Document Type



Exceptional Student Education

First Advisor's Name

Patricia M. Barbetta

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Elizabeth Cramer

Third Advisor's Name

Lynne Miller

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Maureen Kenny


phonemic awareness, phonological speech sound disorders, explicit instruction, emergent literacy, decoding, phonological processing, phonological awareness, reading and speech/language disorders, auditory processing, literacy instruction for preschoolers

Date of Defense



This study investigated the effects of an explicit individualized phonemic awareness intervention administered by a speech-language pathologist to 4 prekindergarten children with phonological speech sound disorders. Research has demonstrated that children with moderate-severe expressive phonological disorders are at-risk for poor literacy development because they often concurrently exhibit weaknesses in the development of phonological awareness skills (Rvachew, Ohberg, Grawburg, & Heyding, 2003). The research design chosen for this study was a single subject multiple probe design across subjects. After stable baseline measures, the participants received explicit instruction in each of the three phases separately and sequentially. Dependent measures included same-day tests for Phase I (Phoneme Identity), Phase II (Phoneme Blending), and Phase III (Phoneme Segmentation), and generalization and maintenance tests for all three phases. All 4 participants made substantial progress in all three phases. These skills were maintained during weekly and biweekly maintenance measures. Generalization measures indicated that the participants demonstrated some increases in their mean total number of correct responses in Phase II and Phase III baseline while the participants were in Phase I intervention, and more substantial increases in Phase III baseline while the participants were in Phase II intervention. Increased generalization from Phases II to III could likely be explained due to the response similarities in those two skills (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Based upon the findings of this study, speech-language pathologists should evaluate phonological awareness in the children in their caseloads prior to kindergarten entry, and should allocate time during speech therapy to enhance phonological awareness and letter knowledge to support the development of both skills concurrently. Also, classroom teachers should collaborate with speech-language pathologists to identify at-risk students in their classrooms and successfully implement evidence-based phonemic awareness instruction. Future research should repeat this study including larger groups of children, children with combined speech and language delays, children of different ages, and ESOL students





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