Phonological awareness is a foundational skill that is defined as the ability to manipulate oral language. It involves word structure and includes blending, segmenting, judging, and recombining words. It is a necessary skill because it relates to the individual’s developing literacy skills. Early phonological awareness skills are demonstrated by using rhyming, clapping out syllables, and identifying words that start with the same letter.
Phonological awareness is developed at different rates depending on the child. Difficulties can be identified by looking closely at how the child is working with sounds and words. For preschoolers, the child may have trouble with singing along with nursery rhymes, counting syllables, and identifying alliteration in the words. For grade-schoolers, it can be identifying first sounds in words, blending of sounds, and rhyming words. Strong phonological awareness skills help in developing vocabulary and word awareness. By building phonological awareness, we are helping children through attending to unfamiliar words, repeating words correctly, encoding words, and differentiating words.
Building phonological awareness skills can be done in both the educational and home setting and is beneficial for early literacy and academic success. Incorporating it daily can be found in activities like having the child find words that rhyme, reading rhyming books and songs, or even asking the child to produce words that start or end with the same sound.
Overall, phonological awareness is a building block to reading and writing for children. Developing and working on these skills can help benefit the child in their later academic years and future success. Here is a list of rhyming books to check out from your local library or put on your child’s wish birthday or holiday wish list!
- Jesse Bear, What Will you Wear? By Nancy White Carlstrom
- Silly Sally By Audrey Wood
- Is Your Mamma a Llama? By Deborah Guarino
- Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do you Hear? By Bill Martin, Jr.
- Time for Bed By Mem Fox
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom By Bill Martin, Jr.
- Sheep in a Jeep By Nancy E. Shaw
- In The Tall, Tall Grass By Denise Fleming
- Miss Mary Mack By Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott
10. Good Night Moon By Margaret Wise Brown
Anthony, J. L., & Francis, D. J. (2005). Development of phonological awareness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(5), 255-259.