Date of Award

Summer 1993

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Gerald L. Bezy

Second Advisor

Arthur E. Smith

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker


An important part of the language learning process is the use of phonics, or the recognition of the relationship between written symbol and spoken sound. However, emphasis on phonics can ignore the actual meaning of a text, with ability to sound out written words being accepted as the act of reading. This paper asks two questions:

  1. Does a knowledge of symbol/sound relationships imply that this knowledge is used when reading?
  2. How does a knowledge of phonics group around beginning, developing and independent second grade readers?

The author selected 23 second grade students from a suburban Western New York School District. The El Paso Phonics Survey was used to test students’ phonics ability while a Record of Reading Behavior was administered to test their comprehension ability. The author found a significant correlation between the results of the two tests. Therefore, it is argued that a knowledge of phonics correlates highly with an ability to read. It is possible that knowledge of the phonic elements is a result of learning to read and that students may relate each nonsense syllable to a word they have read with the same configuration.