Phonological Awareness Test

Phonological awareness is a skill related to the tasks of recognizing, separating, manipulating the sounds that make up the word, and noticing words made up of common sounds. Phonological awareness skills develop in every language in a similar and predictable way. Children first become aware of large sound units and gradually become sensitive to smaller sound units; that is, there is a development of awareness from words to syllables and from syllables to sounds. Likewise, children learn to distinguish between similar and different sounds before they learn to manipulate sounds.

The difficulty levels of phonological awareness tasks are different from each other. It’s easy to tell if two words rhyme, but it’s more difficult to find another that rhymes with a given word. Similarly, the task of finding which word differs from the others is more difficult than finding which two words begin with the same sound.

Phonological awareness skills play a role as a determinant of reading difficulties. Studies show that the phonological awareness skill in the preschool period is the predictor that has the greatest effect on the success of reading and writing in the school period and academic life.

However, at the same time, literacy teaching is also effective in the development of phonological awareness skills. While some of the phonological awareness skills are skills that facilitate literacy, some of them are skills acquired after literacy skills. In other words, literacy skills and phonological awareness skills are situations that affect each other bilaterally.

Considering these effects of phonological awareness skills and level supported by research; It can be said that determining the phonological awareness levels of individuals and intervening in the clinical setting for the individuals in need will significantly affect both the academic and psycho-social lives of the individuals.

The lack of a standard test applied in our country to determine the phonological awareness levels of individuals causes a significant deficiency in both clinical and field studies. The aim of this pilot study is to take the first step to develop a standard test that will measure individuals’ phonological awareness skills.

For this purpose, a phonological awareness test (FFT) consisting of 18 subtests in total was developed. These subtests are:

At the word level

  • word counting

  • word throwing

  • Word fusion

  • word separation

rhyme level

  • rhyme discrimination

  • rhyme generation

syllable level

  • syllable counting

  • syllable fusion

  • syllable division

  • syllable deletion

at phoneme level

  • Phoneme discrimination

  • Finding the leading phoneme

  • Finding the trailing phoneme

  • phoneme fusion

  • phoneme division

  • phoneme deletion

  • Add a phoneme

  • phoneme displacement

The pilot study was conducted with a total of 40 (20 girls-20 boys) participants aged 5-7 years. Participants who did not have any predetermined neurological, psychological or structural problems were included in the study on a voluntary basis by the classroom and kindergarten teachers. Cases with speech and language disorders or who had previous therapy for speech and language were not included in the study. The data for the pilot study were collected from Köyceğiz district of Muğla province.

Results:

According to the results obtained as a result of the analyzes on phonological awareness skills at the word level;

When age groups were compared in the areas of word counting, throwing, fusing and separation, it was observed that these skills developed in direct proportion to age. In all areas, the 7-year-old group performed better than the other age groups. While the participants in the 5-year-old group performed the lowest in the word throwing area; they show the best performance in word fusion skill. Participants in the 6-year-old group show the lowest performance in word throwing and word counting skills, with a very small difference being better in word counting. It is also observed that this age group performs significantly better than other skills, especially in the field of word integration. This also applies to participants in the 5-year-old age group. Participants in the 7-year-old group performed equally well in word integration and separation skills. While the participants in the 7-year-old group showed the lowest performance in word counting skills, the participants in the 5-year-old and 6-year-old groups showed the lowest performance in word throwing.

According to the results obtained as a result of the analyzes on phonological awareness skills at the syllable level:

The 7 age group performed similarly in phonological awareness skills (syllable counting, syllable deletion, syllable fusion and syllable splitting) at the syllable level. While syllable fusion and division skills showed the highest performance at the same level; This age group showed the lowest performance in syllable counting skills. While this situation is also valid for the participants in the 6-year-old group, the participants in the 5-year-old group showed the lowest performance in syllable deletion. While the skill in which the 5-year-old group performs best is syllable splitting with a small margin, the skill that the 6-year-old group performs the most is syllable fusion. When we look at the phonological awareness skills at the syllable level, it is another result that the phonological awareness skill in this area develops in direct proportion to the age, just like the phonological awareness skill at the word level.

According to the results obtained as a result of the analyzes on phonological awareness skills at the phoneme level;

  • Phoneme discrimination

  • Finding the leading phoneme

  • Finding the trailing phoneme

  • phoneme fusion

  • phoneme division

  • phoneme deletion

  • Add a phoneme

  • phoneme displacement

The skill in which the 7-year-old group exhibits the highest performance in their field is the ability to find the initial phoneme, with a small difference. This skill is followed by the ability to find the final phoneme. The 7-year-old group shows the lowest performance at the phoneme level in the ability to separate phonemes. While individuals in the age group of 6 perform close to each other in phonological awareness skills at the phoneme level, finding the highest performance in the first phoneme; they showed the lowest performance in the phoneme displacement skill. Individuals in the 5-year-old group, on the other hand, show the highest performance in the ability to find the initial phoneme at a significant level, while they show the lowest performance in the phoneme replacement skill, as in the 6-year-old group. Compared to phonological awareness skills at syllable and word level, it is one of the striking results that phoneme-level phonological awareness skills increase at a higher rate with age. In particular, individuals in the 5-year-old group perform significantly lower than other age groups in phonological awareness skills at the phoneme level.

According to the results obtained as a result of the analyzes on phonological awareness skills at the rhyme level;

Individuals in the 7-year-old group performed higher in rhyme discrimination skill than in rhyme production skill. This situation was observed in the same way in the performances of individuals in the 6 and 5 age groups. While individuals in the 6 and 5 age groups performed in the same way in rhyme generation skill, individuals in the 6 age group performed significantly higher than the individuals in the 5 age group in rhyme generation skill. When the results are examined in general, it is observed that phonological awareness skills at the rhyme level develop in direct proportion to age, as are other skills.

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