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ACM Ref: ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION
Recent research in literacy acquisition has generated detailed programs for teaching phonological awareness. The current paper will address three issues that follow from this research. Firstly, much of the past research has been conducted under conditions that are divorced from the classroom. As a result, it is not known whether the suggested teaching strategies will lead to an increase in children’s attainments when integrated into a broad reading curriculum implemented by teachers in mainstream classrooms. Secondly, these phonological interventions have been designed either to prevent the occurrence of reading difficulties or to meet the needs of failing readers. Therefore, it is not known whether the same methods would advantage all children. Thirdly, teaching children to read takes a minimum of two to three academic years. We herefore need to develop a reading curriculum that can provide the progression and differentiation to meet a wide range of needs over several academic years. We report two studies that have addressed these issues through monitoring the impact of a reading curriculum, implemented by teachers, which integrated children’s acquisition of phonological skills with broader aspects of teaching reading over three academic years. The attainments of children at all levels of ability in the experimental group were raised relative to controls, and importantly, these gains were maintained after the intervention was withdrawn. These results demonstrate that phonological awareness training can be successfully integrated into real classroom contexts and that the same methods raised the attainments of normally developing children, as well as those at risk of reading failure.
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