Phonological Awareness in
Laura Street, Speech Pathologist
Nikki Worthington, Speech Pathologist
Jane Francis Gooden, Speech Pathologist
Wednesday, January 1
What is Phonological Awareness
Why is it important
The pieces of phonological awareness + activities
Resources and information
Phonics Vs Whole Language
Wednesday, January 2
Phonological Awareness -
There are many different „terms‟ used when describing
early literacy skills and this can be confusing. A list
of these terms and their definitions has been
Phonological or Phonemic Awareness
Rapid Automative Naming
Wednesday, January 3
Why is Phonological Awareness
Research has shown that phonological awareness is the most
powerful predictor of success in learning to read and spell
(Wagner and Torgeson, 1987)
Wednesday, January 4
Why is Phonological Awareness
A study of 288 5-year-old kinder children found that
children who were successful at performing phonological
awareness tasks‟ learnt to read words with greater ease
(Torgesen et all., 1994)
Catts and Kamhi (2005, p.130) claim that there is now
“compelling evidence” regarding the importance of
phonological awareness as a pre-requisite for learning to
Wednesday, January 5
and ESL students
Considering the large number of ESL
students in Victorian schools – limited
time is spent explicitly teaching how
Australian sounds are made.
Wednesday, January 6
ESL Students – some facts
Mandarin – The only final consonants are
/n/, /ng/ and /r/.
Vietnamese - /b/ & /d/ do not occur and
there are no consonant clusters.
Somali - /b/, /d/, /g/ are devoiced in word
final and word initial position.
Wednesday, January 7
and ESL students
Research indicates that all children - irrespective of their
native language - are likely to benefit from early
interventions that include phonological awareness training.
There is a correlation between vocabulary development and
effective literacy instruction in ESL students.
When foreign language learners are explicitly taught the
phonology (sound system) of the new language they are able
to improve both their ability to learn the target language
and improve their phonological awareness skills.
Wednesday, January 8
and older students.
Many new arrivals from overseas start at
school with little or no reading skills.
Those children still experiencing reading
difficulty in grades 3/4/5/6 would benefit
from explicit teaching of the sound system
as well as improving their phonological
Wednesday, January 9
The Pieces of phonological
Alliteration Segmenting Blending
Wednesday, January 10
The ability to break up sentences
Mynameislaura My name is Laura
Compound words are divided into
their meaningful parts
Treehouse Tree house
Love and Reilly, 1996
Wednesday, January 11
Word Awareness Activities
Clap words in sentences. Select sentences
of increasing length.
Read poems and books – students to tap
each word in selected sentences.
Wednesday, January 12
Words can be broken into syllables
1syllable cat, mouse, etc.
2 syllable Walking, doctor
3 syllable Hospital, elephant
4 syllable supermarket, television
5 syllable … abracadabra
How many in „supercalafrajelisticexpialidocious‟?
Wednesday, January 13
Breaking words into beats/syllables
Make a list of 1-5 syllable words. Ask student
to identify syllables/beats in words by:
Touching their head or knees
Hitting a drum etc.
Ticking or colouring in parts of a picture
Love and Reilly: The Train Game
Wednesday, January 14
This requires recognition and
production of words that rhyme;
words that end with the same group
E.g. Which words rhyme: sun, shirt, fun
E.g. What word rhymes with cat?
Wednesday, January 15
Recognising rhyming words
Rhyming books – Identify and discuss rhyming words
(e.g. Dr Seuss). E.g. “Sam and Ham rhyme because they
have the same sounds at the end. Do „fox‟ and „box‟ and
box have the same sounds at the end?”
„Sounds of the Century Quiz‟
Questions could include:
Does ……………… rhyme with ……………….?
Tell me the two words that rhyme: (give four options e.g.
dog map kite lap)?
Nursery rhymes – Learn and recite nursery rhymes.
Wednesday, January 16
Producing rhyming words
Make silly rhyming sentences by asking the student to
provide rhyming words e.g. The dog was lost in the…(fog)
Change a popular nursery rhyme using new rhyming words.
E.g. I have five fingers and rhyme with band… (hand)
Older students: Write a rap song.
Wednesday, January 17
The ability to identify the first
sound in words.
Bat, scarf, show
Produce new words that begin with
the same sound
Bat, bird, big, bite, basket
Wednesday, January 18
Read books involving alliteration. E.g.
Animalia, Each Peach Plum Pear, Sheep in a
Expand on character names in books using
alliteration e.g. „Hector and Maggie‟ =
„Horrible Hector and Magnificent Maggie‟
Wednesday, January 19
(beginning, medial and final sounds)
Identification of how many sounds are in
words and working out the component
sounds of blends
Car /k/ and /a/
Cat /k/, /æ/, /t/
Skate /s/, /k/, /ei/, /t/
Wednesday, January 20
Sound Level Activities
Segmenting words into sounds
Eye spy e.g. I spy with my little eye something
beginning with the sss sound.
Ask the student to select one word from each page of
a book and discuss:
What does the word mean?
How many sounds (sounds at the start, middle and end)?
How many letters?
What does the word rhyme with?
Does it remind the student of any other words?
Why is it interesting?
The student can write the word in a „Cool Words Book‟
and draw a picture.
Wednesday, January 21
Sound Level Activities
Discuss the difference between long and short sounds.
„Test‟ sounds by drawing snakes.
Wednesday, January 22
•Identify sounds using counters or blocks. Different coloured
counters can be use to represent consonants vs vowels.
•Nonsense words can also be used to prevent reliance on sight
c a t “Change the „c‟ sound to a „b‟”
b a t
b r u sh “Change the „b‟ sound to a „c‟”
c r u sh
Wednesday, January 23
Individual parts of words, either
syllables or sounds are given and the
child is required to „push them
together‟, and discover the whole
E.g. /r/ - /æ/ - /k/ rack
Wednesday, January 24
Sound Level Activities
Love and Reilly blending activity:
“I know a family of „ipets‟ who live underground. They had fifty
babies last week and each baby has a different name. You find
the name by putting together the sounds I give you.”
ar-d, m-ar, f-igh, p-oy-l, j-ar-g, s-n-ee etc
Extend on the length and complexity of the words by inculding
longer words and words containing consonant clusters.
Wednesday, January 25
The ability to change sounds in words
take the first sounds from
Second sound from
Wednesday, January 26
The ability to substitute one sound in a
word for another sound.
take the /s/ and substitute with /p/
take the /n/ and substitute with /t/
Wednesday, January 27
Phonologicalawareness activities require concept
knowledge e.g. first, beginning, middle, last, end,
Ensure students have the necessary concept knowledge in
order to be able to comprehend and complete tasks.
Make activities fun, exciting and active. Be
creative!! Incorporate the use of art, craft,
musical instruments, imaginary play, ball games
Think of new ways to use the resources you
Wednesday, January 28
The knowledge of the letter/sound
Children with reading difficulties
often lack confidence and knowledge
in the area of phonics.
Wednesday, January 29
In order to teach phonics it is important
to understand how Australian sounds are
There are 44 sounds in Australian - English
and this group of sounds is comprised of:
24 consonants and
Wednesday, January 30
Speech sounds are usually described using the
Manner - how
Placement - where
Voiced/voiceless – vocal chords or not
Wednesday, January 31
Manner – refers to the type of
Placement – refers to the position of
the articulators involved in making
Wednesday, January 32
Voiced Vs Voiceless
Voiced sounds are produced when the
vocal folds vibrate i.e. /d/ or /a/
Voiceless sounds are produced
without the use of the focal folds
which are left open i.e. /t/ or /s/
Wednesday, January 33
Wednesday, January 34
Tools of the trade:
Consonant flash cards
Vowel flash cards – short and long
Blend flash cards
What sound does each letter make?
What letter corresponds with each sound?
In order to achieve reading proficiency students require a
high level of fluency in this area i.e. Immediate recall of
sounds and letters.
Wednesday, January 35
Emphasise the difference between „sounds‟ and „letters‟.
Sounds are noises we make using our mouth, lips, tongue and
We hear and say sounds.
Letters are used to represent sounds in words.
We see and write letters.
Discuss single sounds that are represented by two letters e.g.
ch, sh, th
“That‟s the letter. Now tell me the sound?”
Wednesday, January 36
(Jane Passy) can be used in
classroom activities to provide ‘p’ as in pick
visual cues for the
discrimination of sounds e.g.
Story time focusing on a
Cued Articulation Song
Each sound has a
Wednesday, January 37
Knowledge of the most frequently
occurring words in text allows poor readers
to access a great deal of the text they
encounter without having to resort to
decoding skills that they might not have
yet mastered. (Multilit website)
These words need to be learnt by rote and
children should be able to read them
quickly and consistently.
Wednesday, January 38
There are a number of word lists
Magic 100 words – M100W
Making up lost time in literacy –
Words should be placed on
flashcards and practiced regularly
Wednesday, January 39
Choose a quiet place to work with minimum
Select an appropriate seating arrangement so that
the student can see your face.
Follow the students lead. Discuss pictures and
Use modelling, repetition and positive
Wednesday, January 40
Pause, Prompt and Praise
Pause = When child comes across an unknown word pause
before offering any help
Prompt = If the child is still unable to decode the word then
provide a clue. These may include providing the first sound,
reading the rest of the sentence to gain context and
discussing features of the word
Praise = Praise the child regularly for fluent, accurate
reading and when they are able to decode an unfamiliar
Wednesday, January 41
Fluent readers are able to recognise,
predict and decode text quickly and
Dysfluent readers have difficulty
retrieving words and sounds rapidly and
consistently which leads to slow and
Wednesday, January 42
Ensure the child is reading books that match their
reading ability. Children on a whole should be able
to read 85% of the words in a book.
Read each page to the student prior to them
having a go.
Read the same book more than once
Wednesday, January 43
Free Resources on the World
Wednesday, January 44
Books and games are available from:
www.blacksheeppress.co.uk ( England)
Wednesday, January 45
Whole Language Vs Phonics
Sometimes when I put my special
education hat on, I see this
controversy [whole language vs.
phonics] as simply another issue of
Wednesday, January 46
Installing ramps at building entrances
doesn‟t keep me (a temporarily able
bodied person) out, but it does allow
others in. Providing a sign language
interpreter for a public meeting
doesn‟t keep me from listening to the
speakers, but it does allow our deaf
citizens to participate..
Wednesday, January 47
Teaching decoding and phonemic
awareness doesn‟t hinder those lucky
children who would become readers
almost effortlessly, but it does allow
those children who need the explicit
instruction to become readers too.
It allows them to access the world of
Wednesday, January 48
If you think about it, opening up the
world in this way also has benefits
for the rest of us. In the first
example, those of us who may be
pushing a child in a pram can use the
ramps that were originally installed
for users of wheel chairs.
Wednesday, January 49
In the second example, as I‟m listening
to the speaker, I can perhaps benefit
from the interpreter‟s use of body
language and other nonverbal
expression to enrich my
understanding of the speaker‟s
Wednesday, January 50
Surely, there is such an enrichment for
the able reader who is exposed to the
wonderful songs, word play, and word
games that we use for teaching,
decoding and phonemic awareness.
- Paula Stanovich, 2000
Wednesday, January 51
Wednesday, January 52
Thank you for your attendance.
Wednesday, January 53