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The goal of the current study was to explore the developmental relations of phonological processing skills (phonological awareness, phonological memory, and phonological access to lexical storage) by utilizing a longitudinal sample that covers the important period of emergent literacy. 260 preschool children participated in a three year study of literacy skills that included yearly assessment of phonological awareness, phonological memory, and lexical access tasks. Confirmatory factor analyses was utilized to examine the structural relation of the three phonological processes at three longitudinal time points and latent growth analyses was utilized to investigate growth in the phonological processing skills and how the patterns of growth relate to one another over time. The results of the confirmatory factor analyses indicated that phonological processing skills can best be described as separate by correlated abilities, with phonological awareness and phonological memory being particularly highly correlated during the preschool years. Results for the latent growth analyses indicated that children's initial amounts of knowledge in each of the constructs were found to be significantly positively related to one another. For example, children who have high initial levels of phonological awareness also have high initial levels of phonological memory. Initial levels of phonological awareness were negatively related to rate of growth in phonological awareness and phonological memory. A negative relation was also found between initial levels of phonological memory and initial levels of lexical access with growth in phonological awareness. Additionally, there was a significant positive relation between growth in phonological awareness and growth in phonological memory. Furthermore, relations between lexical access and the other skills were weaker, with only the intercept-intercept relations and the covariance between initial level of lexical access and growth in phonological awareness being significant.
Phonological processing, Emergent literacy, Reading, Preschool children
Date of Defense
January 11, 2010.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Richard K. Wagner, Professor Directing Thesis; Christopher J. Lonigan, Committee Member; Jon Maner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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