Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Phonological Awareness-Why is it Important?

This is a huge question. Some reading researchers think that phonological awareness in kindergarten is a very strong indicator of future reading success.  They also believe that the most common barrier to early word reading is an inability to process language phonetically. Even children for whom their parents have done extensive reading with them at a young age, 25% can end up with a problem with phonological awareness.

What to do?  The good news is that phonological awareness skills CAN be taught, and they're actually quite fun for most children.  For older children, specific phonics instruction can actually strengthen their phonological awareness skills. Most children like phonological awareness games because they're typically done purely auditorily, which means you can play them in the car, at the grocery store, while you're waiting for the doctor....anywhere!

There are different levels of phonological awareness:

  • Rhyme awareness (cat, fat, bat, sat, etc.)
  • Phonemic awareness (an awareness of the phonemes, or different sounds in words)
  • Segmenting
  • Blending
  • Manipulating sounds
In the next week or so I'll list some specific activities and games you can do with your children for these particular skills.

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