skills (rhyming ability, phoneme identity, letter-sound knowledge)? The majority of children with high prereading skills learned to read analogy test words whereas most children with low prereading skills found the task too arduous. Fourth, will rhyming ability make an independent contribution to reading achievement? The results were equivocal. Rhyming ability did make an independent contribution to the number of trials taken to learn the training items. It did not when analogy word reading was the dependent variable. Phoneme identity accounted for most of the variance in analogy word reading. Further analyses found that the ability to identify the final phoneme was the best discriminator between children who learned to read analogy test words and those who did not. A possible explanation was that children used the final phoneme to determine the sound of the rime ending rather than the last two phonemes together.

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