Effects of phonological and morphological awareness on children's word reading development from two socioeconomic backgrounds

Rachel Schiff, Einav Lotem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined variations in reading acquisition according to socioeconomic background. Word reading speed and accuracy, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness were assessed among 199 native Hebrew-speaking children from high and low SES in the second, fourth, and sixth grades. The study further investigated the possible mediating role of phonological and morphological awareness in predicting reading of vowelized vs. unvowelized Hebrew scripts. Results indicated that despite an overall pattern of development in word reading found for both high SES and low SES children, the development was slower among children of low SES. A discrepancy emerged between children of high and low SES regarding levels of phonological and morphological awareness; this discrepancy increased with grade. Moreover, differences in reading ability showed a comparatively small increase with grade when controlling for phonological and morphological awareness, indicating that SES affected reading indirectly through its impact on the phonological and morphological precursors to reading. Thus, the present findings asserted that children from low SES families enter school with weak phonological and morphological awareness skills, which have cascading consequences on the development of reading skills in general, and the speed of reading scripts in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-163
Number of pages25
JournalFirst Language
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Keywords

  • SES
  • morphological awareness
  • phonological awareness
  • reading

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