Does Phonics Instruction Improve Phonics Awareness, Read and Spelling?

  • Linda Graham

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


    This thesis looks into the teaching of phonics to answer the question:
    Does phonics instruction improve phonics awareness, reading and spelling?

    A mixed methods action research approach was taken to ascertain if phonics
    instruction would improve participants’ phonological awareness, reading and spelling.
    The students who participated in this research were adult Emirati students who had
    completed their schooling and were now enrolled in the largest higher educational
    institute in the United Arab Emirates. They were in their first semester of a
    foundation programme. A pilot study was done which was fundamental in the
    changes made to the material that would be used for the phonics instruction and the
    material used for data collection.

    Thereafter, for three semesters, two groups of students were allocated per semester
    to participate in the research, one group was given phonics instruction and one group
    received no phonics instruction. Apart from the phonics instruction all participants
    were on the same programme. Tests were carried out at the beginning of the
    semesters and the end of semesters on all participants. Unfortunately, this research
    was stopped abruptly because of a no paper on campus regulation that was brought
    in to force. Ideally, another two semesters would have allowed for more data
    collection. However, the data collected was sufficient to carry out a thorough
    analysis of individual classes and finally combining the classes into the treatment
    group (the participants that received phonics instruction) and the comparison group
    (the participants that did not receive phonics instruction). Moreover, there was
    sufficient data to carry out a statistical analysis.

    The findings suggest that there was not a significant difference between the scores of
    the treatment group and the comparison group in the final phonics awareness,
    reading and spelling test results, but the improvement level of the participants that
    received phonics instruction (the treatment group) was higher than the participants
    that received no phonics instruction (the comparison group). Further research would
    be required to ascertain whether phonics instruction would improve phonics
    awareness, reading and spelling in other English Second Language speakers. This
    research was limited to Arabic speakers and all participants were Emiratis.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSue Garton (Supervisor)


    • phonics instruction
    • phonological awareness
    • reading
    • spelling

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