The effects of mnemonics on letter recognition and letter sound acquisition of at-risk kindergarten students
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This study examined the effectiveness of embedded picture mnemonic alphabet cards on the acquisition of letter name and letter sound knowledge with at-risk kindergarten students in a rural Texas public school. The study compared student achievement against a zero baseline when the student(s) are trained using a dissassociated picture mnemonic to an embedded picture mnemonic. A secondary area of investigation was the “Degree of Difficulty in Learning Letter Names” theory proposed by Treiman, Tincoff, Rodriguez, Mouzaki, & Francis. The theory states that consonant letter names can be divided into three categories based on phoneme characteristics: Easy to learn letters have a consonant-vowel pattern (the letter name for “D” is /d/ /e/); hard letters have a converse pattern of vowel-consonant (the letter name for “M” is /e/ /m/); and the other category has no phoneme pattern reflective to the letter name (the letter name “W” is “double” “you”). Students were randomly selected to either the treatment or the control group and after a ten-day (two week) training period, the students were given one week with no intervention then administered a posttest, followed by another week with no intervention followed by a post-posttest. The purpose for this assessment design was to determine if the training had an effect on long-term memory. Results revealed that children taught with the embedded picture mnemonics learned more letter name associations than did the control group. The embedded picture mnemonic had a positive effect on long term memory reflecting an increase from a moderate effect sizes for letter naming (d = .69) on the first week post test to a large effect size for letter naming (d =1.12) on the second week post test. The results also revealed inconclusive support for Treiman’s et al. (1998) degree of difficulty in learning letter names theory.
White, Teresa (2006). The effects of mnemonics on letter recognition and letter sound acquisition of at-risk kindergarten students. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from