Virginia W. Berninger1 , Robert D. Abbott1, William Nagy2 and Joanne Carlisle3
University of Washington, 322 Miller, Box 353600, Seattle, WA 98195-3600, USA
Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, USA
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Published online: 14 October 2009
Growth curve analyses showed that (a) word-level phonological and orthographic awareness show greatest growth during the primary grades but some additional growth thereafter, and (b) three kinds of morphological awareness show greatest growth in the first three or four grades but one—derivation—continues to show substantial growth after fourth grade. Implications of the findings for the role of three kinds of linguistic awareness—phonological, orthographic, and morphological—in learning to read and spell words are discussed. A case is made that phonological awareness, while necessary, is not sufficient for learning to read English—all three kinds of linguistic awareness that are growing during the primary grades need to be coordinated and applied to literacy learning. This finding and a review of the research on linguistic awareness support the conclusion that the recommendations of the National Reading Panel need to be amended so that the research evidence supporting the importance of both orthographic and morphological awareness, and not only phonological awareness, is acknowledged. Moreover, evidence-based strategies for teaching each of these kinds of linguistic awareness and their interrelationships need to be disseminated to educational practitioners.
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