Hearing and Recognising the Sound Patterns in Words

Remember that phonological awareness is different from phonics.

Phonological awareness is our ability to hear and recognise the sound patterns in words. It involves auditory discrimination and the ability to hear the sequences of sound and hold those sequences in memory. It also involves  stored auditory patterns – being able to think how a word sounds ‘in your head’ and working from that stored pattern.

Phonics is the way in which the written form of the language relates to the auditory form i.e. being able to relate shapes to individual phonemes and see how they form words and sentences.

  • Always remember to use the pure form of the phoneme without adding an “uh” sound. Phonemes like p.t.c.s.f.sh.ch.h. all need to be produced in a “whisper” without the addition of the “uh”.
  • From a sound awareness perspective how the task is presented affects the skills needed to complete it. Sometimes children will use an aspect of the task to bypass the skill needed e.g. if the way the word is stored is inaccurate, then he will not be able to work from his memory of the word to complete the task. If, during the task he can see the written word, he may use this to do the task while not actually using the stored auditory pattern.

Refer below to the different levels of support needed to enable the child to succeed at the activity.

A picture game – the task is to find the initial sound for the picture.

Option one – teacher says the word slowly stressing the first sound.
Option two – teacher says the word unstressed.
Option three – child says the word out loud for himself.
Option four – child says the word under his breath.
Option five – the child says the word ‘in his head’ and immediately gives the initial sound.

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Last updated: 5 November 2015

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