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Phonemic awareness meta-analysis (Rehfeld et al., 2022)

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posted on 12.07.2022, 22:15 authored by David M. Rehfeld, Marie Kirkpatrick, Nicole O’Guinn, Rachel Renbarger

Purpose: The present meta-analysis sought to investigate the effects of phonemic awareness instruction provided to children suspected of having a reading disability.

Method: Seven databases were systematically searched, and 1,643 unique manuscripts were reviewed for inclusion. Data were extracted from 138 included manuscripts to evaluate the use of phonemic awareness instructions with children suspected of having a reading disability. A random effects model was then used to conduct a meta-analysis of these data with regard to child outcomes.

Results: Gains in this population associated with phonemic awareness instructions can vary as a function of the outcome being used. On average, phonemic awareness instruction had a medium effect on composite (g = 0.511) and segmentation (g = 0.571) outcomes and a small effect on outcomes measuring blending (g = 0.341), first sound identification (g = 0.428), and deletion (g = 0.248). Instruction effects were strongest in kindergarten and first grade, but positive outcomes were also found for older children. There was not a significant relationship between cumulative instruction intensity and child performance.

Conclusions: The present meta-analysis confirms that phonemic awareness instruction can be effective with children of varying ages and that significant gains can be observed on the key outcome measures of segmentation and blending. Graphemes should be incorporated into phonemic awareness instructions, and future studies need to provide information on dosage beyond just the length and frequency of sessions to clarify which aspects of these instructions are most efficient.


Supplemental Material S1. Studies included for review.


Supplemental Material S2. Summary of overall study quality.


Rehfeld, D. M., Kirkpatrick, M., O'Guinn, N., & Renbarger, R. (2022). A meta-analysis of phonemic awareness instruction provided to children suspected of having a reading disability. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_LSHSS-21-00160


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