Morphological Awareness Skills of Fourth-Grade African American Students Purpose We examined the morphological awareness skills of fourth-grade African American children and the association between degree of African American English (AAE) use and performance on written measures of morphological awareness. Additional purposes were to determine whether performance on the morphological awareness tasks (a) was affected by the transparency of ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   July 01, 2009
Morphological Awareness Skills of Fourth-Grade African American Students
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kenn Apel
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Shurita Thomas-Tate
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Contact author: Kenn Apel, Florida State University, 127 Honors Way, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1200. E-mail: kapel@cci.fsu.edu.
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Normal Language Processing / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   July 01, 2009
Morphological Awareness Skills of Fourth-Grade African American Students
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2009, Vol. 40, 312-324. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0015)
History: Received March 5, 2008 , Revised September 23, 2008 , Accepted November 3, 2008
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2009, Vol. 40, 312-324. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0015)
History: Received March 5, 2008; Revised September 23, 2008; Accepted November 3, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

Purpose We examined the morphological awareness skills of fourth-grade African American children and the association between degree of African American English (AAE) use and performance on written measures of morphological awareness. Additional purposes were to determine whether performance on the morphological awareness tasks (a) was affected by the transparency of morphologically related words and the type of task administered, (b) was associated with other literacy and literacy-related skills, and (c) explained unique variance on these latter abilities.

Method Thirty fourth-grade African American children from low-income backgrounds were administered 2 morphological awareness tasks and completed norm-referenced measures of word-level reading, reading comprehension, spelling, phonemic awareness, and receptive vocabulary.

Results The degree of AAE use was not associated with students' performance on the morphological awareness tasks. On these tasks, significantly higher scores were obtained on items that represented a transparent relationship between a base word and its derived form. The students' performance on the morphological awareness tasks was significantly and moderately related to their performance on the word-level reading, spelling, and receptive vocabulary measures. Morphological awareness scores explained significant unique variance on measures of word-level reading and spelling, above that predicted by performance on measures of phonemic awareness and vocabulary.

Conclusion As shown in previous investigations of Caucasian children’s morphological awareness skills, fourth-grade African American students' morphological awareness abilities are associated with select language and literacy skills. Professionals should capitalize on students' intact capabilities in morphological awareness during literacy instruction in an effort to maximize language and literacy performance for African American students.

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