• topic;
  • struggling;
  • intervention;
  • assessment;
  • decoding;
  • morphemic;
  • polysyllabic;
  • structure;
  • methodology;
  • mixed;
  • evidence;
  • ethnography;
  • phonics;
  • onsets;
  • phonograms;
  • explicit;
  • systematic;
  • theoretical;
  • developmental;
  • learner;
  • early childhood;
  • type;
  • article


This study investigated the order of acquisition of phonological sensitivity skills among preschool and kindergarten children. Phonological sensitivity was examined in terms of four levels of linguistic complexity (words, syllables, onsets and rimes, phonemes) across four levels of task complexity (blending detection, elision detection, blending, and elision). Participants were 947 two- to five-year-old children from diverse backgrounds. Hierarchical loglinear analyses evidenced a quasi-parallel pattern of development that corresponded to a hierarchical model of word structure and a working memory model of task complexity. Findings support a developmental conceptualization of phonological sensitivity. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for improving assessment, early literacy instruction, and prevention of reading difficulties.