The literature to date suggests that the best predictor of early reading ability, phonological awareness, appears to be associated with the acquisition of letter-sound and vocabulary knowledge and with the development of well-defined phonological representations. It further suggests that at least some aspects of phonological awareness critically depend upon literacy exposure. In this study of 4- to 6-year-olds, we examine whether aspects of the home literacy environment are differentially associated with phonological awareness. Parental responses to a questionnaire about the home literacy environment are compared to children's awareness of rhyme and phonemes, as well as to their vocabulary, letter knowledge, and performance on measures of phonological strength (nonword repetition, rapid naming skill, phonological distinctness, and auditory discrimination). The results showed that a teaching focus in the home literacy environment and exposure to reading-related media are directly associated with phoneme awareness and indirectly associated via letter knowledge and vocabulary. Exposure to reading-related media and parents' active involvement in children's literature were also directly and indirectly linked with rhyme awareness skills via their association with letter and vocabulary knowledge.
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