This study examined whether web-based phonological awareness (PA) assessment in early childhood, specifically the year preceding formal schooling, could help educators reliably predict children's risk for reading difficulties in the first year of school. Ninety Australian children participated in several web-based PA tasks with a high priority focus on phoneme-level knowledge at 4- and 4.5 years of age. Real and non-real-word reading ability were examined at age 5. Measures of internal consistency using Cronbach's alpha were above.7 for all PA tasks, while test-retest reliability correlations were significant (p <.001). Regression analyses indicated that web-based PA measures at 4.5 years of age, alongside preschool-entry language ability, accounted for 79.52% and 74.08% of the variance in 5-year-old real-word and non-real-word decoding ability. Web-based PA assessment focused on phoneme-level skills may be a reliable and valid method of identifying risk for reading difficulties in the year preceding school entry.
- 3 to 5 years
- word discrimination/recognition/retrieval