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Parent -delivered instruction in phoneme identification: Effects on phonemic awareness and letter knowledge of preschool-aged children

Anne Geraldine O'Brien, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The effects of parent-delivered instruction on children's phonemic awareness were investigated. Participants were thirty-eight parents and their pre-school children. The purpose of this study was to: (1) investigate whether parents could successfully teach phoneme identification skills to preschool children; (2) assess whether the effects of parent-delivered instruction on phonemic awareness and the alphabetic principle could be independent of pretest letter knowledge, child vocabulary and cognitive ability, and SES; (3) determine whether training would generalize to recognition of untrained phonemes; and (4) assess parent satisfaction with the training and instructional program. Children were matched based on vocabulary scores. This measure was also a proxy for SES (Hart & Risley, 1995). Children were then randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups. In addition, pretest letter knowledge was assessed using experimental measures designed by Byrne and Fielding-Barnsley (1991). Parents taught their child to identify initial and ending phonemes and letter-sounds based on the early literacy program Sound Foundations (Byrne & Fielding-Barnsley, 1991), with lesson scripts based on explicit, direct instruction techniques (Kameenui & Carnine,1998; Swanson, Hoskyn & Lee, 1999). The duration of the program was 7 weeks. Children were required to find poster pictures that began or ended with the target sound and to color pictures with the target sound. Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) (Good & Kaminski, 2002) were used to measure Initial Sound Fluency and Letter Naming Fluency. Experimental measures of ending sound fluency, initial phoneme transfer and ending phoneme transfer were also used to measure outcomes. A survey was used to obtain social validity data regarding parent satisfaction with the program. Results indicated that: (a) there was a large, albeit insignificant effect for parent training on children's initial sound fluency (d = 1.1, p < .006); (b) parent training was not predictive of letter naming fluency (p =.07); (c) there were no significant differences on measures of phoneme transfer; and (d) pretest letter knowledge was predictive of outcomes on letter naming fluency (p < .01). Parents reported a high degree of satisfaction with training. The discussion focuses on future research on early literacy instruction and parent-delivered instruction.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Preschool education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

O'Brien, Anne Geraldine, "Parent -delivered instruction in phoneme identification: Effects on phonemic awareness and letter knowledge of preschool-aged children" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3212746.