What is Phonological Awareness?


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!). 



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. 


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

Want to learn more from OpenLiteracy?

Sign up for News and Notes delivered to your inbox each Monday SIGN UP
Never miss a post on Facebook FOLLOW US
Have a literacy question you’d like answered? EMAIL US