Phonological Awareness

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 sounds and hold those sequences in the memory.  It also involves stored auditory patterns - being able to think how a word sounds ‘in your head’ and working from that stored pattern.

A difficulty with phonological awareness may affect a child’s ability to develop clear speech and/or literacy skills. They will be children who have difficulties with any or all of the following:

  • Auditory discrimination of speech sounds
  • Production of speech sounds in isolation or in words
  • Rhyme and syllable formation
  • Sequencing sounds
  • Decoding and encoding phonics

In addition they MAY also be experiencing problems with processing and comprehension. Children with a hearing loss (including those with ‘glue ear’) will frequently have difficulty with phonological awareness. Where there are significant concerns about a child’s ability to hear this should be checked by the school nurse or a peripatetic teacher of the deaf.

Children who are having difficulties with phonological awareness will benefit from a structured approach incorporated into classroom routine to TEACH them skills to effectively develop their speech.

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Last updated: 5 November 2015

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