Follow-up study investigating the benefits of phonological awareness intervention for children with spoken language impairment

Authors

  • Gail T. Gillon

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Speech and Language Therapy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
      Department of Speech and Language Therapy, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800 Christchurch, New Zealand, g.gillon@spth.canterbury.ac.nz
    Search for more papers by this author

Department of Speech and Language Therapy, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800 Christchurch, New Zealand, g.gillon@spth.canterbury.ac.nz

Abstract

The efficacy of phonological awareness intervention for children at risk for reading disorder has received increasing attention in the literature. This paper reports the follow-up data for participants in the Gillon (2000a) intervention study. The performance of twenty, 5−7-year-old New Zealand children with spoken language impairment, who received phonological awareness intervention, was compared with the progress made by 20 children from a control group and 20 children with typical language development approximately 11 months post-intervention. The children with spoken language impairment all had expressive phonological difficulties and demonstrated delay in early reading development. Treatment effects on strengthening phoneme-grapheme connections in spelling development were also investigated. The results suggested that structured phonological awareness intervention led to sustained growth in phoneme awareness and word-recognition performance. At the follow-up assessment, the majority of the children who received intervention were reading at, or above, the level expected for their age on a measure of word recognition. The phonological awareness intervention also significantly strengthened phoneme-grapheme connections in spelling as evidenced by improved non-word spelling ability. In contrast, the control group of children with spoken language impairment who did not receive phonological awareness intervention showed remarkably little improvement in phoneme awareness over time and the majority remained poor readers. The results highlight the important role speech-language therapists can play in enhancing the early reading and spelling development of children with spoken language impairment.

Ancillary