EFL Prospective Teachers’ Competency in Phonological Awareness: Impact on Teaching English Reading

Yousef Alshaboul


Deficits in EFL teachers’ proficiency have surfaced recently as one of the possible factors contributing to children’s reading problems at their early encounters with literacy. Phonological awareness (PA) has dominated specialists’ interests well-timed with escalating reports containing more provoking evidence connecting children's reading disability with deficiencies in PA. This paper aims at investigating the impact of perceived proficiency, GPA, and gender of prospective teachers on shaping their future reading instruction detectable by prospective teachers' PA beliefs, awareness and knowledge. Towards this end, a four-section survey was administered to 158 pre-service EFL teachers. Results confirmed significant differences related to knowledge and beliefs at the expense of awareness.



EFL, pre-service, prospective, teachers, reading, phonological awareness

Full Text:



Abbot, M., Walton, C., & Greenwood, C. R. (2002).Phonemic awareness in kindergarten and first grade.Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(4), 20-26.

Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Adams, M. J., &Bruck, M. (1995).Resolving the great debate. American Educator, 19(2), 7-21.

Al-Hazza, T. C.; Fleener, Ch., and Hager, J. 2008. Primary teachers’ knowledge and knowledge calibration of early literacy practices.The Reading Matrix, 8, 1, 1-11.

Author, 2016 [details removed for peer review

Author, 2014 [details removed for peer review

Author, 2013 [details removed for peer review

Author, 2001 [details removed for peer review

Anthony, L., & Francis, D. (2005) Development of Phonological Awareness. American Psychological Society, 14 (5), 255-258.

Bishop, A. G., Brownell, M. T., Klingner, J. K., Leko, M. M., &Galman, S. A. C. (2010). Differences in beginning special education teachers: the influence of personal attributes, preparation, and school environment on classroom reading practices. Learning Disability Quarterly, 33, 75–92.

Bos, C., Mather, N., Dickson, S., Podhajski, B., and Chard, D. (2001).Perceptions and knowledge of preservice and inservice educators about early reading instruction.Annals of Dyslexia, 51, 1, 97-120.

Brady, S., Gillis, M., Smith, T., Lavalette, M., Liss-Bronstein, L., Lowe, E., et al. (2009). First grade teachers’ knowledge of phonological awareness and code concepts: examining gains from an intensive form of professional development and corresponding teacher attitudes. Reading and Writing: An International Journal, 22, 425–455. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-009-9166-x.

Brown, T. L. & Haynes, M. (1985).Literacy background and reading development in a second language. In T.H. Carr (Ed.), The development of reading skills. San Francisco: CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cabaroglu N. and J. Roberts (2000). Development in student teachers’ pre-existing beliefs during a 1 year PGCE programme. System, 28, 3, 387-402.

Carlisle, J. F., Kelcey, B., Rowan, B., & Phelps, G. (2011). Teachers’ knowledge about early reading: effects on students’ gains in reading achievement. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4, 289–321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2010.539297.

Chard, D., & Dickson, S. (1999). Phonological awareness: Instructional and assessment guidelines. Intervention in School and Clinic, 34, 261-270.

Cheng, M. M. H., Chan, K. W., Tang, S. Y. F., & Cheng, A. Y. N. (2009).Pre-service teacher education student’ epistemological beliefs and their conceptions of teaching.Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 319-322.

Cunningham, A. E, Perry, K. E. Stanovich, K. E., &Stanovich, P. J. (2004) Disciplinaryknowledge of k-3 teachers and their knowledge calibration in the domain of 10 early literacy. Annals of Dyslexia, 54(1).

Ehri, L. (1991). Development of the ability to read words.In R. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, & P. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading, (Vol., 2). New York: Longman.

Eskey, D. (1988). Holding in the bottom: An interactive approach to the language problems of second language readers. In P. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. Eskey (Eds.), Interactive approaches to second language reading. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fender M. (2003).English word recognition and word integration skills of native Arabic and Japanese-speaking learners of English as a second language.Applied Psycholinguistics 24, 289-315.

Francis, D. J., Shaywitz, S. E., Stuebing, K. K., Shaywitz, B. A., & Fletcher, J. M.(1996).

Developmental lag versus deficit models of reading disability: A longitudinal, individual growth curves study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 3-17.

Gillet, J., Temple, C., & Crawford, A. (2004). Understanding Reading Problems: Assessment and Instruction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Goswami, U. (2000). Phonological representations, reading development and dyslexia: Towards a cross-linguistic theoretical framework. Dyslexia, 6, 133-151.

Hatcher, P., Hulme, C., &Snowling, M. (2004). Explicit phoneme training combined with reading instructions helps young children at risk of reading failure. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45 (2), 338-58.

Holt-Reynolds, D. (1992). Personal history-based beliefs as relevant prior knowledge

in course work. American Educational Research Journal, 29(2), 325-49.

Johnson, K. E. (1996). The role of theory in L2 teacher education.TESOL Quarterly, 30, 4, 765–771.

Joram E. and A.J. Gabriele (1998).Preservice teacher beliefs: Transforming obstacles into opportunities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14, 2, 175-191.

Juel, C. (1988). Learning to read and write: A longitudinal study of fifty-four children from first through fourth grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 437-447.

Kagan, S. (1992).Cooperative learning. San Juan Capistrano, CA: Resources for Teachers, Inc.

Kelcey, B. (2011). Assessing the effects of teachers’ reading knowledge on students’ achievement using multilevel propensity score stratification.Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33, 458–482. http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0162373711415262.

Layton, L., Deeny, K., Upton, G., & Tall, G. (1988). Researching and promoting phonological awareness in the nursery class. Journal of research in Reading, 19, 1-13.

Layton, L., Deeny, K., Upton, G., & Tall, G. (1998).'A pre-school training programme for children with poor phonological awareness: effects on reading and spelling' Journal of Research on Reading, Vol. 21 (1), 36-52.

Mather, N., Box, C., & Babur, N. (2001).Perceptions and knowledge of preservice and inservice teachers about early literacy instruction.Journal of Learning Disabilities,4,471-482.

MacDonald, J. (2000). Grammaticality Judgments in a second language: Influences of age of acquisition and native language. Applied Psycholinguistics, 21, 395-423.

MacDonald, M., Badger, R., & White, G. (2001). Changing values: What use are theories of language learning and teaching? Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 949–963.

McCutchen, D.; Harry, D. R.; Cox, S.&Sidman, S.;Covill, A. E.; &, Cunningham, A. E. 2003. Reading teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature and English phonology. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 1, 23-45.

Moats, L. C. (1994). The missing foundation in teacher education: knowledge of the structure of spoken and written language. Annals of Dyslexia, 44, 81–102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02648156.

Moats, L. C. (2009).Knowledge foundations for teaching reading and spelling.Reading and Writing: An International Journal, 22, 379–399. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-009-9162-1.

Moats, L.C., &Foorman, B. R. (2003).Measuring teachers’ content knowledge of language and reading. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 23-45.

Morris, D. (2011). Interventions to develop phonological and orthographic systems. In A. McGill-Franzen, & R. L. Allington (Eds.), Handbook of reading disability research (pp. 279–288). New York, NY: Routledge.

National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Nettle E.B. (1998). Stability and change in the beliefs of student teachers during practice teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14/2: 193-204.

Newman, L., Wagner, M., Huang, T., Shaver, D., Knokey, A.-M., Yu, J. (2011).Secondary school programs and performance of students with disabilities.A Special Topic Report of Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) (NCSER 2012-3000).U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Special Education Research. Menlo Park, CA: SRIInternational, Available at www.nlts2.org/reports/2011_11/nlts2_report_2011_11_complete.pdf.

Olofsson, A. &Niedersoe, J. (1999). Early language development and kindergarten phonological awareness as predictors of reading problems: From 3 to 11 years of age. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 32, 5, 464-472.

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teacher beliefs and educational research: cleaning up a messy

construct. Review of Educational Research, 14, 5–19.Perfetti, C. (1985). Reading ability.New York: Oxford University Press.

Piasta, S. B., Connor, C. M., Fishman, B. J., & Morrison, F. J. (2009).Teachers’ knowledge of literacy concepts, classroom practices, and student reading growth. Scientific Studies of Reading, 13, 224–248. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1088843092851364.

Powell, R. (1992). The influence of prior experience on pedagogical constructs of traditional and nontraditional preservice teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 8 (3) 225-238.

Pullen, P. C. (2004). Effective practices for phonological awareness. Teaching LD HotSheet, 2, Retrieved from. http://TeachingLD.org/hot_sheets/.

Richards, J. C., & Lockhart, C. (1994).Reflective teaching in second language classrooms. Cambridge: CUP.

Richgels, D. J. (2001).Invented spelling, phonemic awareness, and reading and writing instruction. In Handbook of early literacy research, Eds. S. B. Neuman& Dickinson, 142-55. New York: Guilford.

RTI International. (2012). Student Performance in Reading and Mathematics, Pedagogic Practice, and School Management in Jordan. North Carolina, NC 27709-2194.

Ryan, A. &Meara, P. (1991). The case of the invisible vowels: Arabic speakers reading English words. Reading in a foreign language, 7, 531-540.

Share, D. (1995). Phonological recoding and self-teaching: Sine qua non of reading acquisition. Cognition, 55, 151-218.

Share, D. L., &Stanovich, K. E. (1995). Cognitive processes in early reading development: Accommodating individual differences into aodel of acquisition. Issues in Education: Contributions from Educational Psychology, 1, 1-57.

Siedenberg, M (1992). Beyond orthographic depth in reading: Equitable division of labor. In R. Frost & L. Katz (Eds.), Orthography, phonology, morphology and meaning. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

Singer, H. (1979). Language, linguistics, and learning to read. In H. Singer (Ed.),

Reading, learning to read (pp. 34-41). Victoria, BC: Deakin University.

Snowling, M. (1998). Reading development and its difficulties. Educational and Child Psychology, 15, 44-58.

Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (1998).Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Spear-Swerling, L., Brucker, P. O., &Alfano, M. P. (2005).Teachers’ literacy-related knowledge and self-perceptions in relation to preparation and experience.Annals of

Dyslexia, 55, 266–296. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11881-005-0014-7.

Spear-Swerling, L., &Cheesman, E. (2012).Teachers’ knowledge base for implementing response-to-intervention models in reading.Reading and Writing: An International

Journal, 25, 1691–1723. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-011-9338-3.

Stanovich, K. (1991). Word recognition: Changing perspectives. In R. Barr, M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, and P. Pearson (Eds).Handbook of reading research (Vol. 1). New York: Longman.

Stanovich, K. (1994). “Word recognition: Changing perspectives.” In Handbook of Reading Research, edited by Rebecca Barr, MichaelKamil, Peter Mosenthal, and David Pearson. New York: Longman.

Tatto, M. T. (1998). The influence of teacher education on teachers’ beliefs about purposes of education, roles and practices.Journal of Teacher Education, 49, 1, 66-77.

Tibi, S. (2005).Teachers’ Knowledge and Skills in Phonological Awareness in United Arab Emirates.International Journal of Special Education, 20 (1), 60-66.

Troyer, S. J., &Yopp, H. K. (1990).Kindergarten teachers’ knowledge of emergent literacy concepts.Reading Improvement, 27, 34-40.

Vellutino, F., Scanlon, D., &Tanzman, M.(1994). Components of reading ability.In G. Lyon (Ed.), Frames of reference for the assessment of learning disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Vellutino, F., Fletcher, J., Snowling, M., & Scanlon, D. (2004). Specific reading disability (dyslexia): what have we learned in the past four decades? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45 (1), 2-40.

Venkatagiri, H.S. & Levis, J.M. (2009). Phonological awareness and speech comprehensibility: An exploratory study. Language Awareness, 16(4), 263-277.

Washburn, E. K., Joshi, R. M., &Binks-Cantrell, E. S. (2011a).Teacher knowledge of basic language concepts and dyslexia.Dyslexia, 17, 165–183. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dys.426.

Washburn, E. K., Joshi, R. M., &Binks-Cantrell, E. (2011b). Are preservice teachers prepared to teach struggling readers? Annals of Dyslexia, 61, 21–43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11881-010-0040-y.

Woods, D. (1996). Teacher cognition in language teaching. Cambridge: CUP.

Wubbels, T. (1992).Taking account of student teachers’ preconceptions. Teaching and Teacher Education, 8, 137-150.

Yopp, H. (1995). “A Test for Assessing Phonemic Awareness in Young Children.”The Reading Teacher, 49(1), 516-523.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.2p.95


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.