A study of kindergarten students' phonological awareness development as measured by their writing
This study examined the phonological awareness development of individual kindergarten students over a 12 week period as measured by their writing. Some ways in which phonological awareness is developed in authentic kindergarten classroom settings were also discovered.
Individual kindergarten students' test performances using Clay's (1993) Letter Identification, Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words, and Writing vocabulary tasks and individual kindergarten students' classroom writing samples were used to assess changes across time during this study. Classroom practices that help develop phonological awareness were identified through teacher and principal interviews, teacher conversations, and kindergarten classroom observations. No instructional interventions resulted because of this study; the researcher only observed what already was taking place in these classrooms.
Two teachers' morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) kindergarten classes from two elementary campuses in one north central Texas public school district participated. The AM and PM participants from the classes of one teacher were identified as Group 1 (n = 20), and the AM and PM participants from the classes of the other teacher were identified as Group 2 ( n = 18).
Statistical analysis revealed a significant increase in the mean scores in all tasks with each test period for both Groups 1 and 2. Analysis of students' classroom writing samples at 4-week intervals revealed an increase in phonological awareness knowledge throughout the study. The classroom practices of Group 1 and Group 2 teachers revealed that each teacher provided many opportunities for phonological awareness development in authentic kinds of social interactions within the classroom. Both teachers worked in the students' zones of proximal development scaffolding learning and encouraging writing development.
This study supports that students' writing can be used as a window into phonological awareness knowledge. Additionally, through writing using invented spelling, kindergarten students can develop phonological awareness skills.