Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Growing expectations surround early elementary skills regarding reading for meaning and writing – namely phonemic awareness and its impact on developing readers and writers. One of the purposes of this thesis project was discovering and understanding the relationship between phonemic awareness and the development of reading skills in early elementary students. In addition, an investigation into the effect of direct instruction in phonological awareness on struggling readers and writers was undertaken. The literature review explores phonemic awareness methods and practices including – whole language, basal, phonics, reading for meaning, small group vs. whole class instruction, and intervention strategies for at-risk students.

A four week study was conducted in a rural school district in upstate New York. Pre-assessments and post-assessments were performed on two groups of five students. One group, Group A, received direct instruction in phonological awareness, using the Developmental Reading Assessment, while a second group, Group B, did not receive direct instruction. Student writing for both groups was also assessed. (The four week study unit developed for the project is included in the Appendices.) Study conclusions validate current research which suggests that direct phonological awareness instruction results in improved phonemic awareness, reading, and spelling for developing readers.


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