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Training in Phonological Awareness Generalizes to Phonological Working Memory: A Preliminary Investigation

Keywords: literacy , language disorder , intervention , preschool children.

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Abstract:

Early reading achievement relies on phonological awareness (PA) and phonological working memory (WM). Children with language impairment (LI) have problems with both. Three studies were conducted to determine whether treating PA would also improve phonological WM in preschoolers with LI. Study 1 confirmed that children with specific LI perform more poorly than age-matched peers on both PA and WM tasks. Study 2 showed that when children with and without LI are matched on a nonword WM task, differences between the groups on PA and on a word WM task are no longer statistically significant. In Study 3, sixteen preschool children with LI received intervention targeting PA skills and improved both their PA and WM abilities. These studies support the use of PA instruction to improvebasic phonological mechanisms underlying working memory.

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