Working memory and phonological awareness.

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dc.contributor.author Milwidsky, Carol
dc.date.accessioned 2009-01-07T09:10:28Z
dc.date.available 2009-01-07T09:10:28Z
dc.date.issued 2009-01-07T09:10:28Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/5923
dc.description.abstract Phonological awareness, and working memory, as a component of phonological awareness, have been found to be highly correlated, not only with the acquisition of reading skills, but also with each other. Existing data does not address this aspect of emergent literacy in South African children, for whom bilingualism may impact on their levels of phonological awareness, and possibly working memory. This research study was designed and conducted in an attempt to identify the relationship between these two skills in a sample of seventy-nine South African Grade 1 children (mean age 86 months). The sample consisted of two language groups, namely first-language English (EL1), an opaque orthography (n=42) and second-language English with first-language one of the nine official African languages of South Africa (EL2), a transparent orthography (n=37). The primary aim was to examine the relationship between phonological awareness (comprising a sound categorisation task, a phoneme deletion task, and a syllable splitting task) and working memory (comprising a verbal short-term memory task, a visuo-spatial short-term memory task, a verbal working memory task and a visuo-spatial working memory task). A measure of non-verbal intelligence was included as a control. Separate analyses were run for the two language groups in order to draw a comparison between their performance on the tasks. Results generally supported existing literature that showed that the relationship between working memory and phonological awareness appears to be dependent on the depth of analysis of phonological awareness, which determines the level of demand made on working memory, yet the relationship differed between the language groups, indicating that the EL2 children draw more on general or apparently unrelated skills to conduct working memory and phonological awareness tasks. A secondary aim of this study was to explore the predictive power of firstly, the four memory skills on phonological awareness; secondly, the sound categorisation skills on phoneme deletion and finally, non-verbal intelligence on working memory. Results again differed between the language groups, suggesting that a broader range of working memory skills predict performance on phonological awareness tasks in the EL2 group than in the EL1 group. The implications of these results are discussed in detail. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Working memory en
dc.subject Phonological awareness en
dc.title Working memory and phonological awareness. en
dc.type Thesis en


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