Phonemic Awareness Skill of Speech-Language Pathologists and Other Educators Purpose Educators rely on sufficient knowledge and skill to provide effective phonemic awareness instruction, an important component of early literacy instruction, particularly for children who experience difficulty learning to read. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the phonemic awareness skill of several groups of educators, including ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2008
Phonemic Awareness Skill of Speech-Language Pathologists and Other Educators
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth J. Spencer
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • C. Melanie Schuele
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Kathryn M. Guillot
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Marvin W. Lee
    Tennessee State University, Nashville
  • Contact author: C. Melanie Schuele, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232. E-mail: melanie.schuele@vanderbilt.edu.
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2008
Phonemic Awareness Skill of Speech-Language Pathologists and Other Educators
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2008, Vol. 39, 512-520. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/07-0080)
History: Received October 10, 2007 , Accepted March 22, 2008
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2008, Vol. 39, 512-520. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/07-0080)
History: Received October 10, 2007; Accepted March 22, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 16

Purpose Educators rely on sufficient knowledge and skill to provide effective phonemic awareness instruction, an important component of early literacy instruction, particularly for children who experience difficulty learning to read. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the phonemic awareness skill of several groups of educators, including speech-language pathologists (SLPs; n = 160), kindergarten teachers (n = 109), first-grade teachers (n = 112), reading teachers (n = 100), and special education teachers (n = 60).

Method Participants completed a paper–pencil measure of phonemic awareness skill that included 3 tasks. The measure was designed to assess sophisticated explicit phonemic awareness skill within a print context, representing an advanced skill level that has been deemed critical to teaching.

Results SLPs demonstrated superior performance on the measure of phonemic awareness skill when compared to other educators (d = 1.54). The performance of reading and special education teachers was comparable to that of kindergarten and first-grade teachers. Orthographic knowledge had an adverse impact on the performance of all groups. However, SLPs were far more proficient than other educators at segmenting words that had a complex relationship between speech and print (e.g., box, use).

Clinical Implications SLPs have relative expertise in phonemic awareness, yet their performance may not be proficient. Three recommendations are discussed: (a) Increase the phonemic awareness skill of all educators, (b) revise instructional materials to enhance educators' efforts to provide accurate and effective phonemic awareness instruction, and (c) include SLPs as members of the team responsible for phonemic awareness instruction and intervention.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Preliminary findings from this study were presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Schools Conference, Scottsdale, AZ, July 2006 and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention, Miami, FL, November 2007. We thank the many professionals who willingly completed our measure.
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