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Title: Early metalinguistic abilities and subsequent reading and spelling achievements of Maltese children
Author: Martinelli, Victor Charles
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis investigated the possibility of two metalinguistic factors, one operating at the level of the word, namely phonemic awareness, and one operating at the level of the sentence, namely semantic and syntactic awareness interacting in the initial stages of reading and spelling. Both were assumed to be interacting in the development of reading and spelling in young Maltese speaking children. To investigate this issue, a two year longitudinal study using a sample of 132 children at the ages of four and five years was conducted. The children were seen over two occasions spread over four sessions of testing before they were administered tests for literacy. During these four sessions, measures of phonemic and semantic and syntactic awareness were administered to the subjects. Most of these were administered before the onset of literacy. Standardised intelligence, vocabulary and sentence comprehension and concepts about print tests as well as writer devised measures of visual and verbal short-term memory were also administered to the subjects. Children's literacy development at the end of the two years was assessed through a standardised reading test in Maltese and other measures for reading comprehension, word spelling and guided writing compiled by the writer. The results indicated that explicit phonemic awareness was the metalinguistic factor which affected word level and sentence level processes. Unlike in various studies in the English language, implicit phonemic awareness was not found to affect word level processes. The contribution of semantic and syntactic awareness was weak and statistically insignificant. It appears that the graphophonemic regularity of the Maltese orthographic system renders the implicit phonemic element and the semantic and syntactic element relatively unimportant in accessing the phonemic structure of words and meaning in words and sentences. Explicit phonemic awareness predicted word reading, reading comprehension, spelling and guided writing skills independently of I.Q., vocabulary, sentence comprehension, knowledge about print and verbal and visual short-term memory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available