Children's knowledge of single- and multiple-letter grapheme-phoneme correspondences: an exploratory study

Linda Larsen*, Stefan Kilian Schauber, Saskia Kohnen, Lyndsey Nickels, Genevieve McArthur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, we examined Australian children's knowledge of single- and multiple-letter grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs), and the influence of five different factors – GPC complexity, phoneme status, the child's name, GPC entropy, and GPC frequency – on GPC knowledge. Data from 337 Australian children enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade 3 were included in the study and analyses were performed using mixed effects models. Results indicate that GPC knowledge varied across children and GPCs, children were almost twice as likely to accurately pronounce single-letter graphemes compared to multiple-letter graphemes, and performance was better for GPCs which occur more frequently in text. GPCs with higher entropy values (less consistent) had close to 40% lower odds of being known by children. The study has practical implications by providing an evidence-based guide for the order in which GPCs should be introduced to children in schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-391
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • grapheme-phoneme correspondence complexity
  • grapheme-phoneme correspondence entropy
  • grapheme-phoneme correspondence frequency
  • grapheme-phoneme correspondence knowledge
  • multilevel modelling
  • phoneme status


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