Phonological awareness intervention for multilingual children: a pilot study

Marit Clausen*, Justin Markussen-Brown, Sanne Schou Olesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Background: Phonological awareness is an important preliteracy skill for spelling and reading. In Denmark children with Middle Eastern/African or Eastern European background often underperform in preliteracy skill assessments compared to monolingual Danish children. Research has shown that phonological awareness intervention performed in preschool and early schooling can mitigate literacy difficulties. However, phonological awareness intervention in early childhood education has not been tested empirically in Denmark. Therefore, the aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effect of an intervention for multilingual children targeting phonological awareness in their last year of preschool and the beginning of kindergarten.

Methods: The intervention was carried out in two cohorts consisting of 13 and 17 children. The participants were selected based on predefined risk factors including low scores in the national language and phonological awareness screening, poor letter knowledge, speech sound disorders, history of reading disorder in the family, and attention difficulties. The intervention was researcher-designed and performed by early childhood educators. Each intervention session lasted 15 minutes with increasing difficulty over time and was delivered three times weekly over 20 weeks. Children were assessed pre and post intervention with a phonological awareness assessment.

Results: Most children showed a significant improvement in phonological awareness scores after the intervention (d=0.82, pConclusion: The study indicated that a 20-week intervention could improve multilingual preschool children's phonological awareness substantially.

Learning outcomes
To gain insight into the content, structure, and delivery model of the phonological awareness intervention for multilingual children. To understand what factors influence the effectiveness of interventions targeting phonological awareness in multilingual children. To understand what factors are of importance when interventions are delivered across different settings (e.g., preschool, kindergarten, and school).
Original languageDanish
Publication date2023
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Event32nd World Congress of the IALP - The Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 20. Aug 202324. Aug 2023
Conference number: 32


Conference32nd World Congress of the IALP
LocationThe Aotea Centre
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

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