The relationship between phonological awareness and reading ability of Thai students in English and Thai in primary schools of Thailand
Oxford, Rebecca L.
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Reading is the most fundamental skill in modern societies and acquiring the ability to read is one of the most important goals of the early school years. In addition, reading English as a foreign language is important not only for academic success but also for professional development. The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between phonological awareness and reading ability in English and Thai of primary school Thai students in their native country. Furthermore, I investigated whether there is any transfer of phonological awareness from Thai to English among primary school Thai students. Participants were 424 Thai primary school students in nine provinces in the Lower Northern part of Thailand. Measures administered in both English and in Thai included phonological awareness (subtests for Initial Sound Detection, Final Sound Detection, Rhyme Task and Phoneme Deletion) and reading ability (Real Word Reading and Pseudoword Reading). Measures in both English and Thai were administered to all 424 participants with all directions given in the Thai language, in January 2005. The results showed that all four English subtests predicted English Real Word Reading: English Final Sound Detection, English Rhyme Task, English Phoneme Deletion and English Initial Sound Detection. Three English subtests predicted English Pseudoword Reading: English Phoneme Deletion, English Rhyme Task and English Final Sound Detection. The results also showed that three Thai subtests predicted Thai Real Word Reading: Thai Final Sound Detection, Thai Phoneme Deletion and Thai Initial Sound Detection. Three Thai subtests predicted Thai Pseudoword Reading: Thai Phoneme Deletion, Thai Final Sound Detection and Thai Initial Sound Detection. The transfer test showed that three subtests of Thai phonological awareness predicted English Real Word Reading: Thai Rhyme Task, Thai Phoneme Deletion and Thai Initial Sound Detection. Two subtests of Thai phonological awareness predicted English Pseudoword Reading: Thai Phoneme Deletion and Thai Rhyme Task. The conclusions are that English phonological awareness is significantly related to English Reading and that Thai phonological awareness is significantly related to Thai Reading. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that there is a transfer of phonological awareness from Thai to English among Thai primary school students.