An Understanding of Phonological Awareness

dyscalculia and multisensory tutoring
Dyscalculia: Understanding Difficulties with Math
January 17, 2023
dyspraxia in children
A Quick Look at Dyspraxia in Children
March 14, 2023

An Understanding of Phonological Awareness

What is Phonological Awareness?

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds in spoken language. It is a broad skill that encompasses rhyming, alliteration, syllables, onset & rime, phonemic awareness. Phonological awareness focuses on sounds and not written letters. Phonological awareness is crucial to reading development and is the base for all other reading skills.

Phonological skills involve manipulating sounds in many ways including:

  • Blending sounds (combining sounds together)
  • Segmenting sounds (breaking sounds apart)
  • Deletion of sounds (eliminating a sound)
  • Substitution of sounds (replacing with a different sound)
  • Generating sounds (thinking of words with the same or similar sounds)

Blending sounds are the easiest for students to master, followed by segmenting sounds, deletion of sounds, substitution of sounds, and generating words.

Phonological Awareness Activity Ideas:

  • Rhyming
  • Counting words in a sentence
  • Blending the onset and rime
  • Dividing the onset and rime
  • Substituting the onset and rime
  • Deleting the final syllable from a compound word
  • Matching the same beginning sound

Why is Phonological Awareness crucial for reading development?

Phonological awareness is such an important part of reading success, especially when working with younger students because it helps develop skills to blend words. When young students come across an unknown word, they can use their phonemic awareness skills to decode and blend words to read. Phonological awareness is one of the biggest predictors of reading success. Research has shown that students who have difficulty identifying the phoneme in a word struggle to decode words. They need to be able to successfully hear, segment, and blend sounds to learn how to read using phonics.

Is your child struggling with phonological awareness?

Every child develops phonological awareness skills at their own pace. Having difficulty with these skills can be an indicator of a reading impairment.

Difficulty in Pre-K Aged Children:

  • Trouble Learning Nursery Rhymes
  • Trouble with Alliteration
  • Trouble with Counting Out Syllables

Difficulty in Elementary Aged Children:

  • Trouble identifying the first sound they hear in words
  • Trouble coming up with rhyming words in word play
  • Trouble blending individual sounds into words

Using a multisensory based structured literacy program such as Orton-Gillingham is beneficial if your child is struggling with phonological awareness. This type of systematic, explicit, program will remediate and aid in the development of appropriate reading skills.