The role of phonological awareness in treatments of dyslexic primary school children
Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis
The present study investigated whether phonological awareness training is an effective intervention to significantly improve reading in German dyslexic third and fourth graders with a phonological awareness deficit, and whether these children can equally benefit from a phonology-based reading training or a visually-based reading training. German speaking dyslexic elementary school children (n=30; M=9.8 years) were matched by forming triplets based on IQ, reading quotient and phonological
... phonological awareness and then randomly assigned to one out of three interventions (n=10): a phonological awareness training, a phonology-based reading training (phonics instruction), and a visually-based reading training (repeated reading of sight words). A total of 20 training sessions (30 minutes each) were distributed over four weeks. Typical readers (n=10; M=9.5 years) were assigned to the control group. Phonological awareness training directly improves reading comprehension in German dyslexic children with a phonological awareness deficit. However, these children can equally benefit from a visually-based reading training. In contrast, the phonology-based reading training has a direct selective effect on decoding but not on reading comprehension. Despite divergent short-term patterns, long-term improvement of reading comprehension and decoding is similar across all training groups, irrespective of the training method. Phonological awareness may but does not need to be part of reading remediation in dyslexic children with a phonological deficit when learning to read a consistent orthography. Rather, a visually-based reading strategy might compensate for the phonological deficit in dyslexic children after the initial stage of reading acquisition.