Two spelling programmes that promote understanding of the alphabetic principle in preschool children

Martins, Margarida Alves&; Silva, Cristina
November 2009
Journal of Writing Research;2009, Vol. 1 Issue 3, p225
Academic Journal
Our aim in this study was to test two programmes designed to lead preschool children to use conventional letters to spell the initial consonants of words. These programmes differed in terms of the characteristics of the vowels that followed those consonants. The participants were 45 five-year-old Portuguese children whose spelling was pre-syllabic - they used strings of random letters in their spelling, making no attempt to match the oral to the written language. They were divided into two experimental and a control group. Their age, level of intelligence, and phonological awareness were controlled. Their spelling was assessed in a pre- and a post-test. Inbetween, children from the experimental groups participated in two programmes where they had to think about the relationships between the initial consonant and the corresponding phoneme in different words: In Experimental Group 1, the initial consonants were followed by an open vowel, and in Experimental Group 2, these same consonants were followed by a closed vowel. The control group classified geometric shapes. Experimental Group 1 achieved better results than Experimental Group 2 following open vowels, being more able to generalize the phonological procedures to sounds that were not taught during the programmes. Both experimental groups used conventional letters to represent several phonemes in the post-test whereas the control group continued to produce pre-syllabic spellings.


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