Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Trish Formentin


The first stage of this study involved a replication of the cluster analysts procedures used by Freebody and Byrne (1988) to classify Year 2 readers according to their word reading strategies based on lists of irregular and pseudowords. A four-cluster-solution produced three groups similar to those reported by Freebody and Byrne (1988), and a fourth group which could not be classified using their criteria. A three-cluster-solution produced a more parsimonious interpretation, with these groups meeting the criteria for "LB" (low on both Irregular and pseudowords), "HB" (high on both), and "Phoenician" readers (average or above on pseudoword, low on irregular words). There was no evidence of a discrete group of "Chinese" readers (low on pseudowords, average or above average on irregular words). These results were interpreted in the context of stage models of reading development. A replication was carried out of Freebody and Byrnes (1988) examination of differences in the phonemic awareness abilities of the subjects grouped on the basis of the four-cluster-solution. Subjects were tested using the initial-consonant-elision and the final-consonant-matching tasks. Three additional phonemic awareness tasks were also used: telescoping, segmenting and rhyming. Results showed unacceptable reliability of the telescoping, segmenting and final consonant-matching tasks, coupled with ceiling effects for telescoping and segmenting. Consequently, only the results from the combined initial-consonant-elision and final-consonant matching tasks, and the rhyming tasks were used. Consistent with the findings of Freebody and Byrne (1988), the LB group showed significantly lower phonemic awareness than the other groups combined, the HB group showed the reverse outcome. This finding is consistent with previous research that has shown a relationship between phonemic awareness and reading achievement. There was a significant difference for the remaining two groups, but only on the rhyming task in favour of the Phoenician readers, reflecting their ability to recognise sound patterns within words. The second stage of the study consisted of a single subject design investigation in which baseline data was collected for six (LB) subjects. As the requirement of stable and level baselines was not met for five of the six subjects, the decision was made to implement a changing criterion design with the other subject. He was given explicit Instruction In which he was taught to discriminate between the letters he previously confused, and the strategy of sounding out regular word types without stopping between sounds. His daily data showed that by the end of the Intervention phase, consisting of 16 half-hour teaching sessions, he had reached criteria in reading mixed regular word types. In addition, his post-test score on the pseudoword list indicated that he would now qualify as a Phoenician reader. Further research is required to investigate the extent to which changes In word reading strategy can be brought about by Instruction.