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.