Braille analysis of phonemes, graphemes, onset & rimes, and words in young children and adults.

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses - 2009 Archive

Page archived at: Mon, 14 December 2009 09:19:02 +1000

Shauna Crawford

PhD thesis, conferred 2009

Seven experiments were conducted using phonological methods for learning to read braille stimuli. Previous research had suggested that phonological instruction was beneficial for beginning braille readers. Experiments 1, 2, 4, and 6 were conducted to investigate whether teaching braille letters as phonemes resulted in more efficient performance than teaching braille letters as graphemes. Experiments 3, 5 and 7 were conducted to investigate whether teaching braille words as onset-rimes resulted in more efficient performance than teaching braille words as whole words.

Experiment 1 was conducted with 20 sighted pre-school children (under non-visual conditions) using a between-subjects design. Experiments 2 and 3 were conducted with 16 sighted primary school children (under non-visual conditions) using a within-subjects design. Experiments 4 and 5 were conducted with six infant school children with severe vision impairment or blindness who use braille as their reading medium using a single-case design. Experiments 6 and 7 were conducted with four adults with vision impairment who were new to braille using a single-case design.

The results of Experiments 1 and 2 showed that instruction in braille letters as phonemes produced statistically significant better performance in comparison to instruction in braille letters as graphemes. The results of Experiments 4 and 6 showed that instruction in braille letters as phonemes produced more efficient performance in comparison to instruction in braille letters as graphemes. The results of Experiment 3 showed that instruction in braille words as onset-rimes produced statistically significant better performance in comparison to instruction in braille words as whole words. The results of Experiments 5 and 7 showed that instruction in braille words as onset-rimes produced more efficient performance in comparison to instruction in braille words as whole words.

It was concluded that learning to read by phoneme and onset-rime analysis can be a valuable component of beginning braille reading instruction.

Supervisor: Professor Robert Elliott