chapter  40
14 Pages

The Effectiveness of Synthetic Phonics Teaching in Developing Reading and Spelling Skills in English-Speaking Boys and Girls

ByRhona S. Johnston, Joyce E. Watson

For many years, research has been carried out to examine what skills are associated with learning to read in order to gain insights into how to accelerate literacy attainment. We know that measures of preschool phonological awareness ability correlate with later reading skill (Bradley & Bryant, 1983; Lundberg, Olofsson, & Wall, 1980; Share, Jorm, Maclean, & Matthews, 1984; Stanovich, Cunningham, & Cramer, 1984, Stuart & Coltheart, 1988). However, phonological awareness includes both rhyme and phoneme awareness; we know that pre-readers have limited ability to detect phonemes in spoken words, this being a skill that develops largely through learning to read in an alphabetic language (e.g., Morais, Bertelson, Cary, & Alegria, 1986; Morais, Cary, Alegria, & Bertelson, 1979). One skill that pre-readers are rather better at, however, is awareness of rhyme (Goswami & Bryant, 1990). It has been proposed that children will make better progress in learning to read if their phonological awareness skills, especially rhyme skills, are well developed before they start a reading programme (Fraser, 1997; Goswami, 1999; Maclean, Bryant, & Bradley, 1987).