What is Phonological Awareness?

What is phonological awareness?

Developing phonological awareness skills are a prerequisite to developing good reading skills. Having good phonological awareness skills means that a child is able to manipulate or work with individual sounds and words. For example, a speech therapist might ask child to break the word "ship" into individual sounds: "sh-i-p". This skill is referred to as the segmentation of sounds. Listed below are a few more phonological awareness skills.

Phonological Awareness Skills Include: 

  • Recognizing when words rhyme (i.e. "Do 'hat' and 'shoe' rhyme?") and coming up a with a word that rhymes (i.e. "What rhymes with 'cat'?") 
  • Blending syllables (i.e. " I am going to say parts of a word. Tell me what the word is. 'Pan-da.'")
  • Deletion of syllables (e.i. "Say the word 'blueberry'. Now say it without saying 'blue.'")
  • Identifying sounds in words (i.e. "What sounds do you hear at the end of 'cookie'?")
  • Blending sounds( i.e. "Put these sounds together to make a word. 'B-oo-k.'")
  • Segmentation of syllables (i.e. "Clap for each syllable you hear in the word 'alligator.'")

Why Phonological Awareness is Important?

Phonological awareness is important because it is the foundation for reading. At a young age, children begin to read by listening to others read aloud. Gradually, children start indentifying sounds in words, sounding out words for themselves and recognizing familiar words. By encouraging childern to participate in word play, they learn to identify patterns among words and use the knowledge to read and build words.

How you can help your child:

  • Make word play a part of your day. Read rhyming books to your child, sing songs, or have them come up with rhyming words or words that start with the same sound.
  • If your child is young enough, consider enrolling them in a preschool program.
  • Check out the technology. Apps and software are useful tools. 

Signs your child may have difficulty with Phonological Awareness:

Children develop phonological awareness skills at different rates. Some may need more support than others. Here are some signs that could suggest your child may need more support:

  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes
  • Trouble associating sounds to letters
  • Struggles with counting syllables
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Trouble with blending sounds
  • Struggles with rhyming or coming up with rhyming words

If you are concerned about your child’s phonological awareness skills, please feel free to contact us. We can answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.  Our speech therapists are available to work with your child to help build the skills he or she may need.

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