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“Phonological Awareness”

“Phonological Awareness”

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING 

Let’s talk today about something that is important to me as an educator—phonological awareness. This term describes a person’s ability to be able to hear the structure of words including the smaller sounds in words such as syllables and single sounds. A reader’s phonological awareness is a strong predictor of reading ability, with many studies showing that poor readers struggle in this area. Being able to recognize and use the smaller sounds in words are important skills for children to have. Children who are phonemically aware should be able to identify when sounds in a word are the same, identity and make up rhymes, and parse out the syllables in a word. Parents can do a lot of simple things to help develop these skills in children. Common action rhymes, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, are great places to start introducing the structure and rhyming capabilities of words. Also, playing games with words can help children practice hearing and using word sounds. A simple game of coming up with rhyming words is a great place to start or, for a more complex version, start stringing word sounds into sentences, such as “making milk was Molly moo-cows main matter.”   Another great way to engage children with word sounds is through singing and listening to music. Because music naturally breaks up words into syllables, hearing and playing around with the words in songs naturally helps children recognize sound divisions. And last, but not least, read books with rhymes.  Some of my favorites include:The classic Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill MartinThe extensive series Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney, shows there is no end to rhymes,No Sleep for the Sheep! By Karen Beaumont, provides a good foundation for connecting beginning word sounds andPete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin is a rhythmic feast. So with that little bit of advice and a few poems, games, songs, and books, you’re well on your way to helping your children develop their own phonological awareness. 


At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

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