Volume 35, Issue 3 (2006)
The Structure of Phonological Awareness Among Kindergarten Students
Timothy J. Runge, Marley W. Watkins
Abstract. Phonological awareness, an understanding that spoken language is comprised of individual sounds, is an important construct that has implications for educational assessment and intervention. Unfortunately, the relationship between phonological awareness and its many operationalizations is ambiguous, resulting in both theoretical and practical difficulties. The present study clarified this situation by factor analyzing 23 preliteracy tests among a sample of 161 kindergarten students to determine the dimensionality of phonological awareness. Exploratory factor analysis with promax rotation revealed that phonological awareness is best understood as a two-dimensional construct among these students. the first dimension was defined by sound categorization, blending, segmenting, and manipulation tasks. This factor thus taps identification and manipulation of phonemes. The second factor was loaded by rhyming tasks. It is therefore the ability to recognize and create rhyming words. Letter knowledge and rapid serial naming emerged as factors separate from phonological awareness.
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