What is Phonological Awareness and Why is it Important?
- Phonological Awareness (P.A.) is referred to as awareness of one’s own thinking about the sound structures of language.
P.A. refers to a person’s ability to attend to, discriminate and manipulate sounds at the phoneme (sound), word and sentence level. It also refers to the ability to identify and generate rhyme.
Research has shown that that a child who has strong P.A. skills will most likely be fluent at reading, spelling and writing.
This means children need a lot of exposure and hands on experience with:
- hearing and generating rhyme. The words can be real or non-words.
- counting the syllables (parts) in words (e.g.’bat’ has 1 syllable; ‘table’ à ‘ta’ ‘ble’ has 2 syllables & ‘butterfly’ à ‘butt’- ‘er’- ‘fly’ has 3 syllables).
- compound words – they should be able to hold onto the word and delete a part of the word and say the remaining word. (e.g basketballà say ‘basketball’ now say it without the ‘ball’ Answer: ‘basket).
- Identifying how many words are in a sentence (e.g ‘The cat is in the basket’ Answer: 6 words).
- Onset and rime (e.g. ‘m_at’ make ‘mat’/ ‘sh _eep’ make ‘sheep’).
- Delete and add to words (e.g. say ‘crab’ now say it without the ‘c’ Answer ‘rab’).
- Identifying the initial, middle and final sound in words.
If children have strong phonological awareness skills in Kindergarten and Pre-Primary there is strong evidence that they will tune into hearing the sounds in words. This ability to identify the sounds in words will enable them to spell and read efficiently throughout their school years.
THIS MUST BE DEVELOPED BEFORE A CHILD BEGINS LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE.
Activities for developing P.A. skills:
- Read nursery rhymes.
- Read Dr Suess.
- Count the syllables in random words – clap your hands as you break the word up into it syllables. You could do this with your family names.
- Use your two hands as the signal for the two words in the compound words (left hand ‘basket’; right hand ‘ball’. Take away your right hand as you say “don’t say ‘ball’, what is left?” Answer: ‘basket’).
- Onset and rime; You could say; “let’s get in the c_ar à Car; ‘Go get your ‘sh_oe”à shoe”.
KEEP IT FUN