Research Studies


Helen has just been awarded a Master of Applied Science from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

She investigated outcomes for teachers attending a Cued Articulation course. She was interested to know whether their attendance can improve the phonological and letter-sound awareness required by teachers of reading.

Participants at her courses were asked to complete a survey of their sound awareness skills immediately before the training, immediately after it, and again one-to-two teaching terms later.

  • Statistically significant gains were recorded in teachers’ phonological and letter-sound awareness immediately after the six-hour Cued Articulation course and again one-to-two teaching terms later.
  • During the course, participants were alerted to how their sensitivity to sounds in words may have become influenced by their knowledge of conventional spelling.
  • Following the course, participants expressed surprised at the limitations in their own phonological and letter-sound awareness.
  • Participants perceived that their new understanding had influenced their approach to the teaching of reading.
  • Many participants reported that they believed the information provided about speech sounds should have been included in their pre-service training.

Some participants indicated that, as well as not having ever received formal education themselves in phonological awareness skills, they had been unsure about their approach to teaching reading.

In conclusion, many participants reported that the Cued Articulation course provided them with strategies which enabled them to adopt a more structured phonics approach to their instruction.

Helen’s thesis can be accessed at

There are no studies currently published reporting on outcomes, for Early Years students, of using Cued Articulation as a tool in literacy teaching.


Phonological Awareness – essential for literacy learning


Many studies have shown that instruction in phonics, phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are essential parts of a classroom literacy program:


‘The evidence is clear, whether from research, good practice observed in schools, advice from submissions to the Inquiry, consultations, or from Committee members’ own individual experiences, that direct systematic instruction in phonics during the early years of schooling is an essential foundation for teaching children to read.’ (p.11) The Committee recommends that teachers provide systematic, direct and explicit phonics instruction so that children master the essential alphabetic code-breaking skills required for foundational reading proficiency. (p.12) ‘It was generally acknowledged that it is essential for student teachers to be able to undertake explicit teaching of phonological awareness and phonics.’
    The National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, Australian Government Department of Education Science and Training, December 2005, p.49.

See also:

  • Chapman, M. L. (2003). Phonemic Awareness: Clarifying What We Know. Literacy, Teaching and Learning. 7(1/2), 91-115.

  • Coltheart, M & Prior, M. (2007). Learning to Read in Australia, The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Canberra.

  • Informed Instruction for Reading Success: Foundations for Teacher Preparation: A Position Paper of The International Dyslexia Association (formerly The Orton Dyslexia Society) May 1997.

  • Johnston, R. S. & Watson, J. E. (2005). A Seven Year Study of the Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment, February, Scottish Executive Education Department.

  • Lemos , M. de, (2000). Closing the Gap between research and practice: Foundations for the acquisition of literacy. ACER.

  • McCutchen, D., Abbott, Green, Beretvas, Cox, Potter, Quiroga, & Gray (2002). Beginning Literacy: Links Among Teacher Knowledge, Teacher Practice, and Student Learning Beginning Literacy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, (35) 69.

  • Schneider, W., Ennemoser, M., Roth, E. & Küspert, P. (1999). Kindergarten Prevention of Dyslexia: Does Training in Phonological Awareness Work for Everybody? Journal of Learning Disabilities, (32) 429.

Articulatory Awareness facilitating literacy learning

Many studies have indicated that ‘articulatory awareness’ facilitates this phonemic awareness:

‘The awareness of the articulatory movements to make speech sounds facilitates children making graphophonemic connections to identify written words and secure them in memory.’
    Benefits and Issues of Including SLPs in the Literacy Team, Literacy Outcomes and the Role of the SLP Project Report, Revised March 2008 55.
     Greater Brisbane, Education Queensland , p.55.

‘Our interpretation is that awareness of articulatory gestures facilitates the activation of graphophonemic connections that helps children identify written words and secure them in memory.’
    Castiglioni-Spalten, M. & Ehri L. C. (2003). Phonemic Awareness Instruction: Contribution of Articulatory Segmentation to Novice Beginners'
     Reading and Spelling. Scientific Studies of Reading, 7:1, p.25.

‘How Can Teachers Help Students Develop Phonemic Awareness? Focus attention on how the mouth changes when pronouncing different phonemes. Focusing attention on the changes that take place in the mouth as words are pronounced is an effective way to identify phonemes.’
    A Closer Look at the Five Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction: A Review of Scientifically Based Reading Research for Teachers
     2004, Learning Point Associates.

‘The importance of articulation to teach PA is not generally recognised’
    Boyer, N., & Ehri, L. C. (2011). Contribution of phonemic segmentation instruction with letters and articulation pictures to word reading and
     spelling in beginners. Scientific Studies of Reading, 15(5), 440-470.


Teachers’ Phonological Awareness skills

But writers are concerned that teachers may not have adequate understanding of how we make speech sounds, the sound systems (phonology) and how these sounds link to letters.

‘… most pre-service teachers do not feel prepared to use phonics in the classroom as they do not believe that their university courses have provided them with sufficient understanding of phonics.’
    Fielding-Barnsley, R. (2010). Australian pre-service teachers’ knowledge of phonemic awareness and phonics in the context of learning to read.
    Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 1(15), p.99.

See also:

  • Malatesha Joshi, R., Binks, E., Hougen, M., Dahlgren, M., Ocker-Dean, E., &. Smith, D.L. (2009). Why Elementary Teachers Might Be Inadequately Prepared to Teach Reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, (42) 392-402.

  • McCutchen, D., Harry, D., Cunningham, A., Cox, S., Sidman, S., & Covill, A. (2002) Reading Teachers' Knowledge of Children's Literature and English Phonology. Annals of Dyslexia, 52, 207-228.

  • Moats, L. (1994). The Missing Foundation in Teacher Education: Knowledge of the structure of spoken and written language. Annals of Dyslexia, 44, 81-102.

  • Moats, L. (2009) Still Wanted: Teachers With Knowledge of Language. Journal of Learning Disabilities, (42) 387-391.

  • Moats, L. & Foorman, B. (2003). Measuring Teachers' Content Knowledge of Language and Reading. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 23-44.

  • Podhajski, B., Mather, N., Nathan, J. & Sammons, J. (2009). Professional Development in Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: Teacher Knowledge and Reading Outcomes. Journal of Learning Disabilities, (42) 403-417.

  • Spear-Swerling, L., & Owen Brucker, P. (2003). Teachers' Acquisition of Knowledge about English Word Structure, Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 72-103.


  • ‘: ... when teachers are taught the specific linguistic knowledge required for teaching synthetic phonics, they acquire knowledge of the concepts. The reading scores of the children taught by these teachers also increase.’
        Malatesha Joshi, R., Binks, E., Hougen, M., Dahlgren, M., Ocker-Dean, E., &. Smith, D.L. (2009). Why Elementary Teachers Might Be
        Inadequately Prepared to Teach Reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, (42) p. 394.

Cued Articulation

A Cued Articulation training course will teach this ‘specific linguistic knowledge’. It teaches how speech sounds are produced, and that they can be grouped according to the way they are made. It enables teachers to visually ‘label’ the sounds. A Speech Pathologist is ideally placed to do this:

‘SLP’s [Speech Language Pathologists] knowledge of language and clinical expertise allows them to play an important role in the development and implementation of phonological awareness programs…The primary responsibility of the SLP will be to provide specific information about the sound structure of speech and work with teachers to choose the most appropriate goals/activities for the children in their classrooms.’
    Catts, H. (1991). Facilitating Phonological Awareness: Role of Speech-Language Pathologists. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
    (22), p.200.

‘As experts in language and in metalinguistics, speech pathologists can provide teacher training, assist teachers with the analysis of children’s spoken and written language, and plan collaboratively with teachers to give all children the best chance of success in literacy. Students stand to gain from the combination of the speech pathologist’s and the teacher’s professional perspectives.
    Walsh, R. (2009). Word games: the importance of defining phonemic awareness for professional discourse. Department of Education and
    Training, Queensland. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 32(3), p.223.

During Helen’s Cued Articulation course, teachers not only develop a new understanding of the linguistic features of English; they are also provided with practical ideas and activities to enable them to apply this new understanding in their classrooms.