Ana María De la Calle Fernando Guzmán-Simón Eduardo García-Jiménez
The current article addresses a research on the predictive value of knowing the letters within the initial reading performance. Recent studies have shown a strong link between the knowledge of letters at early ages and the decoding processes. Our study deepens into the learning process of the Spanish alphabet code, focused on the graphemes, and analyzes the predictive power of knowing of letters for the decoding abilities in initial reading. To this end, the research relies on a longitudinal prospective methodology and makes use of standardized instruments (PROLEC-R and BIL) applied to 362 students aged 4 and 5. The data obtained are analyzed through multiple regression, using structural equation models. Our research outlines the relevance of learning the sequence of graphemes from early ages, differentiating the sequence of learning in Spanish with respect to English language. In Spanish, the learning sequence of the graphemes is independent of the learning sequence of phonemes. Moreover, this article emphasizes the importance of a learning sequence of these letters, in order to foresee the development of the decoding abilities. This study concludes that the early educational practices that take into account the letters name and phoneme, as well as the concrete sequence in graphemes learning, optimize the reading performance of Spanish speaking children.