The Importance of Phonological Awareness

The term “phonological awareness” is often thrown around when teachers and parents discuss a child’s ability to read. However, the meaning of phonological awareness, as well as its important relationship to reading, is sometimes overlooked. Phonological awareness can refer to a few different components of reading – mainly, it is used to refer to the “awareness of the phonological segments in speech” (Blachman, 2000). Children who have a high level of phonological awareness can separate words into individual sounds and put them back together. Many studies have shown that there is a strong positive correlation between good phonological awareness and reading ability. However, it is important to mention that no correlation has been shown between intelligence and phonological awareness – in other words, if a child has trouble sounding out words, it does not mean that he or she will have trouble in other academic areas.

Photo Credit Deposit Photos

So why is phonological awareness so crucial to reading and spelling? Well, first of all, phonological awareness encompasses knowledge of letter-sound correspondence. This then leads to the ability of segmenting sounds (i.e. “cat” is separated into /c/ /a/ /t/) and blending sounds (/d/ /o/ /g/ makes the word “dog”). Both of these skills translate into reading – children start reading by sounding out letters on a page and then blending them into a word. Once blending and segmenting are mastered, a child can move on to learning about other spelling rules (such as letter blends, diphthongs, closed syllables, etc).

Another argument, that is not as prominent as the other, is that phonological awareness improves a student’s vocabulary.  When a student learns a new word, he or she must be able to distinguish it from other words and sound it out correctly. A student who has good phonological awareness skills tends to have a stronger vocabulary.

Stay tuned for our next blog about phonological awareness activities that you can practice with your child at home!

Advertisements

One thought on “The Importance of Phonological Awareness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s