What is phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness is the ability to recognise and manipulate the spoken parts of sentences and words. Examples include being able to identify words that rhyme, recognising alliteration, segmenting a sentence into words, identifying the syllables in a word, and blending and segmenting onset-rimes. The most sophisticated — and last to develop — is called phonemic awareness.
Children who have good phonological awareness skills can identify that when the teacher says b-a-t that the word is 'bat'; they can say all the sounds in the spoken word 'dog' and know that if the last sound in the word 'cart' is removed the word would then change to 'car'.
Why is phonological awareness important?
Developing strong competencies in phonological awareness is important for all children, as the awareness of the sounds in words and syllables is critical to hearing and segmenting the words they want to spell, and blending together the sounds in words that they read. In other words, phonological awareness skills are the basis for reading. Without these important skills, potential reading difficulties may arise in the early years. A child who has concrete phonological skills will have a strong platform in which to develop reading skills.