Hello and Welcome to Phonics and Homeschooling. The resources for teach children at home. A method of teaching reading in which people learn to associate letters with the speech sounds they represent, rather than learning to recognize the whole word as a unit. Also find information about children education at home or Homeschooling.

Phonological Awareness Skills

Phonological awareness refers to metalinguistic knowledge of the sound structure of language--that is, conscious awareness of the phonological structure of sentences, phrases, and words. Phonological awareness skills are not spelling skills; they do not concern knowledge of letters at all. A child can be completely phonologically aware and still be completely illiterate, with no knowledge or understanding of letters or the relationship between letters and sounds. Children develop phonological awareness skills by consciously attending to how words sound--by listening to words, not looking at how they are written. Phonological awareness skills are, however, believed to be an indispensable foundation to the acquisition of spelling and reading skills. This point will be explained below.

It is important to know that, unlike the ability to use and understand spoken language, phonological awareness does not develop naturally. Like other metalinguistic knowledge (for instance, identifying the subject of a sentence or detecting a phonological process in action), most people do not develop it unless they are directly taught. Therefore, if phonological awareness is founational to reading skills, and it does not develop unless taught, many reading experts recommend phonological awareness training as a prerequisite to early literacy training. Phonological awareness can develop in some people as a result of being trained to use an alphabet, but there is no guarantee that it will. Research has found a strong correlation between lack of phonological awareness and reading failure. This suggests that some people need phonological awareness training in order to learn to read.

There are several levels of phonological awareness skills, corresponding to layers of phonological structure in language. Phonological awareness develops in top-down fashion; that is to say, the learner begins at the level of the whole word and gradually moves to ever-smaller parts of the word. Some scholars refer to these as shallower vs. deeper levels of phonological awareness. The shallower skills pertain to larger word-parts, the deeper skills to smaller word parts.

Shallower phonological awareness skills:
  • Awareness that sentences and phrases can be divided up into single words
    o For example, knowing that 'what're ya doing?' can be divided up into what, are, you and doing
  • Awareness that some words share sounds or sound sequences
    o For example, that the words sing and ring rhyme, or that the words sat and mad have the same middle sound, or that the words black and blue have the same beginnings.


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