A team of researchers from Michigan State University has developed new software to assess how children process the sound structure of words. Understanding sounds in a language is a skill in itself and very important for child literacy but this is often overlooked. This new tool can help in improving this skill.
The researchers have published their study recently in Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools journal. Lori Skibbe is the lead author of the paper. The software was proved effective when tested with over 1,100 children between the ages of 3 and 7 which included kids with and without speech and language impairments.
This test developed by MSU researchers is called the ATLAS, or Access to Literacy Assessment System. This is first of its kind test for children with speech and/or language impairment and can help parents, early childhood teachers and paraeducators more accurately measure progress for children with a range of skill levels.
“Phonological awareness is one of the strongest predictors of literacy skill development later in life,” said Lori Skibbe, professor of human development and family studies. “It can include rhyming, recognizing how sounds go together to make words and understanding how words can be broken apart into sounds.”
The software is available for free, and can adapt to different children that means it is unique to different kids. Moreover, the test can be taken without speaking and takes the least time when compared to other such tools.
Lori E. Skibbe, Ryan P. Bowles, Sarah Goodwin, Gary A. Troia, Haruka Konishi. The Access to Literacy Assessment System for Phonological Awareness: An Adaptive Measure of Phonological Awareness Appropriate for Children With Speech and/or Language Impairment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 2020; 51 (4): 1124 DOI: 10.1044/2020_LSHSS-19-00006
Press Release: Michigan State University