Theorists and practitioners in the field of reading development are currently debating the importance of rhymes and phonemes in beginning reading. In a recent study, Duncan, Seymour and Hill (1997) provided evidence that explicit or meta- awareness of sound is closely linked to reading strategy. Meta-awareness was measured by asking beginning readers to identify the ‘common unit’ shared by two spoken words. Results showed that meta-awareness of phonemes emerged prior to meta-awareness of rhyme, and that reading strategy followed a similar small-to-large progression. This study reports on a replication of the ‘common unit’ task which includes modifications to the original procedure (randomisation of conditions, increased practice, removal of positional references from instructions). The results confirm the pattern observed in the original study. Beginning readers learning by a mixed method can identify shared phonemes but not shared rimes in the common unit task. The implications of this and similar replications are discussed.