Many might be having the same question: What is phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness refers to a reliable predictor of kids’ future literacy abilities. According to studies, kids who can identify letter sounds in a spoken word or a new word are more likely to become proficient readers.
Although children can naturally develop phonological awareness abilities, instructors and parents can speed up the process by having them participate in enjoyable phonological awareness exercises.
The first step in raising the caliber of your instruction is to look for phonological awareness materials.
What is phonological awareness in detail? And how to teach it? This blog helps answer those.
1. What Distinguishes Phonemic Awareness Skills from Phonological Awareness Skills?
Although they are closely linked, phonemic awareness skills and phonological awareness skills are not the same. Phonemic awareness focuses on the individual sound units, while phonological awareness focuses on how to combine and split those sound units to form full words.
2. What is Phonological Awareness?
The capacity to hear and control a unit of individual sounds in spoken language is known as phonological awareness. It’s a catch-all phrase for the manipulation of many sound components, such as individual phonemes, rhyme, onset, and syllables.
Vowels and consonants combine to form a unit of sound that gives language play its meaning. For instance, the words “water” and “constant” each contain two syllables.
Any word’s onset is its initial phonological component, such as the “b” in the boy.
A phoneme is the tiniest and most identifiable component of the final sound you hear in a word. For instance, the word “dog” includes three distinct phonemes: a short “aw” sound, a “g” sound, and the letter “d” which is the first sound.
So, you might have a question: Is phonological awareness important? Of course yes! Phonological skills and awareness abilities include the ability to add, remove, and substitute syllables and manipulate phonemes in words as well as recognize words in a phrase and be responsive to rhyme.
3. What is Phonemic Awareness?
Phonemic awareness is the ability to distinguish, take into account, and make use of particular sounds, or phonemes, in spoken words. This involves removing and manipulating the sounds in spoken words, combining sounds into words, and segmenting words into sounds.
In other words, the capacity to identify and work with a phoneme, the smallest unit of sound, is called phonemic awareness. Phonemes are made up of the alphabet’s 26 letters, both separately and in combination.
Since you cannot further subdivide these individual sounds, they are phonemes. For instance, even though the beginning sound /sh/ comprises two letters, it can only be divided into one sound.
4. Phonological Awareness Activities – Importances
So, why is phonological awareness activities important? The importance of phonological awareness stems from the fact that it establishes the groundwork for early learning.
Since learning to decipher and spell printed words is a key component of developing phonological awareness, success in reading and spelling depends on a continuum of abilities that must be mastered over time.
When learning to read, which for average readers begins in pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade, phonological awareness is particularly crucial. Many pupils’ future reading difficulties can be avoided by explicitly teaching phonological awareness during these formative years.
But struggling decoders of any age can practice developing their phonological awareness, particularly if they have difficulties mixing or segmenting phonemes. I will go into further detail on the importance of phonological awareness for young children below.
4.1. Encourages Understanding and Employing the Alphabetic Code
A system of correspondences between phonemes and graphemes—the letters used to represent and blend sounds—is known as the alphabetic code.
It serves as the basis for understanding how to read and write in English.
Phonological awareness abilities, particularly phoneme awareness, aid in the recognition and manipulation of various blend sounds in the alphabetic code.
4.2. Predicts the Achievement of Reading Skills
Word recognition and print awareness are both facilitated by phonological awareness. Strong phonological awareness abilities enable children to distinguish between distinct initial sounds when reading. Children who are more adept at phonological awareness, later on, are more likely to succeed in learning to read and write.
By evaluating a child’s ability and familiarity with vocabulary, letters, word reading, and, segmenting sounds, you may anticipate how successfully their reading abilities will grow with better reading instructions being provided and speaking activities will increase gradually and they will become fluent readers.
4.3. Encourages Language and Vocabulary Growth
The break words that kids comprehend or use expressively in conversation are referred to as their vocabulary.
The foundation for recognizing decode words and blending sounds in spoken language and combining them to create new smaller words is phonological awareness. For instance, you might create the word fat by taking out the sound /c/ from the word cat and replacing it with the sound /f/.
5. Phonological Awareness Instruction
Every kid develops phonological awareness abilities in a different way. While some kids can recognize individual sounds in spoken words on their own, others might require a little encouragement to train their ears to do so. The following advice can help you educate kids on phonological awareness.
5.1. Spend Time Practicing Consistent, Purposeful Instructions
Poor reading and spelling development are mostly caused by a lack of phonological awareness. Children’s literacy abilities are directly enhanced by systematic and clear phonological awareness education. Teachers should include phonological awareness and foundational skill instruction in their curricula.
Before going on to more challenging tasks like the segmentation of silly sentences or blending and segmenting syllables, start with the simpler ones that focus on rhyme and alliteration.
5.2. Be Jovial and Lively
Children learn best via play because it enables them to connect socially and transmit concepts to others. When teaching phonological awareness, you should take into account a variety of interesting and enjoyable exercises.
Songs and games are the two most popular ones. In the part after this, I’ll talk more about them.
5.3. Analyze Kids Often
Regular evaluation has many different effects. Assessment can be used to gauge a child’s development and identify individuals who require further help. This is a great way to keep track of the development of the kids and modify your teaching approach.
5.4. Rhyme-Matching Game
Children can match rhyming pairs of image cards with the rhyme memory match exercise, which is a fun rhyme activity. Ask the kids to choose two cards, one at a time, after arranging the rhyming picture cards in rows with their faces down.
Then instruct the kids to put matching cards on the sides and put non-matching cards back where they came from.
5.5. Word Games with Rhyming Cards
For this exercise, you’ll need rhyming picture cards and rhyme boards. Give each child their own rhyming board, and then place the face-down stack of rhyme picture cards.
The first student should choose the top card in the stack, identify the object in the picture, in this case, a dog, and then match it to a picture on the board that has rhyming new words that are comparable, in this case, a log. As they place the image over the rhyming words that go with it on the picture board, the kid should also repeat the rhyming words.
5.6. Twisted Tongues
Tongue twisters are sentences that use the same sound repeatedly but not different individual sounds, such as “Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.” A certain speech sound can be practiced in this manner which may also improvise oral language and manipulate sounds.
5.7. Within the Room
By speaking a letter sound and encouraging kids to discover things in the classroom that begin with the same sound, you may help them practice their starting sounds. Can you locate anything in the classroom that begins with the sound of the letter ‘b’, for instance?
5.8. Unknown Bag
For this activity, give kids some hints and put objects in a bag with the same initial sound to see if they can identify the items.
5.9. Species Names
Animal image cards are required for this exercise. Then ask them to identify the sound they hear before the name of the animals.
5.10. Robot Speech
Robotic speech is a fantastic tool for teaching phoneme mixing. Spell out the individual sounds in words that make up any common word slowly, for example, the boy is /b/…/o/…/y/. After that, tell the kids to repeat the word level in its entirety.
5.11. Sentence Contest
Say something like, “The cat is fleeing.” You may either use another simple statement or repeat the first one as you move down the line. The initial stage in developing phonological awareness and sound manipulation is word recognition.
Due to the fact that it aids kids in recognizing words in spoken language, the sentence game is great for fostering phonological awareness.
Because it helps children learn and use the alphabetic code, forecasts success with literacy skills, and fosters language and vocabulary growth, phonological awareness activity is crucial for early childhood education.
Phonological awareness may be taught to students and families through a variety of entertaining and interesting activities. Phonological awareness is one of the essentials of child plans for young parents.
That, together with the appropriate techniques, such as routinely testing children, concentrating on one or two particular skills at a time, and allocating daily time to teaching phonological awareness skills, may significantly impact a child’s literacy development.