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Phonological awareness in young second language learners*

  • Maggie Bruck (a1) and Fred Genesee (a1)


English-speaking children (N = 91) who were attending French schools (bilingual group) were given a battery of phonological awareness tests in kindergarten and in grade 1. At the time of kindergarten testing the mean age of the children was 5:9. Their performance was compared to age-matched English-speaking children (N = 72) attending English schools (monolingual group). The bilingual children showed heightened levels of phonological awareness skills in kindergarten in the area of onset-rime awareness. By grade 1, the pattern of group differences was more complex. The monolingual and bilingual children performed similarly on onset-rime segmentation tasks. The monolingual children had higher phoneme awareness scores than their French-schooled peers; this result is interpreted to reflect the role of literacy instruction on phoneme awareness development. In comparison, the bilingual children had higher syllable segmentation scores than their monolingual peers. This result is interpreted to reflect the role of second language input on phonological awareness.


Corresponding author

Department of Psychology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield, Montreal, Quebec H3A1B1, Canada.


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We are grateful to the many principals, teachers, students and parents who were so highly co-operative in this research project. This research was supported by Grants 0GP000A1181 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to M. Bruck, 410-91-1936 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to F. Genesee, and 94-ER-2015 from Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche to M. Bruck & F. Genesee.



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Phonological awareness in young second language learners*

  • Maggie Bruck (a1) and Fred Genesee (a1)


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