University of Salerno (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 1765-1771
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0474
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Phonological awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate the phonological elements of a language, according to its hierarchical evolution. This ability to discriminate and combine phonemes involves two operations: the first one concerns the phonological reflection on the syllabic structure of words (global phonological awareness), the second one concerns the deep segmental structure of language (phonemes) on which manipulations and combinations operate (analytical phonological awareness). In the literacy process, phonological awareness is an important prerequisite for both learning reading and learning writing. Establishing a relationship between grapheme and phoneme, if practiced at preschool age, predicts future disorders. The relevance of this competence is also underlined by the theories on developmental dyslexia, according to which the difficulty in the chunking of the word or in the phonological synthesis, is due to the unsatisfactory development of phonological awareness. Therefore, meta-phonological operations represent a crucial aspect for a teaching centered on phonological decoding. Based on empirical evidence confirming a significant impact, this contribution presents the Alfabeto140 program experimentation, developed by the Society for Learning and Education informed by Evidence (S.Ap.I.E), implemented in the first class of primary school in blended mode. The main objective is to verify whether the exercise of phonological skills can have a positive impact on both learning reading and writing. The hypothesis is that phono-syllabic training, based on the correspondence between letters and sounds, activates the reading circuit and allows it to be learned. Methodologically, the research adopts a quasi-experimental design with control and experimental classes and pre and post-tests. Specifically, letter recognition and phonological awareness tests were administered in the pre-test phase while non-word recognition, dictation and phonological awareness tests were adopted in the post-test phase. In compliance with the phonotactic structure, the progressive and gradual didactic program uses the phono-syllabic method and is divided into six units for a duration of two hours each and a total of 140 hours. The activities include the alternation of exercises on software applications or on paper to be carried out by children individually or in pairs. In the Alfabeto140 program, each teacher is asked to model and to deconstruct complex practices offering to students many opportunities to improve their performance through immediate and formative feedback. In 2020-2021 school year, 51 classes throughout the Italian territory (792 students) took part in the research: 30 classes made up the experimental group (467 students) and 21 classes made up the control group (325 students). In this contribution, the focus is on the Campania region, which compared to other regions, has implemented the program mainly at a distance. In this region, 11 classes participated, 6 of them (equal to 113 students) implemented the experimental course and the other 5 (equal to 69 students) formed the control group. Both groups took part to the same input and output tests. The analysis of the results and the effect size value prove an advancement of the experimental group compared to the control group, both at regional and national level. It confirmed the effectiveness of the undertaken didactic program, organized in a progressive and rigorous manner.
Phonological awareness, read-writing learning, didactic program, quasi-experimental design, distance learning.