The competencies underlying metaphonological processing in pre-literate children.
Dean, Elizabeth C.
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Dean, E., Howell, J. & Alder, B. (1998) The competencies underlying metaphonological processing in pre-literate children., Dyslexia, vol. 4, , pp. 181-196,
The ability to reflect on the speech sound system of language, phonological awareness, has been shown to influence the acquisition of literacy. Previously published evidence of the nature of the linguistic and cognitive competencies underlying phonological awareness has involved primarily study of children older than 6 years. Within the United Kingdom, children enter school aged between 4 years 6 months and 5 years. There is therefore a need to investigate the variables which influence the emergence of metaphonological processing in this population of pre-school, pre-literate children. The current study involved 41 monolingual pre-literate children aged within a month of their fifth birthday. An exploratory regression analysis indicated that the most significant predictors of the metaphonological skills of 5-year-old children were phonological memory, speech output processing and non-verbal cognitive skills. The results provided additional evidence that different children employed different combinations of processing competencies in order to perform metaphonological tasks. The findings of this study have implications for the content of programmes designed to facilitate phonological awareness in pre-school children.