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PASS : A Phonological Awareness Intervention Program for At-Risk Preschool Children. Froma P. Roth, Ph.D. Colleen K. Worthington, M.S. University of Maryland Gary A. Troia, Ph.D. Michigan State University. Key Concepts.

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PASS : A Phonological Awareness Intervention Program for At-Risk Preschool Children

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Pass a phonological awareness intervention program for at risk preschool children l.jpg

PASS: A Phonological Awareness Intervention Program for At-Risk Preschool Children

Froma P. Roth, Ph.D.

Colleen K. Worthington, M.S.

University of Maryland

Gary A. Troia, Ph.D.

Michigan State University

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Key Concepts

  • Phonological awareness (PA) refers to a group of oral language skills that reflect explicit awareness of the sound structure of spoken language and the ability to manipulate that structure.

  • Includes rhyming, alliteration, blending, counting, isolation, segmenting, deletion, substitution, and reversal of speech sounds, though the 3 major areas are rhyming, blending, and segmenting.

  • Typically developing (TD) children between the ages of 3 and 4 are capable of rhyming and alliteration

  • TD children between 4 and 6 years of age can count, isolate, blend, and segment speech sounds; older children can delete, and manipulate them.

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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  • Children who perform well on such PA tasks usually are (or become) good readers, whereas children who perform poorly on them struggle (or will struggle) with word recognition and spelling.

  • PA performance in K is the best predictor of reading and spelling achievement in first and second grade.

  • Phonemic awareness (pa), the knowledge that words are comprised of individual sounds and the ability to manipulate these sounds, is most directly related to literacy.

  • Children who are phonemically aware can grasp the alphabetic principle, the concept that letters more or less correspond to sounds in spoken words

  • Children’s early reading and spelling experiences further develop their phonemic awareness skills.

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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■About 20% of children do not acquire PA without explicit instruction, especially those:

  • With disabilities

  • From low income households

  • From homes in which English is not a native language,

    ■Explicit instruction in PA and pa is often beneficial for children with and without disabilities to promote their meta-phonological competence, grapho-phonemic knowledge, decoding ability, and spelling proficiency.

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Examples: Early Childhood Experiences That Foster Phonological Awareness

  • Reciting fingerplays and nursery rhymes

  • Singing songs and chants with rhyming or alliterative schemes

  • Joint book reading with older children and adults

  • Viewing educational television programming such as Shining Time Station and Between the Lions

  • Exposure to environmental print (e.g., street signs, restaurant logos)

  • Interaction with various forms of print (e.g., menus, recipes, shopping lists, phone books, viewing guides)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Key Principles of Instruction

Task Dimensions to Control

  • Explicitness of awareness

  • Size of phonological unit (i.e., word, syllable, intrasyllabic, phoneme)

  • Number of units

  • Position of unit

  • Phoneme characteristics

  • Word frequency/familiarity

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Types of Instructional Tasks

  • Matching

  • Elimination/Oddity

  • Judgment

  • Isolation

  • Simple production (task requires a response with a shared segment or task requires a complete segmentation or blending of units)

  • Counting

  • Compound production (two-step tasks involving deletion, substitution, or reversal)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Instructional Tips

  • Make sounds more perceptually salient through exaggerated pronunciation of continuants and iteration (i.e., bouncing) of noncontinuants

  • Use manipulatives whenever possible

  • Use visual cues such as pictures or indicators of number of units whenever possible

  • Model extensively

  • Provide immediate corrective feedback

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Promoting Awareness of SoundS (PASS) Program

3 Independent Training Modules

  • Rhyming

  • Blending

  • Segmentation

    All Lessons = 30 Minutes and Have Same Structure

  • Opening Activity (5 minutes)

  • Explicit instruction (20 minutes)

  • Closing Activity (5 minutes)

  • All lessons are metascripted (loose scripts)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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4 Types of PASS Lessons

  • Preskill

  • Regular

  • Alternate

  • Branching

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Characteristics of PASS Instruction

  • Sequentially ordered discrete learning objectives

  • Guided practice opportunities

  • Ongoing progress monitoring (probes)

  • Criterion-based (suggested 80% accuracy 2 lessons)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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PASS Stimulus Characteristics

  • High frequency words (20 per lesson) are used for the explicit instruction portion of each lesson

  • Balanced for phonetic diversity (a stimulus set is used for only one objective in any given module)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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PASS Scaffolding Procedures

  • Picture stimuli named by or for child(ren)

  • Extensive modeling of task demands

  • Exaggerated articulation of key sound properties and iteration

  • Visual cues and manipulatives

  • Immediate feedback and error correction

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Research on PASS

  • In clinical setting

  • In school setting

  • With children with SLI

  • With at-risk preschool children

  • With ELL children (in progress)

  • 1 - on -1 instruction

  • Small group instruction in RTI model (Tier 2 support)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Research on PASS

Study 1: Rhyming Module

(Roth, Troia, Worthington, & Dow, 2002)

  • 8 preschoolers with S and/or L impairment

  • Single-case experimental design to evaluate effects

    • Establish stable (in level and trend) pre-treatment baseline performance using multiple probes of rhyming, blending, and segmentation

    • Implement treatment phase and monitor progress

    • Determine post-treatment performance gains using multiple probes of rhyming, blending, and segmentation

  • Average pre-treatment baseline score range = 0-53%

  • Average post-treatment score range = 77-100%

    (no overlap with pre-treatment scores)

  • No notable gains in blending and segmentation (which means rhyming gains were due to treatment and not general maturation or other factors)

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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STUDY 2: BLENDING

  • 11 preschoolers with S and/or L impairment

  • All had previously participated in PASSrhyming module

  • Single-case experimental design to evaluate effects

  • Average pre-treatment baseline score = 3% correct

  • Average post-treatment score = 52% correct (ES = 2.87)

  • # phonemes preserved: (1 or more phonemes)

  • Proportion of pretest probe = 32%

  • Proportion of posttest probe = 89%

  • Post hoc analyses: word frequency and lexical neighborhood density affected performance

    • Children correctly blended more HF words than LF words; but

    • They correctly blended more words from LD neighborhoods than HD neighborhoods

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Study 3: RTI (Roth, et al., 2009)

Rhyming Module

  • 3- & 4-year-old at risk children

  • Tier 2 (PASS) = 15-22 children

  • Pull-out services by SLP 2x/week

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Closing Remarks

  • Spontaneous transfer between skills cannot be assumed

  • Phonemic awareness training must be coupled with instruction in the alphabetic principle to have the most impact on literacy (either sequentially or concurrently)

  • Phoneme preservation scoring appears to be more sensitive to growth

  • In some cases, up to 30% of children in treatment samples who receive intensive instruction in phonological awareness do not make substantial gains

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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Contact Information

Froma Roth

[email protected]

Colleen Worthington

[email protected]

Gary Troia

[email protected]

Roth, Worthington & Troia ASHA Convention 2009


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