Saturday, June 4, 2022

Cluella Study tweeted by Marlene Greenwood and my comments

 



On 29.5.2022 Marlene Greenwood @MarleneGreen193 Tweeted the following”

Have you seen this Cluella Study @luqmanmichel about children blending sounds in onset and rime, body and coda, or phonemes?

I read the article linked and then send Marlene a message as follows:

I have read your Cluella study several times. What are the salient points you want to discuss, please?

I have yet to receive a response. Here are the main conclusions of the article.

As a caution, however, it should be noted that with or without added schwa, success in blending fully segmented words was relatively uncommon; only 43% of our participants were correct on any fully segmented items, which is to say that 57% scored zero.

Another limitation for our study is that our kindergarten sample was not proficient in oral blending under any condition.

My comment now:

For more than a decade I have been saying that a majority of kids are able to read regardless of the way they are taught to read. What is stated above appears to support my findings.

My question that has not been answered by anyone at all is why do many smart kids disengage from learning to read. My students have told me that they had been confused and I have listed the reasons given by them. LINK.

I have asked if anyone has anything to add to my findings and there has been no response.

We don’t know how kids learn to read.

Is there anyone who knows why many smart kids are unable to read?

 

The following are some salient points from the article linked by Marlene.

 

Some theorists recommend that teachers make blending easier by minimizing the schwa vowel commonly added to consonants, while other theorists say pronouncing the schwa does not make blending any harder. We review each of these positions briefly because each is tested in our within-subjects design.

Reading authorities have long argued for minimizing the schwa under the assumption that any added vowel distorts the phoneme and makes blending more difficult (Gibson & Levin, 1975; Gleitman & Rozin, 1973). For instance, Carnine and his colleagues (Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, & Tarver,2004) advise teachers.

Saying a stop sound without adding a slight vowel sound is impossible. However, teachers should try to minimize the vowel sound . The letter d should not be pronounced “duh.” (p. 65)

On the other hand, Wallach and Wallach (1979) reported that children in a decoding experiment weren’t bothered by consonants pronounced with added schwa, and observed that “the added schwa vowel is a single, unemphasized sound that remains constant for various consonants, thus providing a common feature from which abstracting the consonant sound is relatively easy” (p. 203). Whether or not to schwa remains an unsettled issue among teachers working in phoneme awareness and phonics instruction.

QUESTIONS GUIDING OUR RESEARCH

The purpose of the present study was to determine which of three segmentation options is most helpful for prealphabetic and partial-alphabetic kindergartners trying to blend oral segments to identify words.

DISCUSSION

The main conclusions of this study provide answers to the three questions motivating this research. First, is it easier for beginners to blend when phoneme segments are whispered without adding a schwa vowel to the consonants (e.g.,/h/E/t/), or when adding a schwa vowel (e.g., /hu/E/tu/)? Surprisingly, the answer was no. Our kindergartners were more successful when consonants were pronounced with added schwa. Children blended more three-phoneme words successfully when consonants were pronounced with added schwa than when they were whispered to avoid adding schwa. This suggests teachers may safely pronounce consonant phonemes loudly by adding a uniform schwa during teaching without interfering with blending, and that adding artificial voicing facilitates blending.

Reading teachers have commonly been taught to minimize the schwa vowel in pronouncing consonants under the reasoning that this added /u/ vowel distorts the phoneme and makes blending more difficult. While this explanation is appealing, the present data do not support it. Several explanations are possible. It may be that students are more familiar with phonemes pronounced with schwa from informal instruction, or that consonants pronounced with schwa are louder and more audible.

Classrooms, too, have ambient noise, and children may have trouble hearing a teacher pronounce phonemes without added schwa. Thus, the blending advantage for phonemes pronounced with schwa may owe to simple audibility.

On the other hand, children’s greater success with schwa voicing may mean that blending is not a mechanical operation but rather an insightful process relying on stored phoneme identities. From this perspective, the schwa added to consonants may function as a sort of “plain brown wrapper” that children familiar with phonemes can mentally discount in blending. Because the schwa is heard as a uniform wrapper for all consonants, it may be easy for children to disregard this sound as incidental to the phoneme identities to be blended.

As a caution, however, it should be noted that with or without added schwa, success in blending fully segmented words was relatively uncommon; only 43% of our participant s were correct on any fully segmented items, which is to say that 57% scored zero.

These findings should be read cautiously. The advantage of blending fully segmented phonemes with added schwa over fully segmented whispered phonemes was small (d D :21). A small effect may not justify a major retooling of teachers’ blending instruction.

On the other hand, the small but significant difference favoring added schwa over whispered phonemes suggests that text authors and teacher educators should give teachers more leeway in generating audible pronunciations. The difference also suggests that teachers can feel at ease in providing phoneme approximations without undue worry about their purity.

Another limitation for our study is that our kindergarten sample was not proficient in oral blending under any condition.

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