Home / phonological awareness songs and fingerplays / Phonological Awareness - Indiana

Phonological Awareness - Indiana - phonological awareness songs and fingerplays

Phonological Awareness - Indiana-phonological awareness songs and fingerplays

Phonological Awareness
Defining Phonological Awareness
To become proficient readers and spellers, students need to develop phonological
awareness, which includes the ability to identify, think about, and manipulate the sounds
in oral/spoken language1. Phonological awareness includes two types of skills: (1)
phonological sensitivity and (2) phonemic awareness (See Figure 1).1, 2, 3 Phonological
sensitivity includes larger units of language such as words, syllables, onsets, and rimes,
and phonemic awareness involves the smallest, individual sounds in spoken speech.
Figure 1. Key Phonological Awareness Concepts1,2,3
Phonological Awareness:
identifying, thinking about, and manipulating the sounds in oral/spoken language
Phonological Sensitivity: Phonemic Awareness:
ness of units of language larger awareness of individual phonemes
than phonemes
Larger Units of Language: Phonemes:
rds, syllables, onsets, & rimes speech sounds used in spoken
language (e.g., /k/, /ch/, //)
To teach phonological awareness skills, teachers must have a strong understanding of
phonology - the speech sounds in oral/spoken language and the rules for sequencing,
combining, and pronouncing those sounds1,3. Teachers who have greater knowledge of
the components of language are better equipped to teach reading and spelling to young
children and to individuals with and at-risk for dyslexia5. The units of language important
for teaching phonological awareness are described in Table 1.
Table 1. Phonological Units of Language3,4
Unit Description Examples
Word whole words bat, farm, swim, top
compound words sandbox, baseball, campground
Syllable a word or word part that party = part + y; it has two syllables because
contains one vowel sound it has two vowel sounds: /ar/ and //
the part of a word that comes the onset in tap is [t]; the onset in swim is
Onset before the vowel sound; [sw]; there is no onset in the word at and the
some words do not have an rime is [at]
Unit Description Examples
the vowel sound and the rime in tap is [ap]; the rime in swim is
Rime everything that follows the [im]; the rime in at is [at]
vowel sound in a word
the smallest unit of sound in /b/ in the word bat; /h/ in the word hat; bat
Phoneme a word; it is what makes one and hat differ by their first phoneme (/b/
word different from another versus /h/)
Note. Adapted from Honig et al. (2018)4 and Moats et al. (2020)3.
Development of Phonological Awareness Skills
Children's phonological awareness skills develop gradually over time, and they typically
acquire phonological sensitivity of the larger units of language before they become
aware of the individual sounds in speech (Figure 2). For example, it will be easier for a
child to orally blend together the syllables in a word (e.g., base + ball = baseball), than
to orally blend individual speech sounds (e.g., /k/ // /t/ = cat).
Figure 2. Development of Phonological Skills
Words Syllables Onsets & Phonemes
Phonological Sensitivity Phonemic Awareness
Phonemes - The Smallest Unit of Sound
There are approximately 43 phonemes or speech sounds in the English language and
these phonemes are categorized by how the sounds are produced in the mouth.3 Most
materials and programs for teaching reading and spelling use phonics symbols for these
43 phonemes (such as /k/ for the first sound in the word cat or // for the first sound in
word at) and phonics symbols will be used throughout this toolkit.
There are 25 consonant phonemes and they are spoken with the mouth partially closed
and the teeth, lips, or tongue interrupt the airflow.
Table 2 Consonant Phonemes3,4
Phonemes Phonic Symbol (Example)
speech sounds in /b/ (boy), /ch/ (chip), /d/ (dig), /f/ (fun), /g/ (get), /h/ (hop), /j/
which the mouth is (gym), /k/ (cat), /l/ (lag), /m/ (mix), /n/ (nap), /ng/ (sing), /p/
partially closed and (pet), /r/ (rat), /s/ (sat), /sh/ (wish), /t/ (top), /th/ - unvoiced
the flow of air is (with), /th/ - voiced (that), /v/ (van), /w/ (went), /wh/ (white), /y/
blocked by the (yet), /z/ (zit), /zh/ (decision)
teeth, lips, or tongue
Note. Consonant and vowel phonemes are categorized by their sounds, not the letters used to represent
those sounds.
Consonant phonemes can also be classified by where they are made in the mouth and
how they are pronounced:
Continuous- sounds that can be held out until air runs out (/m/, /n/, /ng/, /f/, /v/,
/th/, /th/, /s/, /z/, /sh/, /zh/, /w/, /y/, /l/, /r/)
Stop phonemes- sounds cannot be held out; air flow is stopped (/p/, /b/, /t/, /d/,
/k/, /g/, /h/, /ch/, /j/, /wh/)
Voiced- sounds pronounced with the vocal cords vibrating (/b/, /d/, /g/, /n/, /m/,
/ng/, /v/, /th/, /z/, /zh/, /j/, /w/, /y/, /l/, /r/)
Unvoiced- the vocal cords to not vibrate (/p/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /f/, /th/, /s/, /sh/, /h/, /ch/,
When beginning instruction in blending, teachers should first select words that begin
with continuous phonemes, because these are easier than words that begin with stop
phonemes. Although teachers do not typically teach the terms "voiced' and "unvoiced"
during phonological awareness instruction, it is helpful for teachers to know the
difference between these two types of phonemes because they can use this knowledge
to help students correct their pronunciation. For example, a student who is making the
/p/ phoneme voiced, can be told by a teacher to say the /p/ with a "puff of air." Teachers
could also have students put their hands up to their neck/throat to feel whether or not it
is vibrating.
There are 18 vowel phonemes, and they are spoken with the mouth open and
uninterrupted airflow.3 All vowel phonemes are voiced and continuous, but have
additional features (see Table 3) to classify them:
Short: vowel sounds made when the vocal cords are relaxed; a breve symbol (//)
above the vowel letter indicates the short sound
Long: vowel sounds made when the vocal cords are tensed; a macron symbol
(//) above the vowel indicates the long sound

Which is an example of a phonological activity? EXAMPLES OF . LOWER-LEVEL PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS ACTIVITIES . Children and teacher sing songs, read books, or recite poems that include rhyming or alliteration, but teachers do not draw explicit attention to the sounds of language. For example: Class sings rhyming songs or recites poems but teachers do not stress or point out the rhyming words.