Phonological awareness

How does phonological awareness contribute to reading success?

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear the sounds within language. Children with good phonological awareness can hear:

  • words and word spaces in language
  • syllables (a unit of pronunciation with one vowel sound; for example, cat has one syllable, water has two syllables)
  • rhyme (two or more words with the same ending sound; for example, ring, sing, thing)
  • alliteration (two or more words with the same beginning sound; for example Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers)
  • phonemes (the individual sounds within a word; for example, dog has three phonemes, d-o-g).

Being able to hear or ‘isolate’ these sounds gives children a foundation for learning to manipulate the sounds of sentences and words as they learn to read and spell.

How can families encourage phonological awareness at home?

  • Read aloud books or poems with rhyming words at the end of lines or sentences. Allow children to join in and predict the next rhyming word.
  • Listen for and clap with the syllables of familiar and new words, for example, jump-ing, wa-ter, ha-ppi-ness, fab-u-lous.
  • Sing songs, say nursery rhymes, chants, riddles, silly poems, tongue twisters and jokes.