Literacy and Phonological Awareness in Arabic Speaking Children


  • Nailah Al-Sulaihim Kuwait University, Kuwait
  • Theodorous Marinis University of Reading


Phonological awareness, Arabic literacy development, word reading, letter knowledge


A large body of research to date has focused on the link between phonological awareness (PA), emergent literacy, and reading success. The bulk of research on the relationship between PA and literacy has been conducted on children who speak English and European languages. It is unclear, however, how this relationship presents itself in Arabic speaking children. The aim of the current study was to address the relationship between PA and literacy skills in Arabic-speaking Kuwaiti children who read in the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) orthography. A longitudinal design was used. Participants were a group of children in the first grade, and data were collected twice during the school year. Children were assessed via PA tasks at the level of syllables, rhymes, and phonemes; as well as via a single word reading task, and a letter knowledge task (letter-sound recognition). Longitudinal results indicated a general improvement in PA skills once literacy training had been introduced. A need for further research into this area, as well as a need for standardized tests in the Arabic language is suggested. 




How to Cite

Al-Sulaihim, N., & Marinis, T. (2017). Literacy and Phonological Awareness in Arabic Speaking Children. Arab Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 74–90. Retrieved from