Does Phonemic Sensitivity impact on Comprehension?
Foluso O. Okebukola
Lagos State University, Ojo. Lagos — Nigeria

One of the earliest and most popular stage theories of reading development proposed that all words are initially recoded to sound with a later developmental shift to visual access and Comprehension. Empirical investigations of this phonological — to visual stage hypothesis however have been consistently inconsistent as other studies found evidence of direct visual access even in lower primary classes with no suggestion of hypothesized transition from a
phonological to a visual state. Yet others have reported evidence of early reliance on phonology together with a developmental shift toward direct visual access and comprehension. Thus, the notion that children must first pass through a point—to—sound rewarding stage is left unsolved by this body of evidence. The present study contributes to there solution of the conflict by accessing the contributions of phonemic sensitivity to comprehension. The quasi experiment with a sample of 96 emergent readers revealed significant differences in favour of the experimental group (t{94 : 3h.44: p<01). There was also significant difference in the achievement of male and female students (t{94 : 21144; p<01). Implications for early reading instruction are drawn.

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