The purpose of this study was to examine the development of phonological awareness (PA) skills among Hebrew-speaking kindergarten children. Specifically, the study examines the effects of cognitive, early literacy, and language skills to PA among Hebrew-speaking children at the middle (Early K) and end (End K) of kindergarten, and the contribution of various literacy and cognitive skills measured from the early kindergarten stage to the subsequent development of PA. Participants were 41 native Hebrew-speaking children (28 boys), ages 5–6, who were recruited from two kindergarten classrooms. A battery of cognitive, early literacy, and language measures was administered and ten PA skills were examined extensively. The results demonstrated the rapid growth of PA skills from Early K to End K. The participants were significantly better at manipulations at the syllable level, as compared to phonemes or consonants. Furthermore, deletion of a final consonant was found to be easier for them than deletion of an initial consonant. This finding emphasizes the body-coda segmentation tendency, which characterizes the Hebrew language structure. Strong-moderate positive correlations were found between PA and both letter naming and executive functioning at Early K. A strong correlation between letter naming and PA was found at End K. Regression analyses demonstrated that letter naming and executive functioning at Early K were the most significant predictors of PA at Early K, and that letter naming was the most significant predictor at End K. These findings highlight both universal and language-specific features of phonological awareness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Bernovsky Foundation provided the financial scholarship to partially support this study.
© 2019 Wasserstein and Lipka.
- Early literacy
- Phonological awareness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (all)