What is Phonological Awareness?

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Phonological awareness means knowing that language is an object, something that may be analyzed and manipulated by them in different ways: to rhyme, to play word games, and to talk about. Phonological awareness is an umbrella term, meaning that is a broad term that encompasses a lot of sub skills (including phonemic awareness!). 

 

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Phonological awareness involves the detection and manipulation of sounds at four levels of sound structure:

word: the ability to hear individual words
syllables: the ability to chunk words into parts at the syllable level
onsets and rimes: the ability to segment words at a unit smaller than syllables
phonemes (phonemic awareness): the ability to segment individual sounds in words

How does phonological awareness develop?

While phonological awareness skills don't always develop in a linear pathway, some phonological awareness skills are considered simpler than others. 

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Why is phonological awareness important?

  • Phonological awareness is directly related to reading ability

  • Although the relationship is reciprocal, phonological awareness precedes skilled decoding

  • Phonological awareness reliably predicts later reading ability

  • Deficits in phonological awareness are usually associated with deficits in reading

  • Early intervention can promote the development of phonological awareness

  • Improving a child's phonological awareness can and usually does result in improvements in reading ability

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