A cohort of 92 children was followed through sixth grade to investigate the relationship of preschool skills and first grade phonological awareness to reading and spelling. In particular, the focus was on the changing roles of letter naming, orthographic awareness, and phonological processing in prediction, as reading experience increased. Preschool letter naming was a consistently significant predictor of reading vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling at each grade level, but the preschool orthographic task contributed most to reading comprehension and spelling at the higher grades. Conversely, the contribution of the first grade phonemic awareness measures to reading skills dropped sharply after third grade, although they continued to contribute to spelling prediction. When preschool precursors of phonological processing were examined, letter naming was found to be a predictor of first and third grade phonemic awareness. Findings confirm the importance of letter naming as a predictor and of the role of phonemic awareness in early reading acquisition, but also highlight the contribution of orthographic processing skills to later reading.

Tagged as: letter naming and orthographic processing

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