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Phonemic awareness training necessary? Response to Krashen

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This study investigated the effect of phonemic awareness training on the phonemic awareness and reading ability of low- and middle-achieving first-grade readers (N=19). Random assignment was made to one control group and three experimental: phonemic skill training only (“skill and drill”), phonemic skill training plus decoding (“semi-conceptual”), and phonemic skill training plus decoding and reading (“conceptual”). Outcome measures included tests of segmentation, deletion, deletion and substitution, and both standardized and informal tests of reading. Results indicated no significant differences among the experimental and control groups on measures of phonemic awareness (segmentation excepted) or reading. Findings also revealed that training that provided subjects with a conceptual connection between phonemic skills and reading was generally ineffective for low readers. These results suggest that phonemic awareness training for low- and middle-achieving beginning readers may not be unequivocally beneficial.
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