An Exploration of Levels of Phonological Awareness as Predictors of Word Reading in Korean Children Learning English
Fraser, Christine M.
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Until recently, the majority of research in the area of English phonological awareness has centered on segmental phonology as predictors of reading. Current research, however, has expanded the concept of phonological awareness to include prosodic sensitivity⎯the awareness of suprasegmental information. The present study explores the role of five segmental and suprasegmental levels of English phonological awareness as predictors of individual differences in word reading in Korean children learning English. 104 native Hangul speaking children in Grade 3 were assessed on English levels of stress, syllable, rime, simple phoneme, and consonant cluster awareness, as well as, English and Hangul word reading. Hierarchical regression models indicated that awareness of syllables, onset/rime units, and phonemes within consonant clusters were uniquely predictive of individual differences in L2 English word reading after accounting for cognitive ability, English background variables, and L1 word reading. Awareness of stress-timed patterns contributed to common variance in English and Hangul word reading, but was not uniquely predictive in final regression models. No level of phonological awareness was predictive of Hangul word reading. Results support the notion that segmental phonological elements not present in L1 may be predictive of individual differences in L2 word reading. Furthermore, cross-language transfer of PA may be weak in the direction of English (L2) to Hangul (L1).