Purpose: Despite strong investment in raising literacy achievement for all children, significant inequalities in literacy outcomes continue to exist among some of the world's most advanced economies. This study investigated the influence of a short, intensive period of phonological awareness (PA) instruction implemented by classroom teachers on raising the literacy achievement of children with and without spoken language impairment (SLI). Method: A quasi-experimental design was employed to measure the PA, reading, and spelling development of one hundred twenty-nine 5-year-olds. Thirty-four children received 10 weeks of PA instruction from their teachers. Ninety-five children continued with their usual reading program, which included phonics instruction but did not target PA. Results: Children who received PA instruction demonstrated superior literacy outcomes compared to children who followed the usual literacy curriculum. Children with SLI showed significant improvements in PA, reading, and spelling but had a different pattern of response to instruction compared to children with typical language. Importantly, the number of children experiencing word decoding difficulties at the end of the program was 26% among children who followed the usual literacy curriculum compared to 6% among children who received the PA instruction. Implications: A short, intensive period of classroom PA instruction can raise the literacy profiles of children with and without spoken language difficulties.
- Classroom literacy instruction
- Duration and intensity of instruction
- Phonological awareness
- Reading and spelling instruction