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Reading & Writing

On-line version ISSN 2308-1422
Print version ISSN 2079-8245


ESLICK, Casey J.; ROUX, Mia le; GEERTSEMA, Salome  and  POTTAS, Lidia. Phonological awareness and speech perception: Skills of Grade 1 English second language learners. Reading & Writing [online]. 2020, vol.11, n.1, pp.1-10. ISSN 2308-1422.

BACKGROUND: Literacy achievement of learners is a concern in many developing countries, particularly for English second language (EL2) learners with inadequate language development. It is important to investigate foundational phonological awareness (PA), as well as speech perception skills to guide the development of effective intervention for EL2 learners to facilitate optimal literacy acquisitionOBJECTIVES: The study aimed to describe the PA and speech perception in noise skills of South African Grade 1, EL2 participants, learning in an English first language (EL1) context, to inform evidence-based support during literacy acquisition for EL2 learnersMETHOD: A cross-sectional, descriptive design was employed. Twenty-five EL1 participants provided normative results for the Phonological Awareness Test - 2 and South African English Digits-in-Noise Test, enabling between-group comparisons with 25 matched EL2 participants for quantitative data analysis. Demographic and background information was obtained using parental questionnairesRESULTS: The EL2 learners presented with PA skills below those of EL1 learners in all subtests. Though the speech perception in noise skills of EL2 learners were within the normative range for their age, their skills are also lower in comparison to EL1 learnersCONCLUSION: The findings support the inclusion of explicit PA instruction for rhyming, segmentation, isolation, deletion, substitution, and blending for EL2 literacy acquisition. Developing speech perception in noise skills is necessary to facilitate PA and phoneme-grapheme knowledge. This can enable decoding for early EL2 literacy acquisition

Keywords : language of instruction; literacy; multilingualism; phonological awareness; second language; speech perception.

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