Interesting research on phonological manipulation vs. segmentation tasks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by EdEd, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 20, 2012

    Just read a research review examining relevant research related to the best way of assessing phonological awareness, and it seems that research supports a few conclusions:

    1. Phonological awareness tests involving segmentation and blending tend to demonstrate higher validity in Kindergarten, but tend to offer less discriminative validity in 1st and 2nd grades.

    2. Manipulation tests (involving deletion, isolation, and/or reversal) tend to be more valid with 1st and 2nd graders, while segmentation and blending tasks seemed to offer little in terms of discriminative validity in those grades.

    3. Many CBM measures assessing phonological awareness discontinue inclusion of phonological awareness activities beyond first grade, though this may be because previously included tasks - such as segmentation - fail to offer discriminative validity as a ceiling is essentially reached in more basic phonological tasks by the end of first grade. However, research indicates that phonological awareness continues to develop beyond the first grade, and that a ceiling isn't observed with more complex tasks such as phoneme manipulation until the end of 2nd grade.

    This all makes sense if you think about it - manipulation is harder than segmentation and blending, so you'd expect a later ceiling, and less discriminative validity as a child advances with reading skills. Still, it seems that many teachers and other evaluators continue to inappropriately rely on segmentation and blending in first grade (and beyond), when manipulation would be a better choice. Part of the reason for over-reliance on segmentation and blending seems to be the tools teachers use, while another reason seems to be lack of awareness of the differential utility of the different types of tasks as children's reading skills develop.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Apr 20, 2012

    Makes sense.

    I wonder what research would say for students that didn't receive instruction and practice in these skills in the early years. What benefit would they have if they still struggle to read due to disabilities or inefficient instruction.

    My other question, did the research discuss underlying brain processes that impact the ability to peform these tasks. I'm thinking working memory must be sufficient in the manipluation tasks.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    In terms of your first thought, I'm not exactly sure what you mean - could you explain more?

    In terms of your other question, interestingly one study was mentioned in which working memory seemed to confound the categorization task, but not the manipulation task:

    Still, I would suspect that almost any cognitive task involving manipulation of different units of information is - on some level - confounded by working memory, as the ability to manipulate pieces of information simultaneously is one of the core constructs of working memory. So, I would guess that manipulation tasks would be able to more accurately describe whether a student lacked more advanced phonological awareness/processing skills, but not necessarily why (e.g., due to instructional deficits or underlying cognitive deficits).
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 20, 2012

    Also, the article I've been referencing is found in the current (March/April 2012) edition of the School Psychology Communique, written by David A. Kilpatrick, entitled:

    Not All Phonological Awareness Tests Are Created Equal: Considering the Practical Validity of Phonological Manipulation Versus Segmentation
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    EdEd---I had a fifth grade student who struggled with phonological awareness because he spent much of K-3 grade in the office for behavior, absent, or moving around. Specific instruction in phonological awareness, especially manipulation tasks, helped him to become a reader even in this later grade. This was coupled with a strong phonics program as well.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Those are interesting findings. My students work with phonological manipulation, blending, and segmentation almost daily. It's just part of our routine. Unfortunately, I have neither the time or materials to scientifically track their progress. I pretty much have to use the results of their phonics and reading materials (and anecdotal observations) to gauge progress.
     
  8. anky2930

    anky2930 Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2012

    phonological awareness, and it seems that research supports a few conclusions: Never hear about it???????????????
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Definitely cool that it's part of your daily routine - too bad your phonics assessment materials don't include a component for phonemic/phonological awareness - maybe some of these research results will prompt more developers to included them.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mopar, that's a good point you bring up - part of the study was that intervention/instruction related to phonological awareness is important until it's mastered, even in later grades. I've heard a lot of folks talk about not addressing deficits in this area if a child is older, and focus instead on compensatory skills, but this article reinforced that unaddressed phonological awareness/processing deficits can cause problems even with adult readers.
     
  11. strepsils

    strepsils Companion

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    As a year 4-5 teacher, I use a phonological awareness assessment screen on many students who appear to have difficulty with literacy or are not progressing as I would expect. It covers skills such as rhyming, segmenting, isolating, manipulating sounds as well as reading and writing nonsense words.

    It is amazing how many students who have poor literacy skills are lacking those basic skills that I would have assumed have been covered. Obviously, there is a reason why students missed - behaviour problems, hearing problems, absences, etc.

    By targeting those skills intensively students make good progress in literacy.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Ah, that's what I was getting at in my first question. Thanks, mopar and eded, for answering my question without intentionally doing so.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    They missed it in our elementary skills because they didn't focus on it!

    But I agree, other problems can interfere. How about the most simple one....a student just needed more time on task with this skill set for no other reason than some kids just take more repetitions. If a teacher moves on without continuing enough focus on this task and starts pushing using alternative methods to get the child to appear to be reading, then the child struggles to mesh both methods together. Class has moved on to context cues and the push is for the student to guess before decoding skills are solid enough, bad habits are developed and the student moves away from applying decoing and starts guessing. It may appear the student is making progress, but the breakdown will happen later and look like laziness or in teacher terms 'lack of effort' when they aren't successful reading the grade level material and they need those basic foundation skills to tackle the unknow words.
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I'm considering a move to a higher grade. Should I do so, I plan to use phonological manipulation as an "intervention" with struggling students in a small group setting. This discussion has given me more impetus and "research-based" back-up to do just that!
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Cool :)
     
  16. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Glad the discussion has helped!
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 23, 2012

    I don't understand your post...are you asking if the member who posted the quote you referenced understands PA or have you never heard of it?
     
  18. davekilpatrick

    davekilpatrick New Member

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    Phonological awareness information

    To respond to a couple of questions above:

    There is definitely a genetic, neuro-developmental aspect to phonological awareness development. But it's not all or nothing - it falls along a continuum of how good you are at it. About 70% of kids develop phonological awareness quite naturally, without any instruction or intervention. However, 30% do not, and these kids may struggle with this mildly, moderately, or severely.

    The environment plays a role too. So, parents and preschool teachers who do a lot of word play, including rhyming, alliteration, syllable segmentation, silly songs that focus the sounds of words rather than their meaning, etc. are going to promote early phonological awareness development. Research on prevention suggests that for many who are neuro-developmentally/genetically determined to be less efficient with this type of skill to a mild degree may get all they need to get up to speed based upon these early learning opportunities. However, even if parents and preschool teachers do all the right things for those children with a predisposition to severe phonological awareness difficulties, such children are destined to struggle unless good screening measures can flag these children so they can be provided with substantial intervention efforts in kindergarten and first grade.

    Also, it turns out, the most advanced form of phonological awareness, which is phonemic awareness, is not optional for efficient reading. If you do not have sufficient phonemic awareness (equivalent to the phonemic awareness skill level of a typically developing student in late second to early third grade), you very well may struggle in word level reading for the rest of your life. There is no statute of limitations on phonemic awareness training for those who lack this skill.

    So to the person who intends to do phonemic awareness training with older students with reading difficulties accompanied by phonemic awareness difficulties, I support you fully!
     
  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks so much for commenting on this post directly! Hopefully you'll stick around the forum and continue to contribute. I'm sure you'd be a valuable asset.
     
  20. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This makes me feel relieved. I have been doing phonemic awareness directly with my 6th grade special ed students and some people think I'm crazy. But I don't know what else to do. I was an early childhood teacher first, and everything my brain says to teach them has to do with this, phonics, sight words, and fluency passages. We do comprehension strategies too, but about half my class still needs that help with decoding.
     
  21. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    Jan 20, 2013

    Don't feel crazy. As a late twenty something woman, I was in the primary grades smack dab in the middle of the whole language movement. While I have always been an excellent reader, I did not receive much direct phonics instruction; I can sincerely notice the effect this has had on me as an adult.

    When I was student teaching, the school used Wilson Fundations for phonics instruction. I had NO IDEA what the teacher was teaching. It was completely foreign to me.

    I also notice that while I can read quite well, and my comprehension is good, I have trouble pronouncing unfamiliar words. I can tell you what a word means, but I have issues saying it out loud correctly if it is a word that I haven't heard often. Obviously this hasn't impacted my functioning in any way (I have my Masters +15), however, I'm quite embarrassed by it.

    I don't think that any literacy program should focus solely on phonics, however, I don't think that it should be neglected entirely either. I know that in 6th grade, I would have likely benefitted from some instruction.
     

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