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By Lynette Bradley

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Three of the words had a sound in common which the fourth did not share. The child had to say which was the odd word out. There were three series, each with six trials, 18 trials in all. In the first series, all four words always had the same middle phoneme but the last two phonemes were the same in three words while the odd word had a different final phoneme, for example: weed peel need deed. Another series was the same except that the middle phoneme was different in the odd word. Thus the experimenter would say: red fed nod bed, and the child would have to say that the odd word out was 'nod'.

No child who could read at all was included in the study. Yet on average these five-year olds were correct in 7 out of 10 trials in the rhyming conditions. Their scores on alliteration were lower at age 5. The children had just started school and were not yet so sensitive to the first sound condition. ) 35 Three years after the first sound categorisation tests at age 5, when the children were eight- to nine-years old, we gave them all standardised tests of reading and spelling. The results clearly show that children skilled at categorising sounds when they come to school do better at reading and spelling three years later, regardless of intelligence.

This is not surprising, for until they can remember the patterns for all the words they wish to write they must develop a strategy for coding them which uses the alphabet. for backward readers. Undoubtedly one of the underlying factors for success in both reading and spelling will be the development of this ability to organise and categorise sounds. Recognition of this factor has important implications for teaching. 31 Summary Although vision is our primary and obvious medium for reading, we must not forget that we are scanning the written representation of spoken language.

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