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Lexical characteristics of words and phonological awareness skills of preschool children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2014

J. MARC GOODRICH*
Affiliation:
Florida State University
CHRISTOPHER J. LONIGAN*
Affiliation:
Florida State University
*
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE J. Marc Goodrich or Christopher J. Lonigan, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, 1107 West Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306. E-mail: goodrich@psy.fsu.edu or lonigan@psy.fsu.edu
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE J. Marc Goodrich or Christopher J. Lonigan, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, 1107 West Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306. E-mail: goodrich@psy.fsu.edu or lonigan@psy.fsu.edu

Abstract

The lexical restructuring model (LRM; Metsala & Walley, 1998) can be used to explain the development of phonological awareness (PA). According to LRM, as children's vocabularies increase, children develop a more refined lexical representation of the sounds comprising those words, and in turn children become more sensitive to the detection of specific phonemes. LRM identifies several lexical characteristics of words that influence lexical restructuring: age of acquisition (AoA), word frequency, neighborhood density, and phonotactic probability. In this study, the effects of these lexical characteristics on children's performance on PA tasks were evaluated, as well as moderation of these effects by children's oral language skills and ages, in two independent samples of preschool children who completed measures of PA and oral language. For both samples, AoA and word frequency were negatively related to PA skills, and phonotactic probability was positively related to PA skills. Children's ages and oral language skills were positive predictors of PA skills, and children's ages moderated the relations between AoA and PA skills for children in Sample 2. Children's oral language skills moderated the relations between AoA and PA skills for children in Sample 1. Implications are discussed.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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