Spanish Phonological Awareness: Dimensionality and Sequence of Development During the Preschool and Kindergarten Years

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Educational Psychology





Publication Date



his study describes the dimensionality and continuum of Spanish phonological awareness (PA) skills in 3- to 6-year-old children. A 3 × 4 factorial design crossed word structure of test items (word, syllable, phoneme) with task (blending multiple-choice, blending free-response, elision multiple-choice, elision free-response) to assess 12 PA skills. Over 1,200 Spanish speakers were assessed at 2 points in time. Confirmatory factor analyses found that a 2nd-order unifying ability along with 1st-order task factors well explained children's performances (comparative fit index = .96, Tucker–Lewis index = .96, root-mean-square error of approximation = .03). Confirmatory factor analysis also indicated that test items varied in difficulty and in how well they discriminated individual differences in latent PA. Item parameters were stable across item sets (rs = .75–.86) and time (rs = .60–1.00), and ability estimates were moderately stable across time (r = .64). Finally, test information curves were used to describe the continuum of PA skills. Children were able to first detect blending of sound information, then detect elision of sound information, then blend sounds together to form words, and finally delete sounds from words to form new words. Sequence of skill acquisition along the dimension of word structure was ambiguous. Implications for assessment, early intervention, and cross-linguistic theories of phonological awareness are discussed.


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