Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Sciences & Disorders


Phonological awareness is the ability to attend to and recognize the sound structure of a language. This skill is known to be important for learning to spell and read and a lack of phonological awareness skills is linked with reading difficulties. Previous research has shown phonological awareness training improves phonological awareness skills, as well as certain aspects of reading (such as word decoding) and spelling (spelling phonetically consistent words). The research is inconclusive as to whether phonological awareness training improves broad-based reading and spelling skills. This may be due to the method of instruction. Systematic (explicit) phonological awareness training has been largely studied, while non-systematic (embedded) methods have not. Additionally, phonological awareness training has traditionally been delivered individually or to small groups; there is little evidence in the literature regarding the efficacy of large group or classroom-based training. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a classroom-based embedded phonological awareness program on reading and spelling abilities in kindergarten children. The study aimed to determine the effects of this type of phonological awareness training on broader aspects of reading and spelling. The embedded phonological awareness program was delivered within the regular classroom setting for an academic year. Three kindergarten classrooms received the intervention twice weekly and three classrooms served as the controls. Phonological awareness and spelling skills were measured pre- and post-intervention. Broad-based reading abilities (letter identification, concepts about print, word decoding, writing vocabulary, recording sounds in words, and text level reading) were all measured at the end of the kindergarten year. The results indicated that students who were exposed to a classroom-based phonological awareness program taught within the context of reading displayed greater phonological awareness abilities, spelling abilities and broad-based reading abilities than students who did not receive the instruction.