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dc.contributor.advisorSchaughency, Libby
dc.contributor.authorDivers, Sarah Catherine
dc.identifier.citationDivers, S. C. (2011). Quality over Quantity: The Link between Specific Qualities of Parent Speech and Young Children’s Phonological Awareness (Thesis, Master of Science). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThe predictive link between phonological awareness (PA), the ability to identify and isolate sounds within speech, and later reading ability is well documented. With developing PA, children can map sounds onto individual letters and clusters of letters. PA develops during preschool; however, little research examines how PA is fostered. Theory and research suggest that (a) growing vocabulary knowledge contributes to PA development and (b) parents’ talk enhances children’s vocabulary, suggesting a possible path from parent talk to PA through vocabulary. A previous correlational study examined a direct link between one aspect of parent talk, their wordplay, and children’s PA, controlling for children’s vocabulary knowledge. A short lab-based parent-child interaction measured parents’ wordplay. Parents also rated home wordplay behaviours. Following the interaction, children’s vocabulary and PA were assessed. Although the parent wordplay questionnaire did not predict children’s PA, one specific aspect of parent talk, sound-related speech, significantly correlated with children’s PA. This correlation held when parent SES, parent education, child age, and child vocabulary were controlled, suggesting the correlation between parents’ speech and children’s PA may be direct. Because the parent-child interaction occurred prior to child assessment, the association between sound-related speech and child performance may be a function of experimental task order. The current study replicated and extended this research, by (a) introducing further measures of general cognitive, vocabulary, PA, and alphabetic skills, (b) conducting the parent-child observation in the home to increase ecological validity of the interaction, (c) using a daily checklist to increase sensitivity of assessment of home literacy activities, and (d) reducing the likelihood that task order influenced results by administering PA tasks before the parent-child interaction. Three year olds from the Dunedin region were tested in the context of a larger study looking at the relationship between sleep respiration quality (snoring) and learning. Vocabulary was tested using subscales of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – 3rd Edition (WPPSI-III), and an Individual Growth and Development Indicator (IGDI), Picture Naming. PA was measured using Pre-Kindergarten Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and two IGDI’s (Alliteration and Rhyming). Over one week, parents completed a modified daily checklist version of the Rhyming and Wordplay Questionnaire used previously. Preschool educators completed Likert ratings to report frequency of literacy practices in early childhood settings. Following language and literacy tasks, the parent-child interaction was observed. Consistent with previous findings, multiple regression analyses suggested parent wordplay (measured by a parent checklist composite) predicted children’s PA (DIBELS First Sound Fluency and IGDI Rhyming). Post-hoc checks for mediation suggested child vocabulary knowledge does not fully mediate the link between observed parent talk and children’s performance on a small-unit measure of PA. Moreover, although control group children generally scored more highly than those in the snoring group, post-hoc tests for moderation suggested snore-grouping did not affect the relationship between the parent interaction composite and a large unit PA task. Future research could use the wordplay checklist as a potentially efficient yet effective measure of home activities that may foster children’s PA.en_NZ
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectPhonological Awarenessen_NZ
dc.subjectParent Speechen_NZ
dc.titleQuality over Quantity: The Link between Specific Qualities of Parent Speech and Young Children's Phonological Awarenessen_NZ
dc.typeThesis of Scienceen_NZ of Otago Theses
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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