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Nursery Rhymes Compilation (Unedited)

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Nursery rhyme
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
See also: Children's music and Children's song

Illustration of "Hey Diddle Diddle", a popular nursery rhyme
A nursery rhyme is a traditional poem or song for young children in Britain and many other countries, but usage only dates from the late 18th/early 19th century and in North America the term Mother Goose Rhymes, introduced in the mid-18th century, is still often used.[1]
[hide] * 1 History * 1.1 Lullabies * 1.2 Early nursery rhymes * 1.3 19th century * 2 Meanings of nursery rhymes * 3 Nursery rhyme revisionism * 4 Nursery rhymes and education * 5 See also * 6 Notes
Main article: Lullaby
The oldest children's songs of which we have records are lullabies, intended to help a child sleep. Lullabies can be found in every human culture.[2] The English term lullaby is thought to come from "lu, lu" or "la la" sound made by mothers or nurses to calm children, and "by by" or "bye bye", either another lulling sound, or a term for good night.[3] Until the modern era lullabies were usually only recorded incidentally in written sources. The Roman nurses' lullaby, "Lalla, Lalla, Lalla, aut dormi, aut lacta", is recorded in a scholiumon Persius and may be the oldest to survive.[4]
Many medieval English verses associated with the birth of Jesus take the form of a lullaby, including "Lullay, my liking, my dere son, my sweting" and may be versions of contemporary lullabies.[3] However, most of those used today date from the 17th century. For example, a well known lullaby such as "Rock-a-bye, baby on a tree top", cannot be found in records until the late-18th century when it was printed by John Newbery (c. 1765).[3]
Early nursery rhymes[edit]
A French poem, similar to "Thirty days hath September", numbering the days of the month, was recorded in the 13th century.[5] From the later Middle Ages there are records of short children's rhyming songs, often as marginalia.[6] From the mid-16th century they begin to be recorded in English plays.[7] Most nursery rhymes were not written down until the 18th century, when the publishing of children's books began to move from polemic and education towards entertainment, but there is evidence for many rhymes existing before this, including "To market, to market" and "Cock a doodle doo", which date from at least the late 16th century.[8]
The first English collections, Tommy Thumb's Song Book and a sequel, Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, are both thought to have been published before 1744, with such songs becoming known as 'Tommy Thumb's songs'.[9] The publication of John Newbery's compilation of English rhymes, Mother Goose's Melody, or, Sonnets for the Cradle(London, c. 1765), is the first record we have of many classic rhymes, still in use today.[10][11] These rhymes seem to have come from a variety of sources, including traditionalriddles, proverbs, ballads, lines of Mummers' plays, drinking songs, historical events, and, it has been suggested, ancient pagan rituals.[1] About half of the currently recognised "traditional" English rhymes were known by the mid-18th century.[12]
19th century[edit]
In the early 19th century printed collections of rhymes began to spread to other countries, including Robert Chambers's Popular Rhymes of Scotland (1826) and in the United States, Mother Goose's Melodies (1833).[1] From this period we sometimes know the origins and authors of rhymes—for instance, in "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" which combines the melody of an 18th-century French tune "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" with a 19th-century English poem by Jane Taylor entitled "The Star" used as lyrics.
Early folk song collectors also often collected (what were now known as) nursery rhymes, including in Scotland Sir Walter Scott and in Germany Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim in Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1806–1808).[13] The first, and possibly the most important academic collection to focus in this area was James Orchard Halliwell's, The Nursery Rhymes of England (1842) and Popular Rhymes and Tales in 1849, in which he divided rhymes into antiquities (historical), fireside stories, game-rhymes, alphabet-rhymes, riddles, nature-rhymes, places and families, proverbs, superstitions, customs, and nursery songs (lullabies).[14] By the time of Sabine Baring-Gould's A Book of Nursery Songs (1895), folklore was an academic study, full of comments and foot-notes. A professional anthropologist, Andrew Lang (1844–1912) produced The Nursery Rhyme Book in 1897. The early years of the 20th century are notable for the illustrations to children's books including Caldecott's Hey Diddle Diddle Picture Book (1909) and Arthur Rackham'sMother Goose (1913). The definitive study of English rhymes remains the work of Iona and Peter Opie.[12]
Meanings of nursery rhymes [edit]
Many nursery rhymes have been argued to have hidden meanings and origins. John Bellenden Ker (?1765–1842), for example, wrote four volumes arguing that English nursery rhymes were actually written in 'Low Saxon', a hypothetical early form of Dutch. He then 'translated' them back into English, revealing in particular a strong tendency to anti-clericalism.[15][16] Many of the ideas about the links between rhymes and historical persons, or events, can be traced back to Katherine Elwes's book The Real Personages of Mother Goose (1930), in which she linked famous nursery-rhyme characters with real people, on little or no evidence. She assumed that children's songs were a peculiar form of coded historical narrative, propaganda or covert protest, and rarely considered that they could have been written simply for entertainment.[15][17] Title | Supposed origin | Earliest date known | Meaning supported by evidence | "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" | The slave trade; medieval wool tax | c. 1744 (Britain) | Medieval taxes were much lower than two thirds. There is no evidence of a connection with slavery.[18] | "Doctor Foster" | Edward I of England | 1844 (Britain) | Given the recent recording the medieval meaning is unlikely.[18] | "Goosey Goosey Gander" | Henry VIII of England | 1784 (Britain) | No evidence that it is linked to the propaganda campaign against the Catholic Church during the reign of King Henry VIII.[19] | "The Grand Old Duke of York" | Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York in the Wars of the Roses; James II of England, or Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany Flanders campaign of 1794–5. | 1913 (Britain) | The more recent campaign is more likely, but first record is very late. The song may be based on a song about the king of France.[20] | "Humpty Dumpty" | Richard III of England; Cardinal Wolsey and a cannon from theEnglish Civil War | 1797 (Britain) | No evidence that it refers to any historical character and is originally a riddle found in many European cultures. The story about the cannon is based on a spoof verse written in 1956.[18][21] | "Jack and Jill" | Norse mythology; Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette | 1765 (Britain) | No evidence that it stretches back to early medieval era and poem predates the French Revolution.[18] | "Little Boy Blue" | Thomas Wolsey | c. 1760 (Britain) | Unknown, the identification is speculative.[18] | "Little Jack Horner" | Dissolution of the Monasteries | 1725 (Britain), but story known from c. 1520 | The rhyme may have been adapted to satirise Thomas Horner who benefited from the Dissolution, but the connection is speculative.[18] | "London Bridge Is Falling Down" | Burial of children in foundations; burning of wooden bridge byVikings | 1659 (Britain) | Unknown, but verse exists in many cultures and may have been adapted to London when it reached England.[18] | "Mary Had a Little Lamb" | An original poem by Sarah Josepha Hale inspired by an actual incident. | 1830 (USA) | As a girl, Mary Sawyer (later Mrs. Mary Tyler) kept a pet lamb, which she took to school one day at the suggestion of her brother.[22] | "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" | Mary, Queen of Scots, or Mary I of England | c. 1744 (Britain) | Unknown, all identifications are speculative.[18] | "Old King Cole" | Various early medieval kings and Richard Cole-brook a Reading clothier | 1708–9 (Britain) | Richard Cole-brook was widely known as King Cole in the 17th century.[18] | "Ring a Ring o' Roses" | Black Death (1348) or The Great Plague (1665) | 1790 (Britain) | No evidence that the poem has any relation to the plague. The 'plague' references are not present in the earliest versions.[15][18] | "Rock-a-bye Baby" | The Egyptian god Horus; Native American childcare; anti-Jacobite satire | c. 1765 (Britain) | Unknown, all identifications are speculative.[18] | "There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" | Queen Caroline of Ansbach; Elizabeth Vergoose of Boston. | 1784 (Britain) | Unknown, all identifications are speculative.[18] | "Three Blind Mice" | Mary I of England | c. 1609 (Britain) | Unknown, the identification is speculative.[18] | "Who Killed Cock Robin?" | Norse mythology; Robin Hood; William Rufus; Robert Walpole; Ritual bird sacrifice | c. 1744 (Britain) | The story, and perhaps rhyme, dates from at least the later medieval era, but all identifications are speculative.[18] |
Nursery rhyme revisionism[edit]

"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", from a 1901 illustration by William Wallace Denslow
There have been several attempts, across the world, to revise nursery rhymes (along with fairy tales and popular songs). Even in the late 18th century we can sometimes see how rhymes like "Little Robin Redbreast" were cleaned up for a young audience.[23][clarification needed] In the late 19th century the major concern seems to have been violence and crime, which led leading children's publishers in the United States like Jacob Abbot and Samuel Goodrich to 'improve' Mother Goose rhymes.[24][clarification needed]
In the early and mid-20th centuries this was a form of bowdlerisation, concerned with some of the more violent elements of nursery rhymes and led to the formation of organisations like the British 'Society for Nursery Rhyme Reform'.[25] Psychoanalysts such as Bruno Bettelheim strongly criticized this revisionism, on the grounds that it weakened their usefulness to both children and adults as ways of symbolically resolving issues and it has been argued that revised versions may not perform the functions of catharsis for children, or allow them to imaginatively deal with violence and danger.[26]
In the late 20th century revisionism of nursery rhymes became associated with the idea of political correctness. Most attempts to reform nursery rhymes on this basis appear to be either very small scale, light-hearted updating, like Felix Dennis' When Jack Sued Jill – Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times (2006), or satires written as if from the point of view of political correctness in order to condemn reform.[27] The controversy over changing the language of "Baa Baa Black Sheep" in Britain from 1986, because, it was alleged in the popular press, it was seen as racially dubious, was apparently based only on a rewriting of the rhyme in one private nursery, as an exercise for the children.[28]
Nursery rhymes and education[edit]
It has been argued that nursery rhymes set to music aid in a child's development.[29] Research also supports the assertion that music and rhyme increase a child's ability inspatial reasoning, which leads to greater success in school in the subjects of mathematics and science.[30]
See also[edit] | Children's literature portal | | Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nursery rhymes. | * Children's song * Fingerplay * Folklore * Kidsongs * Limerick (poetry) * List of nursery rhymes * Oral tradition
Notes[edit] 1. ^ Jump up to:a b c H. Carpenter and M. Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature(Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 383. 2. Jump up^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 6. 3. ^ Jump up to:a b c H. Carpenter and M. Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature(Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 326. 4. Jump up^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 6. 5. Jump up^ "Nursery Rhyme", Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 20 September 2013. 6. Jump up^ S. Lerer, Children's Literature: a Reader's History, from Aesop to Harry Potter (University of Chicago Press, 2008), pp. 69–70. 7. Jump up^ A. Fox, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500–1700 (Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 202. 8. Jump up^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 30–1, 47–8, 128–9 and 299. 9. Jump up^ H. Carpenter and M. Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature (Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 382–3. 10. Jump up^ A. H. Bullen's 1904 facsimile of Newbery's 1791 edition of Mother Goose's Melody(on-line) 11. Jump up^ H. Carpenter and M. Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature (Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 363–4. 12. ^ Jump up to:a b I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997). 13. Jump up^ H. Carpenter and M. Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature (Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 384. 14. Jump up^ R. M. Dorson, The British Folklorists: a History (Taylor & Francis, 1999), p. 67. 15. ^ Jump up to:a b c D. Wilton, I. Brunetti, Word myths: debunking linguistic urban legends (Oxford: Oxford University Press US, 2004), pp. 24–5. 16. Jump up^ H. Carpenter and M. Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature (Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 290. 1. I. Opie, 'Playground rhymes and the oral tradition', in P. Hunt, S. G. Bannister Ray,International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 179. 2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997). 3. Jump up^ C. Roberts, Heavy words lightly thrown: the reason behind the rhyme (Granta, 2004), p. 23. 4. Jump up^ E. Knowles, Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1941, 6th edn., 2004). 5. Jump up^ I. Opie, 'Playground rhymes and the oral tradition', in P. Hunt, S. G. Bannister Ray,International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 176. 6. Jump up^ Roulstone, John; Mary (Sawyer) and her friends (1928). The Story of Mary's Little Lamb. Dearborn: Mr. & Mrs. Henry Ford. 7. Jump up^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 371–2. 8. Jump up^ S. Wadsworth, In the Company of Books: Literature and Its "classes" in Nineteenth-century America (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2006), p. 22. 9. Jump up^ N. E. Dowd, D. G. Singer, R. F. Wilson. Handbook of children, culture, and violence(Sage, 2005), p. 136. 10. Jump up^ Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, p. 48,ISBN 0-312-29380-1. 11. Jump up^ F. Dennis, When Jack Sued Jill – Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times (Ebury, 2006). 12. Jump up^ J. Curran, J. Petley, I. Gaber, Culture wars: the media and the British left (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 85–107. 13. Jump up^ R. Bayley, Foundations of Literacy: A Balanced Approach to Language, Listening and Literacy Skills in the Early Years, 2004. 14. Jump up^ Associated Press, "Study says preschool music lessons may aid math skills", Chicago Tribune, August 14, 1994. 15. I. Opie, 'Playground rhymes and the oral tradition', in P. Hunt, S. G. Bannister Ray,International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 179. 16. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997). 17. Jump up^ C. Roberts, Heavy words lightly thrown: the reason behind the rhyme (Granta, 2004), p. 23. 18. Jump up^ E. Knowles, Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1941, 6th edn., 2004). 19. Jump up^ I. Opie, 'Playground rhymes and the oral tradition', in P. Hunt, S. G. Bannister Ray,International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 176. 20. Jump up^ Roulstone, John; Mary (Sawyer) and her friends (1928). The Story of Mary's Little Lamb. Dearborn: Mr. & Mrs. Henry Ford. 21. Jump up^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 371–2. 22. Jump up^ S. Wadsworth, In the Company of Books: Literature and Its "classes" in Nineteenth-century America (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2006), p. 22. 23. Jump up^ N. E. Dowd, D. G. Singer, R. F. Wilson. Handbook of children, culture, and violence(Sage, 2005), p. 136. 24. Jump up^ Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, p. 48,ISBN 0-312-29380-1. 25. Jump up^ F. Dennis, When Jack Sued Jill – Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times (Ebury, 2006). 26. Jump up^ J. Curran, J. Petley, I. Gaber, Culture wars: the media and the British left (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 85–107. 27. Jump up^ R. Bayley, Foundations of Literacy: A Balanced Approach to Language, Listening and Literacy Skills in the Early Years, 2004. 28. Jump up^ Associated Press, "Study says preschool music lessons may aid math skills", Chicago Tribune, August 14, 1994. A nursery rhyme is a short rhyming story, often set to music and usually designed for young children, such as those in a nursery. Songs for children are a part of many cultures, and they often serve as an oral record of important political and historical events. They also can preserve archaic forms of language. In the English language, the bulk of commonly used nursery rhymes date from the 16th-18th centuries, with some originating in Europe and others, such as Mary Had a Little Lamb, coming from North America.
A Learning Tool
Typically, a nursery rhyme has simple vocabulary and a catchy rhyme. Children can quickly learn to sing along with a nursery rhyme, and nursery rhymes are often used to help young children build their vocabulary. Counting is often integrated into nursery rhymes as well, so children also can learn to count using nursery rhymes. They also show children how to find and keep a beat, and they can be used to get children to start reading. When a child learns a nursery rhyme, he or she also can learn to follow it on a page, so many children learn the fundamentals of reading this way.

Nursery rhymes are often consolidated into collections, such as Mother Goose, a famous collection of nursery rhymes that actually originated in France. Translations were published in England and the United States, and later authors added rhymes or new interpretations to the collection. Many English-speaking children are familiar with at least one collection of Mother Goose rhymes. Some of these collections use very old rhymes, so the language of a Mother Goosenursery rhyme can sometimes be confusing for modern children, but it provides an interesting window into the way that people once spoke.
Hidden Meanings
In some cases, a nursery rhyme might have actually served as a mode of political expression or social commentary. Nursery rhymes sometimes dealt with controversial subjects or carried hidden messages. In these instances, the nursery rhyme would have been designed for adults more than children, in eras when people did not feel comfortable or safe speaking freely. Some of these adult rhymes took the form of satire or mockery, as is the case with Yankee Doodle.
Ideas for Parents
A collection of nursery rhymes typically includes songs, poems, short stories and illustrations. Parents are encouraged to read to and with their children to get them excited about reading and to improve their language skills. Enterprising parents might make up their own nursery rhymes, creating a rhyme using objects and places that are familiar to the child. In time, these rhymes can be passed from generation to generation through the oral tradition of singing nursery rhymes to children.
Ads by Google Nursery The Development of Phonological Skills
By: Louisa Moats, Carol Tolman

Basic listening skills and "word awareness" are critical precursors to phonological awareness. Learn the milestones for acquiring phonological skills.
Phonemic Awareness: Watch & Learn
Phonemic Activities for the Preschool or Elementary Classroom
Phonological skill develops in a predictable progression. This concept is important, as it provides the basis for sequencing teaching tasks from easy to more difficult. Table 1 outlines the relative difficulty of phonological awareness tasks. Table 2 is a more specific synthesis of several research reviews and summaries (Adams et al., 1998; Gillon, 2004; Goswami, 2000; Paulson, 2004; Rath, 2001) that ties specific ages to the typical accomplishment of those phonological awareness tasks.
Prerequisite to phonological awareness is basic listening skill; the acquisition of a several-thousand word vocabulary; the ability to imitate and produce basic sentence structures; and the use of language to express needs, react to others, comment on experience, and understand what others intend.
Table 1. Phonological skills, from most basic to advanced

Phonological Skill | Description | Word awareness | Tracking the words in sentences.Note: This semantic language skill is much less directly predictive of reading than the skills that follow and less important to teach directly (Gillon, 2004). It is not so much a phonological skill as a semantic (meaning-based) language skill. | Responsiveness to rhyme and alliteration during word play | Enjoying and reciting learned rhyming words or alliterative phrases in familiar storybooks or nursery rhymes. | Syllable awareness | Counting, tapping, blending, or segmenting a word into syllables. | Onset and rime manipulation | The ability to produce a rhyming word depends on understanding that rhyming words have the same rime. Recognizing a rhyme is much easier than producing a rhyme. | Phoneme awareness | Identify and match the initial sounds in words, then the final and middle sounds (e.g., "Which picture begins with /m/?"; "Find another picture that ends in /r/").Segment and produce the initial sound, then the final and middle sounds (e.g., "What sound does zoo start with?"; "Say the last sound inmilk"; "Say the vowel sound in rope").Blend sounds into words (e.g., "Listen: /f/ /ē/ /t/. Say it fast").Segment the phonemes in two- or three-sound words, moving to four- and five- sound words as the student becomes proficient (e.g., "The word is eyes. Stretch and say the sounds: /ī/ /z/").Manipulate phonemes by removing, adding, or substituting sounds (e.g., "Say smoke without the /m/"). |

Table 2. Ages at which 80-90 percent of typical students have achieved a phonological skill

Age | Skill Domain | Sample Tasks | 4 | Rote imitation and enjoyment of rhyme and alliteration | pool, drool, tool
"Seven silly snakes sang songs seriously." | 5 | Rhyme recognition, odd word out | "Which two words rhyme: stair, steel, chair?" | | Recognition of phonemic changes in words | "Hickory Dickory Clock. That's not right!" | | Clapping, counting syllables | truck (1 syllable) airplane (2 syllables) boat (1 syllable) automobile (4 syllables) | 5½ | Distinguishing and remembering separate phonemes in a series | Show sequences of single phonemes with colored blocks: /s/ /s/ /f/; /z/ /sh/ /z/. | | Blending onset and rime | "What word?" th-umb qu-een h-ope | | Producing a rhyme | "Tell me a word that rhymes withcar." (star) | | Matching initial sounds; isolating an initial sound | "Say the first sound in ride (/r/);sock (/s/); love (/l/)." | 6 | Compound word deletion | "Say cowboy. Say it again, but don't say cow." | | Syllable deletion | "Say parsnip. Say it again, but don't say par." | | Blending of two and three phonemes | /z/ /ū/ (zoo)
/sh/ /ǒ/ /p/ (shop)
/h/ /ou/ /s/ (house) | | Phoneme segmentation of words that have simple syllables with two or three phonemes (no blends) | "Say the word as you move a chip for each sound." sh-e m-a-n l-e-g | 6½ | Phoneme segmentation of words that have up to three or four phonemes (include blends) | "Say the word slowly while you tap the sounds." b-a-ck ch-ee-se c-l-ou-d | | Phoneme substitution to build new words that have simple syllables (no blends) | "Change the /j/ in cage to /n/.
Change the /ā/ in cane to /ō/." | 7 | Sound deletion (initial and final positions) | "Say meat. Say it again, without the /m/."
"Say safe. Say it again, without the /f/." | 8 | Sound deletion (initial position, include blends) | "Say prank. Say it again, without the /p/." | 9 | Sound deletion (medial and final blend positions) | "Say snail. Say it again, without the /n/."
"Say fork. Say it again, without the /k/." |

Paulson (2004) confirmed the hierarchy of phonological skill acquisition in 5-year-olds entering kindergarten. Only 7 percent of 5-year-olds who had not yet had kindergarten could segment phonemes in spoken words. The production of rhymes was more difficult for 5-year-olds than commonly assumed, as only 61 percent could give a rhyming word for a stimulus. Only 29 percent could blend single phonemes into whole words. Although some young students will pick up these skills with relative ease during the kindergarten year — especially if the curriculum includes explicit activities — other students must be taught these metalinguistic skills directly and systematically.
Moats, L, & Tolman, C (2009). Excerpted from Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS): The Speech Sounds of English: Phonetics, Phonology, and Phoneme Awareness (Module 2). Boston: Sopris West.

For more information on Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) visit the Sopris West LETRS website. -------------------------------------------------
Phonological awareness
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Phonological awareness refers to an individual's awareness of the phonological structure, or sound structure, of words.[1][2][3] Phonological awareness is an important and reliable predictor of later reading ability and has, therefore, been the focus of much research.[4][5][6]
[hide] * 1 Overview * 2 Development * 3 Phonological awareness and reading * 4 Intervention * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
Phonological awareness involves the detection and manipulation of sounds at three levels of sound structure: (1) syllables, (2) onsets and rimes, and (3) phonemes. Awareness of these sounds is demonstrated through a variety of tasks (see below). Although the tasks vary, they share the basic requirement that some operation (e.g., identifying, comparing, separating, combining, generating) be performed on the sounds. It is assumed that the individual performing these tasks must have awareness of the units of sound in order to perform the operation.
Phonological awareness is one component of a larger phonological processing system used for speaking and listening.[7][8][9] Phonological awareness is different from other phonological abilities in that it is a metalinguistic skill, requiring conscious awareness and reflection on the structure of language.[1][10] Other phonological abilities: such as attending to speech, discriminating between sounds, holding sounds in memory: can be performed without conscious reflection. However, these other phonological abilities are prerequisite to the development of phonological awareness. Therefore, general listening skills are often among those included in phonological awareness instruction.
The terms phonemic awareness and phonics are often used interchangeably with phonological awareness. However, these terms have different meanings. Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness that focuses specifically on recognizing and manipulating phonemes, the smallest units of sound. Phonics requires students to know and match letters or letter patterns with sounds, learn the rules of spelling, and use this information to decode (read) and encode (write) words. Phonemic awareness relates only to speech sounds, not to alphabet letters or sound-spellings, so it is not necessary for students to have alphabet knowledge in order to develop a basic phonemic awareness of language.
Phonological awareness tasks (adapted from Virginia Department of Education (1998):[11] and Gillon (2004)[1]
Listening skills
The ability to attend to and distinguish environmental and speech sounds from one another[11] * Alertness: Awareness and localization of sounds * Discrimination: Recognize same/different sounds * Memory: Recollection of sounds and sound patterns * Sequencing: Identify order of what was heard * Figure-ground: Isolate one sound from background of other sounds * Perception: Comprehension of sounds heard
Syllable-structure awareness tasks * Syllable segmentation: e.g., "How many syllables (or parts) are in the word coffee?"[12] * Syllable completion: e.g., "Here is a picture of a rabbit. I'll say the first part of the word. Can you finish the word ra_____?"[13] * Syllable identity: e.g., "Which part of complete and compare sound the same?"[12] * Syllable deletion: e.g., "Say finish. Now say it again without the fin"[14]
Onset-rime awareness tasks * Spoken word recognition: e.g., "Do these words rhyme: shell bell?"[12] * Spoken rhyme detection or rhyme oddity task: e.g., "Which word does not rhyme: fish, dish, hook?" [15] * Spoken rhyme generation: e.g., "Tell me words that rhyme with bell?"[13] * Onset-rime blending [9]
Phonemic awareness tasks * Alliteration awareness (aka phoneme detection and sound or phoneme categorization): e.g., "Which word has a different first sound: bed, bus, chair, ball?"[16] * Phoneme matching: e.g., "Which word begins with the same sound as bat: horn, bed, cup?" [16] * Phoneme isolation: e.g., "Tell me the sound you hear at the beginning of the word food" [3] * Phoneme completion: e.g., "Here is a picture of a watch. Finish the word for me: wa_____ "[13] * Phoneme blending with words or non-words: e.g., "What word do these sounds make: m...oo...n?" [9] * Phoneme deletion, also referred to as phoneme elision: e.g., "Say coat. Now say it again but don't say /k/"[14] * Phoneme segmentation with words or non-words: e.g., "How many sounds can you hear in the word it?[12] * Phoneme reversal: e.g., "Say na (as in nap). Now say na backwards"[9] * Phoneme manipulation: e.g., "Say dash. Now say it again, but instead of /æ/ say /I/"[14] * Spoonerism: e.g., felt made becomes melt fade[12]
Although some two-year-old children demonstrate phonological awareness, for most children, phonological awareness appears in the third year, with accelerating growth through the fourth and fifth years.[17][18][19][20] Phonological awareness skills develop in a predictable pattern similar across languages progressing from larger to smaller units of sound (that is, from words to syllables to onsets and syllable rimes to phonemes).[19][21][22][23][24][25][26][27] Tasks used to demonstrate awareness of these sounds have their own developmental sequence. For example, tasks involving the detection of similar or dissimilar sounds (e.g., oddity tasks) are mastered before tasks requiring the manipulation of sounds (e.g., deletion tasks), and blending tasks are mastered before segmenting tasks.[28] It should be noted that the acquisition of phonological awareness skills does not progress in a linear sequence; rather, children continue to refine skills they have acquired while they learn new skills.[28]
The development of phonological awareness is closely tied to overall language and speech development. Vocabulary size, as well as other measures of receptive and expressive semantics, syntax, and morphology, are consistent concurrent and longitudinal predictors of phonological awareness.[19][19][23][29][30][31][32][33][34] Consistent with this finding, children with communication disorders often have poor phonological awareness.[35][36][37]
Phonological development and articulatory accuracy is often correlated to phonological awareness skills, both for children with typical speech[38][39] and those with disordered speech.[2][40][41] In addition to milestones of speech and language development, speech and language processing abilities are also related to phonological awareness: both speech perception[31][42][43][44] and verbal short-term memory[42] have been concurrently and predicatively correlated with phonological awareness abilities.
Phonological awareness and reading[edit]
Phonological awareness is an important determiner of success in learning to read and spell. For most children, strong readers have strong phonological awareness, and poor readers have poor phonological awareness skills.[4][5][6][45] Phonological awareness skills in the preschool and kindergarten years also strongly predict how well a child will read in the school years.[15][46][47] In addition, interventions to improve phonological awareness abilities lead to significantly improved reading abilities.[15] Phonological awareness instruction improves reading and spelling skills, but the reverse is also true: literacy instruction improves phonological awareness skills.[48][49][50][51] The relationship between phonological awareness and reading abilities changes over time.[52] All levels of phonological awareness ability (syllable, onset-rhyme, and phoneme) contribute to reading abilities in the Kindergarten through second grade.[53][54] However, beyond the second grade, phoneme-level abilities play a stronger role.[55]
Phonological awareness and literacy is often explained by decoding and encoding.[1][56][57][58][59][60] In reading, decoding refers to the process of relating a word's written representation to its verbal representation. Especially in the early stages of reading, decoding involves mapping letters in the word to their corresponding sounds, and then combining those sounds to form a verbal word. Encoding: a process used in spelling: is similar, although the process goes in the opposite direction, with the word's verbal representation is encoded in a written form. Again, especially in the early stages of reading, encoding involves determining the sounds in a verbal word, and then mapping those sounds onto a letter sequence in order to spell out the written word. In both encoding and decoding, phonological awareness is needed because the child must know the sounds in the words in order to relate them to the letter sounds.
Phonological awareness is an auditory skill that is developed through a variety of activities that expose students to the sound structure of the language and teach them to recognize, identify and manipulate it. Listening skills are an important foundation for the development of phonological awareness and they generally develop first.[11][61] Therefore, the scope and sequence of instruction in early childhood literacy curriculum typically begins with a focus on listening, as teachers instruct children to attend to and distinguish sounds, including environmental sounds and the sounds of speech. Early phonological awareness instruction also involves the use of songs, nursery rhymes and games to help students to become alert to speech sounds and rhythms, rather than meanings, including rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and prosody. While exposure to different sound patterns in songs and rhymes is a start towards developing phonological awareness, exposure in itself is not enough, because the traditional actions that go along with songs and nursery rhymes typically focus on helping students to understand the meanings of words, not attend to the sounds. Therefore, different strategies must be implemented to aid students in becoming alert to sounds instead. Specific activities that involve students in attending to and demonstrating recognition of the sounds of language include waving hands when rhymes are heard, stomping feet along with alliterations, clapping the syllables in names, and slowly stretching out arms when segmenting words. Phonological awareness is technically only about sounds and students do not need to know the letters of the alphabet to be able to develop phonological awareness.
Students in primary education sometimes learn phonological awareness in the context of literacy activities, particularly phonemic awareness.[citation needed] Some research demonstrates that, at least for older children, there may be utility to extending the development of phonological awareness skills in the context of activities that involve letters and spelling.[citation needed] A number of scholars have been working on this approach.[citation needed]
See also[edit] * Auditory processing disorder * Dyslexia * Phonological Awareness for Literacy * Phonological deficit hypothesis
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The relation between speech perception and phonemic awareness: Evidence from low-SES children and children with chronic otitis media. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 39, 1059–1070. 44. Jump up^ Nittrouer, S., & Burton, L. T. (2005). The role of early language experience in the development of speech perception and phonological processing abilities: Evidence from 5-year-olds with histories of otitis media with effusion and low socioeconomic status. Journal of Communication Disorders, 38, 29–63. 45. Jump up^ Torgesen, J.,Wagner, R., & Rashotte, C. (1994). Longitudinal studies of phonological processing and reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 276–286. 46. Jump up^ Lundberg, I., Olofsson, A., & Wall, S. (1980). Reading and spelling skills in the first years predicted from phonemic awareness skills in kindergarten. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 21, 159-173. 47. Jump up^ Liberman, I. Y., Shankweiler, D., & Liberman, A. M. (1989). The alphabetic principle and learning to read. In D. Shankweiler & I. Y. Liberman (Eds.), Phonology and Reading Disability: Solving the Reading Puzzle. Research Monograph Series. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 48. Jump up^ Burgess, S.R., & Lonigan, C.L. (1998). Bidirectional relations of phonological sensitivity and prereading abilities: Evidence from a preschool sample. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 70(2), 117-141. 49. Jump up^ Perfetti, C. A., Beck, I., Ball, L. C., & Hughes, C. (1987). Phonemic knowledge and learning to read are reciprocal: A longitudinal study of first grade children. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 33, 283-319. 50. Jump up^ Bus, A., & Van IJzendoorn, M. (1999). Phonological awareness and early reading: A meta-analysis of experimental training studies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 403–414. 51. Jump up^ Troia, G. (1999). Phonological awareness intervention research: A critical review of the experimental methodology. Reading Research Quarterly, 34, 28–52. 52. Jump up^ Hazan, Valerie; Barrett (2000). "The Development of Phonemic Categorization in Children aged 6-12" (PDF). Journal of Phonetics 28: 377–396.doi:10.1006/jpho.2000.0121. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 53. Jump up^ Bryant, P., Bradley, L., Maclean, M., & Crossland, J. (1989). Nursery rhymes, phonological skills and reading. Journal of Child Language, 16, 407-428. 54. Jump up^ Engen, N., & Hoien, T. (2002). Phonological skills and reading comprehension. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15(7-8), 613-631. 55. Jump up^ Muter, V., Hulme, C., Snowling, M., & Taylor, S (1997). Segmentation, not rhyming, predicts early progress in learning to read. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 65,370-396. 56. Jump up^ Harm, M. W, & Seidenberg, M. S. (1999). Phonological, reading acquisition and dyslexia: Insights from connectionist models. Psychological Review, 106(3), 491-528. 57. Jump up^ Frost, R. (1998). Toward a strong phonological theory of visual word recognition: True issues and false trails. Psychological Bulletin, 123(1), 71-99. 58. Jump up^ Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P, & Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud; Dual-route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches. Psychological Review, 100(4), 589-608. 59. Jump up^ Ehri, L.C. (1992). Reconceptualizing the development of sight word reading and its relationship to recoding. In P. Gough, L. Ehri & R. Treiman (Eds.), Reading acquisition.(pp. 107–143). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 60. Jump up^ Seidenberg, M., & McClelland, J. (1989). A distributed, developmental model of word recognition and naming. Psychological Review, 96(4), 523-568. 61. Jump up^ Kurtz, R. (2010). Phonemic awareness affects speech and literacy. Speech-Language-Development. Retrieved from Expert Connection : January 01
Phonological Skills: Which Ones Really Matter the Most?—Paige Pullen
I've heard a lot about how important phonological skills are in early reading, but there seem to be so many of them. There's rhyming, deletion, segmenting, blending, substitution, and on and on. My question is, "Do I really need to teach all of these skills? Which ones are most important? What are good ways for me to teach them?" Trina, Boise, ID.
Additional Info:
Expert Response:
Editors' Note: For help with this timely question, we asked a member of our advisory board, Paige Pullen, to prepare an answer. Along the way, board member Benita Blachman provided some suggestions about the topic, too. Paige's answer follows. We greatly appreciate the time Paige and Benita took from their busy schedules to help The reference for this article is:
Pullen, P. C. (2002, October 1). Expert connection: Phonological Retrieved from
Your questions are good ones. Phonological awareness and its relationship to beginning reading have garnered enormous attention in the professional and practical literature in recent years, so there has been a lot said about it recently. Researchers are still seeking answers for important questions about which phonological skills should be taught, but a wealth of studies has provided valuable information about phonological awareness and which skills are most closely associated with later success in reading. Before discussing specific phonological skills, it is important to define phonological awareness.
What is Phonological Awareness?
Phonological awareness is the understanding that speech can be broken into smaller units of sound such as words, syllables, onsets and rimes, and phonemes. Your comment about there being many different phonological skills is correct. Researchers have assessed young children's facility with these skills in all of the ways shown in Table 1.
Children progressively become aware of the phonological structure of spoken language, with awareness moving from larger to smaller units of sound--from words to phonemes. The most advanced level of phonological awareness is the ability to manipulate oral language at the phoneme level. However, to become good readers they do not necessarily have to be taught each and every one of the skills shown in Table 1.
Which Phonological Awareness Skills Should be Taught? Table 1: Description of Common Phonological Skills | Recognizing Rhyme | Recognizing rhyme is one of the simplest phonological tasks. For example, "Do these words rhyme? Hat, Sat" or "Which of these words rhyme? Tan, Fan, Cap | Generating Rhyme | Generating rhymes is more difficult than recognizing rhymes because it requires the child to analyze a word and think of a word with the same rime pattern. "Can you tell me a word that rhymes with 'car'?" | Phoneme Identity | Identifying phonemes is frequently mentioned as a phonological skill. For example, children might be asked to identify pictures with the same beginning sound and to say that sound. When shown a group of four pictures, the child might say, "Map, mimttens, and money go together because they all start with the /m/ sound." | Blending | Blending requires children to combine smaller phonological units (i.e., syllables, onset-rimes, or phonemes) into normally-spoken words. It can be accomplished at various levels of phonological awareness, as illustrated in Table 2. | Segmenting | Segmenting skill involves the exact opposite of blending tasks. Given a whole word, the child can break the word into smaller chunks (i.e., syllables, onsets-rimes, and phonemes). Segmenting words into individual sound units (phonemes) is critical to successful decoding. | Deletion (Elision) | Deletion, also called elision, is a complex phonological skill that may not be developed until after formal reading instruction. Some believe that this skill is a result of reading instruction. Deletion tasks can also be performed at various units of sound. For example, "Say sunshine" [sunshine]; "Now say sunshine without saying sun" [shine]. "Say meet" [meet]; "Now say meet without saying /t/" [me]. |
Phonological awareness is considered necessary, yet insufficient for the acquisition of skilled decoding. To make full use of the alphabetic principle, children must be able to blend and segment the sounds of language. Thus, activities that help children develop the ability to blend and segment at the phoneme level will be most useful in their acquisition of decoding skills. However, young children may not be ready to manipulate individual sounds in words and should engage in tasks at intermediary levels of phonological awareness.
Blending and segmenting can be taught as verbal activities--without reference to letters--during the early stages of instruction. Many popular materials for promoting early reading skills (see notes) begin teaching blending and segmenting with easier tasks such as blending familiar compound words. Gradually, instruction progresses through intermediate tasks (syllables) to the level of individual phonemes. See Table 2 for an illustration of teacher questions at each step in the progression.
To have the greatest benefit on reading, however, phonological awareness instruction has to be combined with work on how letters represent sounds in speech. The National Reading Panel reported that phonemic awareness activities that are combined with letters are especially effective. In particular, students should have opportunities to manipulate phonemes while working with letters. For example, choose a target word, such as bug, and have children make new words by manipulating the phonemes (change bug to rug, change rug to run, change run to ran). Begin with manipulations of the initial phoneme and then move to more difficult alterations in the final and medial phonemes. Manipulating phonemes with letters provides an excellent opportunity to make the application of phonological awareness explicit to children, another important characteristic of effective phonological awareness instruction.
Another important attribute of effective phonological awareness instruction is that the use of one or two types of skills results in greater gains in reading than multiple types of skills. Because blending and segmenting at the level of the phoneme are the phonological skills used most often in decoding and spelling, they are the best candidates for teaching.
What about Students with LD? Table 2: Easy-to-Hard Progression | Stage of Instruction | Teacher Questions &
Student Answers | Beginning | T: I'll say a word broken up. You say it normally. "Hot---dog."
Ss: "Hotdog!" | Intermediate | T: I'll say a word broken up. You say it normally. "Sis---ter."
Ss: "Sister!" | Advanced | T: I'll say a word broken up. You say it normally. "Mmm---eee."
Ss: "Me!" |
Many of the studies about phonological awareness have actually been conducted with young children with learning disabilities, so this topic is particularly relevant for the readers of One important conclusion is that teaching phonological awareness is especially important for learners who have low initial phonological awareness skills, including many children at risk of developing learning disabilities.
Some of the points reiterated by most experts (e.g., the National Reading Panel) on phonological awareness will be familiar to teachers of students with LD: * Small-group lessons are the most effective format for teaching phonological awareness; * Explicit rather than discovery instruction is more effective; and * Teaching phonological awareness will also help students acquire spelling skills.
For more about phonological awareness instruction, please consult the resources provided at the end of this report.
Resources for Further Help
Several consensus documents are now available that provide descriptions of research that has been completed on phonological awareness and beginning reading. This section provides both references to professional literature and other sources for further information about phonological awareness.
Burns, M. S., Griffin, P., & Snow, C. E. (Eds.). (1999). Starting out right: A guide to promoting children's reading success.Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Armbruster, B. A., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2001). Putting reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Improving Early Reading Achievement.
Blachman, B. A. (2000). Phonological awareness. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.),Handbook of reading research (vol. III; pp. 483-502). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Lane, H. B., Pullen, P. C., Eisele, M. R., & Jordan, L. (2002). Preventing reading failure: Phonological awareness assessment and instruction. Preventing School Failure, 46, 101-111.
Lonigan, C. J., Burgess, S. R., & Anthony, J. L. (2000). Development of emergent literacy and early reading skills: Evidence from a latent-variable longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 36, 596-613.
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implication for reading instruction. Washington, D C: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Edit | Back Literature Review (2010)
I. Literature Review
The last decade has brought a growing consensus on the range of skills that serve as the foundation for reading and writing ability (Dickinson & Neuman, 2006; National Reading Panel Report, 2000; Neuman & Dickinson, 2001; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). To become a skilled reader, children need a rich language and conceptual knowledge base, a broad and deep vocabulary, and verbal reasoning abilities to understand messages that are conveyed through print. Children also must develop code-related skills, an understanding that spoken words are composed of smaller elements of speech (phonological awareness); the idea that letters represent these sounds (the alphabetic principle), the many systematic correspondences between sounds and spellings, and a repertoire of highly familiar words that can be easily and automatically recognized (McCardle & Chhabra, 2004; McCardle, Scarborough, & Catts, 2001).
But to attain a high level of skill, young children need opportunities to develop these strands, not in isolation, but interactively. Meaning, not sounds or letters, motivates children’s earliest experiences with print (Neuman, Copple, & Bredekamp, 2000). Given the tremendous attention that early literacy has received recently in policy circles (Roskos & Vukelich, 2006), and the increasing diversity of our child population, it is important and timely to take stock of these critical dimensions as well as the strengths and gaps in our ability to measure these skills effectively.
In the following sections, we first review the important skills that are related to early language and literacy achievement. We then provide recommendations for updating ECRR workshops.
I.1 The Critical Dimensions of Language and Literacy in Early Childhood
Language. Verbal abilities are consistently the best predictors of later reading achievement (Scarborough, 2001). Skilled readers typically draw upon multiple levels of the language system (Dickinson, McCabe, Anastasopoulos, Peisner-Feinberg, & Poe, 2003), with abilities encompassing vocabulary, syntax, and discourse. Vocabulary size in optimal settings may increase exponentially in the early years (some estimate about seven words a day) (Snow et al., 1998), with children learning to comprehend words spoken to them before they are able to produce them on their own. Word knowledge, however, is not just developed through exposure to increasingly complex language, but to knowledge-building language experiences (Neuman, 2001) that involve children in developing and refining networks of categorically-related concepts.
With opportunity and practice, children’s word knowledge is put to use in syntactic structures that grow in length and complexity. Children’s sentences often start at two words (Bloom, 1970), but quickly lengthen to four or more words as children communicate their ideas increasingly through language. Snow and colleagues (Snow, Baines, Chandler, Goodman, & Hemphill, 1991) have shown that conversations that are physically removed from immediate objects or events (i.e., ‘what if?’) are tied to the development of abstract reasoning and related to literacy skills like print production and narrative competence.
With word learning occurring so rapidly, children begin to make increasingly fine distinctions of words not only based on their meaning but also based on their sound. They begin to make implicit comparisons between similar sounding words, a phenomenon described by linguists as lexical restructuring (Goswami, 2001; Metsala, 1999). For example, a two-year old child probably knows the words “cat” from “cut;” “hot” from “not.” Distinguishing between these similar sounding words both quickly and accurately, children begin to hear sequences of sound that constitute each known word. Children with large vocabularies become attuned to these segments and acquire new words rapidly; children with smaller vocabularies may be limited to more global distinctions. Consequently, vocabulary size and vocabulary rate are important for lexical restructuring (i.e., making sound distinctions between words) (Goswami, 2001), and are strongly tied to the emergence of phonological awareness.
Recent analyses (Dickinson et al., 2003) have made it abundantly clear, however, that oral language skills, and more specifically vocabulary development, not only play a role in phonological awareness but also are critical skills for the development of reading comprehension later on. Therefore, it is essential for quality indicators in early childhood programs to recognize that oral language and vocabulary development is the foundation for all other skills critical to successful reading.
Phonological awareness. Based on a massive body of research (Burgess, 2006; Lonigan, 2006), phonological awareness is a critical precursor, correlate, and predictor of children’s reading achievement. Discriminating units of language (i.e., words, segments, phonemes) is strongly linked to successful reading (National Reading Panel Report, 2000). It is, however, as described above, both a cause and a consequence of vocabulary development and learning to read (Ehri & Roberts, 2006). Typically developing children begin first to discriminate among units of language (i.e., phonological awareness), then within these units (i.e., phonemic awareness). Phonological awareness refers to the general ability to attend to the sounds of language as distinct from its meaning. Phonemic awareness is the insight that every spoken word can be conceived as units of sounds that are represented by the letter of an alphabet (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
Evidence (Lonigan, 2006; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998) suggests that children achieve syllabic sensitivity earlier than they achieve sensitivity to phonemes, and sensitivity to rhyme before sensitivity to phonemes. Children’s entry to these skills typically begins with linguistic activities such as language games and nursery rhymes (Maclean, Bryant, & Bradley, 1987) that implicitly compare and contrast the sounds of words, and include alliterative phrases (i.e., bibbily bobbily boo begins with /b/). But implicit comparisons, alone, may be insufficient. Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are meta-linguistic abilities (Adams, 1990). Children must not only be able to recite and play with sound units, they must also develop an understanding that sound units map onto whole or parts of written language.
Phonological awareness should not be confused with phonics. The term phonics, or decoding, assumes that children understand the phonemic composition of words, and the phoneme-grapheme (sound/letter) relationship. Studies that have attempted to accelerate learning through early phonics training have shown no effects (Snow et al., 1998); in fact, evidence suggests that such training, without a firm understanding of phonemic awareness, may be detrimental to remembering words and learning to spell.
Recent reviews and analyses (Dickinson et al., 2003; Scarborough, 2001) have placed phonological awareness as a critical part of a complex braid of language abilities which include strands of phonology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics, and discourse. Its tie to children’s ability to decode has been clearly established. At the same time, quality indicators would do well to recognize that phonological awareness skills are integrally connected to other important language skills which need to be strongly bolstered in these early education and care programs.
Letter knowledge: Knowledge of the alphabet letters is a strong predictor of short- and long-term reading success (Bond & Dykstra, 1967; Chall, 1990). However, its influence on later reading is not about knowing the letter names, per se. Rather, the learning of letter names mediates the ability to remember the sounds associated with the letters (Ehri, 1979). Once again, there is a reciprocal relationship between skills: Letter knowledge plays an influential role in the development of phonological awareness, and higher levels of letter knowledge are associated with children’s abilities to detect and manipulate phonemes. For example, the child who knows the letter ‘b’ is likely to remember the sound of /b/. Consequently, letter knowledge may reflect a greater underlying knowledge and familiarity with literacy related skills such as language and print.
Research (Gibson & Levin, 1975) indicates that children differentiate letters according to their visual form, that is, their horizontal, vertical and diagonal segments. Given the complexities of the visually distinct forms of letters (upper case, lower case, printed form), current learning theory (Adams, 1990) suggests that simultaneously teaching two versions of letters with their confusable sounds and labels may be overwhelming to the young child. However, there is no substantial evidence to suggest which particular form (upper or lower case) should be taught first.
A growing body of research suggests that a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic factors influence the development of letter knowledge. Exposure to letters is a primary vehicle for alphabet knowledge. Children who participate frequently in adult-child writing activities that include a deliberate focus on print have better alphabet knowledge relative to those who may spend time on other activities like shared reading (Aram & Levin, 2004). Further, some letters tend to be learned earlier by children than others. In a recent investigation, Justice and her colleagues (Justice, Pence, Bowles, & Wiggins, 2006) reported that the single largest advantage for learning letters were the child’s first initials, compared to the lesser advantage of phonological features of the letters themselves. Given the variability among children in the specific letters they know, multiple methods for gaining letter knowledge are recommended.
Background Knowledge. For children to become skilled readers (Neuman & Celano, 2006), they will also need to develop a rich conceptual knowledge base and verbal reasoning abilities to understand messages conveyed through print. Successful reading ultimately consists of knowing a relatively small tool kit of unconscious procedural skills, accompanied by a massive and slowly built-up store of conscious content knowledge. It is the higher-order thinking skills, knowledge, and dispositional capabilities that enable young children to come to understand what they are reading.
Children’s earliest experiences become organized or structured into schemas, building blocks of cognition. Schemas (Anderson & Pearson, 1984) provide children with the conceptual apparatus for making sense of the world around them by classifying incoming bits of information into similar groupings. Stein and Glenn (1979), for example, provided a compelling case for schemas and their usefulness for recalling information about stories. Well-read to children internalize a form of story grammar, a set of expectations of how stories are told which enhances their understanding. Knowledge becomes easier to access (Neuman, 2001), producing more knowledge networks. And those with a rich knowledge base find it easier to learn and remember.
Quality indicators of a rich content base for instruction in early childhood programs include a content-rich curriculum in which children have opportunities for sustained and in-depth learning (Neuman, Dwyer, & Newman, submitted for publication), including play; different levels of guidance to meet the needs of individual children; a masterful orchestration of activity that supports content learning and social-emotional development; and time, materials and resources that actively build verbal reasoning skills and conceptual knowledge.
Print conventions. Recognizing that concepts about print in the English language are not intuitive, Marie Clay (1979), in her pioneering work with Maori children in New Zealand, identified a set of conventions that could be understood without being able to read. These conventions included, among others, the directionality of print in a book (left-to-right, top-to-bottom, front-to-back), differences between pictures and print, uses of punctuation, and definitional characteristics of a letter and a word. Knowing these conventions, she found, helped in the process of learning to read.
With the exception of a study by Tunmer and colleagues (Tunmer, Herriman, & Nesdale, 1988) demonstrating the relationship of these skills to later reading success, however, there is little evidence to suggest the predictive power of these skills on later achievement. Rather, print conventions act as an immediate indicator of children’s familiarity with text, and are not integrally related to the other language based skills associated with reading success. Therefore, while such conventions might be helpful to young children in navigating through books, these skills may not in the long run play a powerful role in learning to read.
Children who are English language learners experience each of these critical dimensions in the context of learning two languages, which only increases the complexity of the processes of language and literacy development. In order to become proficient in their second language, young children will need to familiarity with the phonology to the [second language], its vocabulary (typical everyday discourse as well as academic vocabulary, its morphology and grammar (Geva, 2006). Further, to become literate in a second language, it is important to have an adequate level of oral proficiency in that language (Bialystock, 2007). Research with second language learners has shown that oral language and literacy skills in the first language contribute to the development of those skills in the second language. For example, phonological awareness skills in the first language have been found to predict phonological awareness sand word recognition in the second language (Chiappe & Siegel, 1999; Cisero & Royer, 1995; Durgunglu, 1998). Although much more research is still needed about the ways in which English language learners develop literacy skills, this knowledge can help guide the development of further interventions.
In sum, research supports a particularly strong linkage between oral language, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, background knowledge, and to a much lesser extent, print conventions, in the preschool years. These skills are highly interdependent. Phonological awareness appears to influence vocabulary development and vocabulary rate. Letter knowledge supports phonological awareness. Code-related skills are highly predictive of children’s initial early reading success while oral language skills and background knowledge become highly predictive of comprehension abilities and later reading achievement. Each of these skills, when integrated in meaningful activity, has an important role to play in children’s literacy development.
I. 2 Research on Constrained/Unconstrained Skills
In 2002, the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP, 2008) was convened to conduct a synthesis of the scientific research in the development of early reading skills for children ages 2-5. Their report, recently issued (2008), indicated that the most powerful predictors of reading achievement were alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, rapid automatic naming, and that oral language and vocabulary were only moderate predictors of achievement.
Paris (2005), however, has most recently demonstrated the flaws in what has come to be understood as this traditional view. Early literacy skills, such as letter knowledge (knowing the letters of the alphabet), phonological awareness (sensitivity to the sounds in words), and concepts of print are best described as constrained skills-—skills that predict later achievement early on but that quickly asymptote after the age of 5. Contrary to constrained skills are vocabulary, comprehension and background knowledge; these skills are unconstrained, essentially never asymptote as children get older. These skills have the potential to grow throughout one’s lifetime, and can dramatically influence children’s long-term abilities both in reading and content areas.
This research has significant implications for teaching and our focus on the skills necessary for children to read. It suggests that although letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and concepts of print are initially important and should be taught, they lead only to temporary gains on skills, and do not predict long-term outcomes. The critical skills are vocabulary, comprehension, and background knowledge—skills that take more time to teach and review and these skills should be a major focus in helping children learn how to read.
I.3 Features of the Environment that Support Literacy Development
The environment can play a major role in promoting these critical skills for literacy development. The organization, structure, and complexity of the early childhood setting influence patterns of activity and engagement. For example, a fairly sizable number of studies (Morrow, 1990; Neuman & Roskos, 1992, 1997; Vukelich, 1994) have revealed the powerful influence of access to literacy tools on young children’s involvement in literacy activities. This research indicates that in settings carefully constructed to include a wide access of literacy tools, books, and play materials, children read more (Neuman & Roskos, 1992), and engage more in literacy-related play themes (Morrow, 1990), with resulting effects on literacy improvement (Neuman & Roskos, 1990).
The use of space in settings influences learning (Roskos & Neuman, 2001). Children use space and its boundaries to regulate and guide their own responses. For example, studies (Morrow, 1988; Neuman & Roskos, 1997) find that smaller, well defined niches and nooks seem to encourage greater language and collaboration with peers and adults. Children are likely to use these more intimate settings to interact in longer and richer conversation with others.
Relatedly, studies (Fernie, 1985) show evidence that the physical environment can have behavioral consequences. Some materials seem to encourage more sustained activity than others and invoke children’s attention at different ages. Materials that involve children in constructive activity, for example, tend to generate more language than “pull toys” (Rosenthal, 1973). Some materials elicit greater social interaction and cooperation, like block building, whereas others encourage more solitary and or parallel play, such as puzzles (see review, Roskos & Neuman, 2001).
The physical placement of objects, as well, influences children’s engagement in literacy-related activity. Children become more involved in sustained literacy play when objects are clustered together to create a schema or meaning network. For example, in one study (Neuman & Roskos, 1993), placing props associated with mailing letters together in a play setting (envelopes, writing instruments, stamps and stationary) led to longer play episodes than when these props were scattered throughout the room. Further, props that were authentic, familiar and useful to common literacy contexts, like telephones in the kitchen area, or mailboxes in the office area, encouraged more complex language interactions and routines.
The proximity of quality books at children’s eye view supports involvement in literacy-like enactments (Morrow & Weinstein, 1986; Neuman, 1999). In one of the first intervention studies of its type, Morrow and Weinstein (1986) examined the influence of creating library corners in early childhood settings. These library corners were specially constructed to include the following elements: (a) a clear location with well-defined borders; (b) comfortable seating and cozy spots for privacy; (c) accessible, organized materials; and (d) related activities that extended whole- and small-group book activities. Morrow and Weinstein (1986) found that the frequency of use rose significantly when library corners were made more visibly accessible and attractive. Similarly, in a large-scale study in 500 child care settings (Neuman, 1999), library settings were created to “put books in children’s hands” (p. 286). Observations indicated that children spent significantly more time interacting with books when they were placed in close proximity to children’s play activities.
Consequently, there is clear and abundant evidence that certain physical design features in environments support young children’s literacy engagement and subsequent achievement. Physical design features, uses of space, and resources, may help to focus and sustain children’s literacy activity, providing greater opportunity to engage in language and literacy behaviors. This research indicates, therefore, that a more deliberate approach to the selection and arrangement of materials according to specific design criteria may enhance children’s uses of literacy objects and related print resources.
Libraries might benefit from this research on the ecological features of environment. Creating cozy areas for children to sit and read together; constructing play spaces that help them learn to engage in playful behaviors that mimic library activities; and clustering objects such as books, toys, and writing implements together to encourage their sustained use of materials might enhance children’s independent engagement in the library areas.
I.4 Interactional Supports for Literacy Learning
Environments include not only physical settings, but psychological settings for literacy learning as well (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). Children are influenced by the participants present in a setting, their background experiences, their values and it is the integration of place, people, and occasion that support opportunities for learning. These individuals act as social and psychological resources that provide information and feedback through demonstrations and interactions. From a Vygotskian perspective (Vygotsky, 1978), the participants in the setting have the potential to help children perform at a higher level than they would be able to by interacting with their physical environment alone. It is the contrast between assisted and unassisted performance that differentiates learning from development.
A great corpus of research (Dickinson & Neuman, 2006; Neuman & Dickinson, 2001) identifies the types of supports that promote children’s language and literacy development. Essentially, they highlight both instructional and relational components. Since language represents the foundational basis for literacy learning in the early years, there is evidence that the amount of verbal input in settings enhances children’s language development (Hart & Risley, 1995; Hoff-Ginsberg, 1991). Children whose teachers engage them in rich dialogues have higher scores on tests of both verbal and general ability (Whitehurst et al., 1994). This is especially the case when discussions consist of adults encouraging, questioning, predicting and guiding children’s exploration and problem-solving (Palinscar, Brown, & Campione, 1993). Such verbal interactions contribute to children’s vocabulary growth which, in turn, is strongly correlated with phonological awareness, comprehension, and subsequent reading achievement.
Adults also engage in activities that are highly supportive of literacy development. Reading stories to children on a regular basis is regarded as one of the more potent supports for literacy learning (Bus, Van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995). Studies (Dickinson & Smith, 1994; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998) have shown that a parent’s style or approach to reading storybooks to children has both short-term and long-term effects on language and literacy development. Shared book reading activities, such as dialogic reading (Whitehurst et al., 1994), for example, and repeated readings (Biemiller, 2006) have been widely studied and identified as an important source of knowledge about vocabulary, about letters, and about the characteristics of written language. Recent studies (Beck & McKeown, 2007; Duke, 2000) also highlight the importance of introducing children to a wide variety of books in different genres such as information books, poetry, and popular folk tales.
Attention to and support of emergent writing (Clay, 1991) has also been shown to strongly connect with children’s developing phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and readiness skills. Activities involve ‘driting (drawing and writing), and adult scaffolding help to build the alphabetic principle (Adams, 1990). Further, interactions in literacy-related play have been shown to relate to children’s length of utterances, and sustainability in play themes (Neuman & Roskos, 1992). Taken together, activities that engage children in reading, writing, talking, and playing create occasions for meaningful communicative interactions involving language and print.
This research highlights the central role of the caregiver who evokes children’s interest and engagement in literacy learning. According to Bus, Van Ijzendoorn, and Pellegrini (1995), children build a mental representation of their interactions with caregivers that influence their expectations and responses to activities. When children feel secure, they engage in learning; when insecure in situations, they may use digressive tactics to avoid activity. For example, in a cross-sectional study of interactive reading with 18-, 32-, and 66-month children, Bus and van Ijzendoorn (1995) found that the atmosphere surrounding book reading was more positive among securely attached caregiver-child dyads than anxiously attached dyads. For securely attached children, book reading was ultimately an enjoyable task, tied to learning improvement; for insecurely attached children, it was negative, with caregivers often using verbal and nonverbal cues to discipline behavior.
Other studies (Blair, 2002; Blair & Razza, 2007; Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Miles & Stipek, 2006; Pianta, La Paro, Payne, Cox, & Bradley, 2002), as well, support the linkage between children’s emotional security and cognitive activity. For example, Howes and Smith (1995) report that in settings rich with creative play activities and staffed by adults who provide children with emotional security, children not only thrive socially but cognitively as well. Similarly Peisner-Feinberg and her colleagues (Peisner-Feinberg et al., 2001) found that the influence of close attachments between caregivers and children yielded even stronger positive effects for children from disadvantaged backgrounds than for children from more advantaged backgrounds. Recent studies (Hamre & Pianta, 2005) have shown that these emotional supports may have important moderating effects during the elementary school years as well. Shown in a recent study by Powell and his colleagues (Powell, Burchinal, File & Kontos, 2008), these types of supportive adult interactions are more likely to occur in small group and one-to-one instructional settings, rather than in whole group instruction.
1.5 Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners
All of these environmental supports are especially important for young English language learners (ELL). Their numbers have increased dramatically in the past 15 years in the United States. For example, in 1990, 1 in every 20 children was ELL, that is, a student who speaks English either not at all or with enough limitations that he or she cannot fully participate in mainstream English instruction. Today the figure is 1 in 9 (Goldenberg, 2008). Although these children come from over 400 different language backgrounds, by far the largest proportions of students are Spanish-speakers (over 80%) (U.S. Department of Education, 2005).
Recent syntheses of research (August & Shanahan, 2006; Rolstad, Mahoney, & Glass, 2005; Slavin & Cheung, 2005) suggest that when feasible, children should be taught in their primary language. Primary language instruction helps to promote bilingualism and, eventually, biliteracy. Further, children will need support in transferring what they know in their first language to learning tasks presented in English. Engaging children actively in meaningful tasks and providing many opportunities for them to participate at their functional levels will enable children to feel more efficacious, and to become contributing members in mainstream classrooms.
Adults will need to make adjustments and accommodations—sometimes described as ‘instructional scaffolding’—to support children who are beginning English speakers (Goldenberg, 2008). They may have to speak slowly and somewhat deliberately, with clear vocabulary and diction; they may need to use pictures or other objects to illustrate the content being taught; or ask for children to respond either non- verbally (e.g., pointing or signaling) or in one- or two-word utterances (Snow et al., 1998). ELL’s language needs are complex. These young children are not only learning a new language, but also a new set of social rules and behaviors that may be different from their home. Given the great variability among ELL children, adults will need to know the different stages of language learning to be able to implement the most appropriate accommodations (for addition information on accommodations (see Carlo et al., 2004; Francis et al., 2006; Vaughn et al., 2006). Consequently, these and other factors are especially important to ensure that these ELL children have many opportunities to use their second language (i.e., English) and their native language in meaningful and motivating situations.
From an ecological perspective, therefore, the physical and psychological environments play vital roles in children’s learning about literacy. These supports mediate opportunities for literacy engagement and practice, and will likely influence children’s attitudes and efforts to engage in literacy activities despite difficulties they may encounter as they learning to read proficiently.
To summarize, program features that support literacy development include:
• A supportive learning environment in which children have access to a wide variety of reading and writing resources.
• Developmentally appropriate practices that actively engages children’s minds and builds language and conceptual development.
• Adult engagement in children’s learning through conversations, discussions, and contingent responses to children’s questions and queries.
• A daily interactive book reading routine that introduces children to multiple genres, including information books, narrative, poetry, and alphabet books.
• Activities that support small group and one-to-one interactions and differing levels of guidance to meet the needs of individual children.
• A masterful orchestration of activities that supports play, learning and social-emotional development.
• Adjustments and accommodations for English Language Learners that allow them to successfully engage in learning activities in the classroom.
1.6 Potential Avenues for Revisions of ECRR materials
The ECRR kit includes activities that support six critical skills: Print motivation, phonological awareness, vocabulary, narrative skills, print awareness, and letter knowledge. All of these skills are important. At the same time, however, the library community might wish to do the following:
• Rename some of the skills to be better aligned with current research. This would include: phonological awareness, vocabulary and oral language development, print concepts that include letter knowledge and specific concepts about print, and background knowledge and comprehension. Specifically, the library community would be wise to emphasize the informational aspects of book reading and its important relationship to background knowledge and conceptual development.
• Some skills, particularly in these early years are more important than others. The library community might consider focusing on language, vocabulary and its relationship to comprehension and reading success. Letter knowledge, print concepts are constrained skills, with limited predictive power in the long-run for children’s achievement.
• The research literature clearly focuses on the importance of materials and interactions, as well as the social components in learning. The library community might consider adding these ecological factors which are critical for literacy motivation and learning. [This is an archived article]
Phonemic Awareness in Young Children
By: Marilyn J. Adams, Barbara Foorman, Ingvar Lundberg, Terri Beeler
Research shows that the very notion that spoken language is made up of sequences of little sounds does not come naturally or easily to human beings. The small units of speech that correspond to letters of an alphabetic writing system are called phonemes. Thus, the awareness that language is composed of these small sounds is termedphonemic awareness.
Speaking Is Natural; Reading and Writing Are Not
Phonemic Activities for the Preschool or Elementary Classroom
Sounds & Symbols (Launching Young Readers series)
Research indicates that, without direct instructional support, phonemic awareness eludes roughly 25 percent of middle-class first graders and substantially more of those who come from less literacy-rich backgrounds. Furthermore, these children evidence serious difficulty in learning to read and write (see Adams, 1990, for a review).
Why is awareness of phonemes so difficult? The problem, in large measure, is that people do not attend to the sounds of phonemes as they produce or listen to speech. Instead, they process the phonemes automatically, directing their active attention to the meaning and force of the utterance as a whole.
The challenge, therefore, is to find ways to get children to notice the phonemes, to discover their existence and separability. Fortunately, many of the activities involving rhyme, rhythm, listening, and sounds that have long been enjoyed by preschool-age children are ideally suited for this purpose. In fact, with this goal in mind, all such activities can be used effectively toward helping children develop phonemic awareness.
The purpose of this article is to provide concrete activities that stimulate the development of phonemic awareness in the preschool or elementary classroom. It is based on a program originally developed and validated by Lundberg, Frost, and Petersen (1988) in Sweden and Denmark.
What research says about phonemic awareness
A child's level of phonemic awareness on entering school is widely held to be the strongest single determinant of the success that she or he will experience in learning to read — or, conversely, the likelihood that she or he will fail (Adams, 1990; Stanovich, 1986). In fact, research clearly shows that phonemic awareness can be developed through instruction, and, furthermore, that doing so significantly accelerates children's subsequent reading and writing achievement (Ball & Blachman, 1991; Blachman, Ball, Black, & Tangel, 1994; Bradley & Bryant, 1983; Byrne & Fielding-Barnsley, 1991, 1993, 1995; Caslte, Riach, & Nicholson, 1994; Cunninghman, 1990; Lundberg et al., 1988; Wallahc & Wallach, 1979; Williams, 1980).
About the structure of language
In order to build phonemic awareness in all children, classroom teachers should know a little about the structure of language, especially phonology. Phonology is the study of the unconscious rules governing speech-sound production. In contrast, phonetics is the study of the way in which speech sounds are articulated, and phonics is the system by which symbols represent sounds in an alphabetic writing system.
Phonological rules constrain speech-sound production for biological and environmental reasons. Biological constraints are due to the limitations of human articulatory-motor production. For example, humans are not able to produce the high-frequency vocalizations of whales. Other constraints on our ability to produce speech have to do with the way our brains classify and perceive the minimal units of sound that make a difference to meaning — the units we call phonemes.
The differences between the sounds of two phonemes are often very subtle: Compare /b/ with /p/. Yet, these subtle differences in sound can signal dramatic differences in meaning: Compare bat with pat. Fortunately, because phonemes are the basic building blocks of spoken language, babies become attuned to the phonemes of their native language in the first few months of life. However, this sensitivity to the sounds of the phonemes and the differences between them is not conscious. It is deeply embedded in the subattentional machinery of the language system.
Phonemes are also the units of speech that are represented by the letters of the alphabetic language. Thus, developing readers must learn to separate these sounds, one from another, and to categorize them in a way that permits understanding how words are spelled. It is this sort of explicit, reflective knowledge that falls under the rubric of phonemic awareness. Conscious awareness of phonemes is distinct from the built-in sensitivity that supports speech production and reception. Unfortunately, phonemic awareness is not easy to establish.
Part of the difficulty in acquiring phonemic awareness is that, from word to word and speaker to speaker, the sound of any given phoneme can vary considerably. These sorts of variations in spoken form that do not indicate a difference in meaning are referred to asallophones of a phoneme. For example, in the northern part of the United States, the pronunciation of grease typically rhymes with peace, whereas in parts of the South, it rhymes with sneeze. Similarly, the pronunciations of the vowels vary greatly across regions, dialects, and individuals.
Alternately, variations in spoken form sometimes eliminate phonetic distinctions between phonemes. Thus, for some people, the words pin and pen are pronounced differently with distinct medial sounds corresponding to their distinct vowels. For other people, however, these words are phonetically indistinguishable, leaving context as the only clue to meaning. Indeed, because of variations in the language even linguists find it difficult to say exactly how many phonemes there are in English; answers vary from forty-four to fifty-two.
It is also important to note that phonemes are not spoken as separate units. Rather, they are co-articulated; that is, when we speak, we fuse the phonemes together into a syllabic unit. For example, when we say bark aloud, we do not produce four distinct phonemes: /b/, /a/, /r/, /k/. Instead, our pronunciation of the initial consonant is influenced by the medial vowel, and the medial vowel is influenced by the consonants before and after it. Thus, we talk about r-controlled vowels like the "ar" in bark. Similarly, we speak of nasalized vowelsbefore nasal consonants, such as in the words and, went, and gym. Because these vowels are assimilated into the following consonant in speech, most children have special difficulty representing them as distinct phonemes in reading and spelling, such that, for example,went might be read or spelled as W-E-T.
Consonants as well as vowels are affected by co-articulation. Consider the /t/ and /d/. Say the words write and ride. The /t/ and /d/ sound distinct in these two words. However, now say writer and rider. Now, the medial /t/ and /d/ phonemes are affected by /r/ in consonant blends. Pronounce the following pairs of words: tuck-truck; task-trash; dunk-drunk; dagger-dragon. Children notice the change in /t/ and /d/ when followed by /r/ and represent the phonetic detail with spellings of C-H-R-A-N for train and J-R-A-G-N for dragon.
The phonological awareness activities in this curriculum ask children to listen to the sameness, difference, number, and order of speech sounds. As the previous examples illustrate, such activities can become difficult when the phonetic level of speech does not relate cleanly or directly to the phonemic level. Yet, it is ultimately the phonemic level we are after because it is awareness of phonemes that allows children to understand how the alphabet works — an understanding that is essential to learning to read and spell.
About this curriculum
The design and sequence of activities in this article are intended to help children acquire a sense of the architecture of their language and the nature of its building blocks. As the children practice synthesizing words from phonemes and analyzing phonemes from words, they are also practicing hearing and saying the phonemes over and over, both in isolation and in context. They are becoming generally familiar with how the different phonemes sound and how they are articulated. They are becoming comfortable with hearing and feeling the identity and distinguishing characteristics of each phoneme, whether spoken in isolation or in the beginning, middle, or end of a variety of words.
Research shows that once children have mastered phonemic awareness in this way, useful knowledge of the alphabetic principle generally follows with remarkable ease — and no wonder: Having learned to attend to and think about the structure of language in this way, the alphabetic principle makes sense. All that's left to make it usable is knowledge of the particular letters by which each sound is represented. How to Develop Phonemic Awareness
What is phonemic awareness?
Phonemic awareness is the ability to understand how sounds work in spoken language. Because it can be explicitly taught, we as teachers should strive to develop this skill in our students. The child with phonemic awareness will have a much easier time learning to read and spell. Activities for developing phonemic awareness
Teach Rhyming
Help your student recognize rhymes. Younger children love to listen to a rhyming book, so try some of these fun suggestions:

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
Whiskers and Rhymes by Arnold Lobel
Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky
There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Moose on the Loose by C. P. Ochs
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

Older children often prefer poetry, so look for engaging books of poetry for young people, such asNever Take A Pig to Lunch by Nadine Bernard Westcott. As you read, point out some of the words that rhyme. Stop at the end of a line and see if your student can guess what word is coming next.

Can your student recognize rhyming words? Check by dictating pairs of words and asking him if they rhyme: Cold-bold. Twin-win. Pen-hen. Buzz-was. Wiggle-giggle. Fish-dish. Zoo-flew. Sound-pound.Throw in some that do NOT rhyme: Picture-carpet. Man-cat. Grass-ball.

Explain to your student that words rhyme when they have the same ending sounds. For example, pigand jig both end in the sound /ig/, and so they rhyme.

Teach Segmenting

When we speak, we blend sounds together to make a word. To say the word ham, we blend the sounds /h/-/ă/-/m/ together quickly. To learn to spell, we need to take those individual sounds apart. This is called segmenting. There are several steps involved in segmenting.

First, determine whether your student can identify the first sound in a word. Can he answer the question, "What is the first sound you hear in the word moon?" If not, here is a short lesson: You will be asking your student to tell you the first sound in a word. We are not asking for the letter name—we are asking for the sound. For example, the first sound in the word map is /m/; your student should not answer with the letter name of m.

Turn toward your student so he can see your mouth as you speak. "The first sound we hear in the wordfloor is /f/. What is the first sound you hear in the word sun?" Student answers /s/. "What is the first sound you hear in the word ball?" Student answers /b/.

Using the following words, repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until it becomes easy for your student.

fan lamp map stamp van rug book shirt paint grass wall beach camp desk jump hose moss tree run paper dig girl lemon maze

If your student needs some extra help, try holding or exaggerating the first sound of the word. Make sure your student watches your mouth. Your student should say the word s-l-o-w-l-y, and then go back and repeat the first sound he said. |

Next, determine whether your student can identify the last sound in a word. Can he answer the question, "What is the last sound you hear in the word grass?" If not, here is a short lesson: After your student can identify the first sound in a word, he is ready to learn how to identify the last sound in a word. Again, we are looking for the sound, not the letter name.

"Now we are going to say the last sound in a word. The last sound in the word jam is /m/. What is the last sound you hear in the word glass?" Student answers /s/. "What is the last sound in the word dig?"Student answers /g/.

Using the following words, repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until it becomes easy for your student.

tree run egg pop feet home class red book snow bee road sleep seat wall hot pan moon pink May city horse robe seat

If your student is having difficulty identifying the last sound in the word, make sure that he watches your mouth. Your student should say the word s-l-o-w-l-y, and then go back and repeat the last sound he said. You can exaggerate the last sound of the word, or say the last sound with more emphasis, until he catches on. | When these two phonemic awareness activities become easy for your student, he is ready to do this next activity: Lay two coins on the table. Give your student a word that has two sounds. He repeats it back, and then says the individual sounds. As he says the sounds, he pulls a coin toward himself, like this: Using the following words, repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until it becomes easy for your student.

it bee pay row key zoo two see may pie hoe say row is do in |
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Phonological Awareness: Instructional and Assessment Guidelines
By: David J. Chard and Shirley V. Dickson
This article defines phonological awareness and discusses historic and contemporary research findings regarding its relation to early reading. Common misconceptions about phonological awareness are addressed. Research-based guidelines for teaching phonological awareness and phonemic awareness to all children are described. Additional instructional design guidelines are offered for teaching children with learning disabilities who are experiencing difficulties with early reading. Considerations for assessing children's phonological awareness are discussed, and descriptions of available measures are provided.
Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily;
Life is but a dream
Bow, bow, bow your boat bently bown the beam.
Berrily, berrily, berrily, berrily;
Bife is but a beam.
Sow, sow, sow your soat sently sown the seam.
Serrily, serrily, serrily, serrily;
Sife is sut a seam.
Activities like substituting different sounds for the first sound of a familiar song can help children develop phonological awareness, a cognitive substrate to reading acquisition. Becoming phonologically aware prepares children for later reading instruction, including instruction in phonics, word analysis, and spelling (Adams, Foorman, Lundberg, & Beeler, 1998; Chard, Simmons, & Kameenui, 1998). The most common barrier to learning early word reading skills is the inability to process language phonologically (Liberman, Shankweiler, & Liberman, 1989). Moreover, developments in research and understanding have revealed that this weakness in phonological processing most often hinders early reading development for both students with and without disabilities (Fletcher et al., 1994).
No area of reading research has gained as much attention over the past two decades as phonological awareness. Perhaps the most exciting finding emanating from research on phonological awareness is that critical levels of phonological awareness can be developed through carefully planned instruction, and this development has a significant influence on children's reading and spelling achievement (Ball & Blachman, 1991; Bradley & Bryant, 1985; Byrne & Fielding-Barnsley, 1989, 1991; O'Connor, Jenkins, Leicester, & Slocum, 1993). Despite the promising findings, however, many questions remain unanswered, and many misconceptions about phonological awareness persist. For example, researchers are looking for ways to determine how much and what type of instruction is necessary and for whom. Moreover, many people do not understand the difference between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics. Still others are uncertain about the relationship between phonological awareness and early reading.
The purposes of this article are to (a) clarify some of the salient findings from research on phonological awareness and reading and (b) translate those findings into practical information for teachers of children with learning disabilities or children who are experiencing delays in early reading. To this end, we answer three questions: 1. What is phonological awareness, and why is it important to beginning reading success? 2. What are documented effective principles that should guide phonological awareness instruction? 3. What principles should guide the assessment of phonological awareness?
What is phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness is the understanding of different ways that oral language can be divided into smaller components and manipulated. Spoken language can be broken down in many different ways, including sentences into words and words into syllables (e. g., in the word simple, /sim/ and /ple/), onset and rime (e. g., in the word broom, /br/ and /oom/), and individual phonemes (e.g., in the word hamper, /h/, /a/, /m/, /p/, /er/). Manipulating sounds includes deleting, adding, or substituting syllables or sounds (e.g., say can; say it without the /k/; say can with /m/ instead of /k/). Being phonologically aware means having a general understanding at all of these levels.

Operationally, skills that represent children's phonological awareness lie on a continuum of complexity (see Figure 1). At the less complex end of the continuum are activities such as initial rhyming and rhyming songs as well as sentence segmentation that demonstrates an awareness that speech can be broken down into individual words. At the center of the continuum are activities related to segmenting words into syllables and blending syllables into words. Next are activities such as segmenting words into onsets and rimes and blending onsets and rimes into words.
Finally, the most sophisticated level of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of individual sounds or phonemes and the ability to manipulate these phonemes either by segmenting, blending, or changing individual phonemes within words to create new words. The recent National Research Council report on reading distinguishes phonological awareness from phonemic awareness in this way:
The term phonological awareness refers to a general appreciation of the sounds of speech as distinct from their meaning. When that insight includes an understanding that words can he divided into a sequence of phonemes, this finer-grained sensitivity is termed phonemic awareness. (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998, p. 51)
Throughout this article we will use the term phonological awareness to mean an awareness at all levels from basic rhyme to phonemic awareness. Only in some specific instances will we use the term phonemic awareness.
At this point, it is important to note that phonological awareness differs distinctly from phonics. Phonological awareness involves the auditory and oral manipulation of sounds. Phonics is the association of letters and sounds to sound out written symbols (Snider, 1995); it is a system of teaching reading that builds on the alphabetic principle, a system of which a central component is the teaching of correspondences between letters or groups of letters and their pronunciations (Adams, 1990). Phonological awareness and phonics are intimately intertwined, but they are not the same. This relationship will be further described in the following section.
Children generally begin to show initial phonological awareness when they demonstrate an appreciation of rhyme and alliteration. For many children, this begins very early in the course of their language development and is likely facilitated by being read to from books that are based on rhyme or alliteration, such as the B Book by Stanley and Janice Berenstain, 1997, or Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, 1979, (Bryant, MacLean, Bradley, & Crossland, 1990). As children grow older, however, their basic phonological awareness does not necessarily develop into the more sophisticated phonemic awareness. In fact, developing the more complex phonemic awareness is difficult for most children and very difficult for some children (Adams et al., 1996). However, it is a child's phonemic awareness on entering school that is most closely related to success in learning to read (Adams, 1990; Stanovich, 1986).
Why is phonological awareness so important?
An awareness of phonemes is necessary to grasp the alphabetic principle that underlies our system of written language. Specifically, developing readers must be sensitive to the internal structure of words in order to benefit from formal reading instruction (Adams, 1990; Liberman, Shankweiler, Fischer, & Carter, 1974). If children understand that words can be divided into individual phonemes and that phonemes can be blended into words, they are able to use letter-sound knowledge to read and build words. As a consequence of this relationship, phonological awareness in kindergarten is a strong predictor of later reading success (Ehri & Wilce, 1980, 1985; Liberman et al., 1974; Perfetti, Beck, Bell, & Hughes, 1987). Researchers have shown that this strong relationship between phonological awareness and reading success persists throughout school (Calfee, Lindamood, & Lindamood, 1973; Shankweiler et al., 1995).
Over the past 2 decades, researchers have focused primarily on the contribution of phonological awareness to reading acquisition. However, the relationship between phonological awareness and reading is not unidirectional but reciprocal in nature (Stanovich, 1986). Early reading is dependent on having some understanding of the internal structure of words, and explicit instruction in phonological awareness skills is very effective in promoting early reading. However, instruction in early reading-specifically, explicit instruction in letter-sound correspondence appears to strengthen phonological awareness, and in particular the more sophisticated phonemic awareness (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
Many children with learning disabilities demonstrate difficulties with phonological awareness skills (Shaywitz, 1996). However, many other children have such difficulty without displaying other characteristics of learning disabilities. Although a lack of phonemic awareness correlates with difficulty in acquiring reading skills, this lack should not necessarily be misconstrued as a disability (Fletcher et al., 1994). More important, children who lack phonemic awareness can be identified, and many of them improve their phonemic awareness with instruction. Furthermore, although explicit instruction in phonological awareness is likely to improve early reading for children who lack phonemic awareness, most children with or without disabilities are likely to benefit from such instruction (R. E. O'Connor, personal communication, June 2, 1998).
In short, success in early reading depends on achieving a certain level of phonological awareness. Moreover, instruction in phonological awareness is beneficial for most children and seems to be critical for others, but the degree of explicitness and the systematic nature of instruction may need to vary according to the learner's skills (Smith, Simmons, & Kameenui, 1998), especially for students at risk for reading difficulties. With this in mind, we discuss documented approaches to teaching phonological awareness.
Teaching phonological awareness
There is ample evidence that phonological awareness training is beneficial for beginning readers starting as early as age 4 (e.g., Bradley & Bryant, 1985; Byrne & Fielding-Barnsley, 1991). In a review of phonological research, Smith et al. (1998) concluded that phonological awareness can be developed before reading and that it facilitates the subsequent acquisition of reading skills. Documented effective approaches to teaching phonological awareness generally include activities that are age appropriate and highly engaging. Instruction for 4-year-olds involves rhyming activities, whereas kindergarten and first-grade instruction includes blending and segmenting of words into onset and rime, ultimately advancing to blending, segmenting, and deleting phonemes. This pattern of instruction follows the continuum of complexity illustrated in Figure 1. Instruction frequently involves puppets who talk slowly to model word segmenting or magic bridges that are crossed when children say the correct word achieved by synthesizing isolated phonemes. Props such as colored cards or pictures can be used to make abstract sounds more concrete. During the last few years, publishers have produced multiple programs in phonological awareness, some of which are based on research. Two of these programs are Ladders to Literacy (O'Connor, Notari-Syverson, & Vadasy, 1998) and Teaching Phonemic Awareness (Adams et al., 1996). Figures 2 through 4 are illustrations of phonemic awareness lessons that are based on examples from these programs.
Figure 2. Instructional activity that teaches synthesis of phonemes into words.
Guess-the-word game
Objective: Students will be able to blend and identify a word that is stretched out into its component sounds.
Materials Needed: Picture cards of objects that students are likely to recognize such as: sun, bell, fan, flag, snake, tree, book, cup, clock, plane
Activity: Place a small number of picture cards in front of children. Tell them you are going to say a word using "Snail Talk" a slow way of saying words (e.g., /fffffllllaaaag/). They have to look at the pictures and guess the word you are saying. It is important to have the children guess the answer in their head so that everyone gets an opportunity to try it. Alternate between having one child identify the word and having all children say the word aloud in chorus to keep children engaged.
Figure 3. An Instructional activity that teaches segmentation at multiple phonological levels.
Segmentation activities
Objectives: Students will be able to segment various parts of oral language.
a. Early in phonological awareness instruction, teach children to segment sentences into individual words. Identify familiar short poems such as "I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream!" Have children clap their hands with each word. b. As children advance in their ability to manipulate oral language, teach them to segment words into syllables or onsets and rimes. For example, have children segment their names into syllables: e.g., Ra-chel, Al-ex-an-der, and Rod-ney. c. When children have learned to remove the first phoneme (sound) of a word, teach them to segment short words into individual phonemes: e.g., s-u-n, p-a-t, s-t-o-p.
Figure 4. An instructional activity that teaches phoneme deletion and substitution.
Change-a-name game
Objective: Students will be able to recognize words when the teacher says the word with the first sound removed.
Activity: Have students sit in a circle on the floor. Secretly select one child and change their name by removing the first sound of the name. For example, change Jennifer to Ennifer or change William to Illiam. As you change the name, the children have to identify who you are talking about.
Extension Ideas: As children become better at identifying the child's name without the first sound, encourage them to try removing the beginning sounds of words and pronounce the words on their own.
After children learn how to remove sounds, teach them to substitute the beginning sound in their name with a new sound. The teacher can model this, beginning with easier sounds (common sounds of consonant s, e.g., /m/, /t/, /p/) and advancing to more complex sounds and sound blends (e.g., /ch/, /st/).
Most early phonological awareness activities are taught in the absence of print, but there is increasing evidence that early writing activities, including spelling words as they sound (i.e., invented or temporary spelling), appear to promote more refined phonemic awareness (Ehri, 1998; Treiman, 1993). It may be that during spelling and writing activities children begin to combine their phonological sensitivity and print knowledge and apply them to building words. Even if children are unable to hold and use a pen or pencil, they can use letter tiles or word processing programs to practice their spelling.
Instruction in phonological awareness can be fun, engaging, and age appropriate, but the picture is not as simple as it seems. First, evidence suggests that instruction in the less complex phonological skills such as rhyming or onset and rime may facilitate instruction in more complex skills (Snider, 1995) without directly benefiting reading acquisition (Gough, 1998). Rather, integrated instruction in segmenting and blending seems to provide the greatest benefit to reading acquisition (e.g., Snider, 1995). Second, although most children appear to benefit from instruction in phonological awareness, in some studies there are students who respond poorly to this instruction or fail to respond at all. For example, in one training study that provided 8 weeks of instruction in phonemic awareness, the majority of children demonstrated significant growth, whereas 30% of the at-risk students demonstrated no measurable growth in phonological awareness (Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashotte, 1994). Similarly, in a 12-week training in blending and segmenting for small groups (3-4 children) in 2-minute sessions four times a week, about 30% of the children still obtained very low scores on the segmenting posttest and 10 % showed only small improvements on the blending measures (Torgesen et al., 1994).
Torgesen et al. (1994) concluded that training for at-risk children must be more explicit or more intense than what is typically described in the research literature if it is to have a substantial impact on the phonological awareness of many children with severe reading disabilities. Therefore, we recommend two tiers of instruction. The first tier of instruction is the highly engaging, age-appropriate instruction that we introduced earlier. The second tier of instruction includes more intensive and strategic instruction in segmenting and blending at the phoneme level (e.g., Snider, 1995).
Beside content, another issue that requires attention in phonological awareness instruction is curriculum design. From research, we are able to deduce principles for effectively designing phonological awareness instruction. These design principles apply for all students but are particularly important for students who respond poorly to instruction. In the design of phonological awareness instruction, the following general principles increase students' success (Chard & Osborn, 1998): * Start with continuous sounds such as /s/, /m/, and /f/ that are easier to pronounce than stop sounds such as /p/, /b/, and /k/; * Carefully model each activity as it is first introduced; * Move from larger units (words, onset-rime) to smaller units (individual phonemes); * Move from easier tasks (e.g., rhyming) to more complex tasks (e.g., blending and segmenting); and, * Consider using additional strategies to help struggling early readers manipulate sounds. These strategies may include using concrete objects (e.g., blocks, bingo chips) to represent sounds.
Research suggests that by the end of kindergarten children should be able to demonstrate phonemic blending and segmentation and to make progress in using sounds to spell simple words. Achieving these goals requires that teachers be knowledgeable about effective instructional approaches to teaching phonological awareness and be aware of the ongoing progress for each of their students. In the next section, we describe effective ways to assess phonological skills and monitor progress in phonological awareness.
Assessing phonological awareness
Assessment in phonological awareness serves essentially two purposes: to initially identify students who appear to be at risk for difficulty in acquiring beginning reading skills and to regularly monitor the progress of students who are receiving instruction in phonological awareness. The measures used to identify at-risk students must be strongly predictive of future reading ability and separate low and high performers. Measures used for monitoring progress must be sensitive to change and have alternate forms (Kaminski & Good, 1996). In this section, we discuss only measures that have been demonstrated to be valid and reliable. We report the technical adequacy of the measures in the Appendix, rather than in the narrative description of the measure.
As stated earlier, screening measures must be strongly predictive of future reading ability and must separate high from low performers. Measures of automatized color, object, number, or letter naming meet these criteria (Torgesen, Wagner, Rashotte, Burgess, & Hecht, 1997; Wolf, 1991). Segmentation is a second skill that is highly predictive of future reading ability (e.g., Nation & Hulme, 1997; Torgesen et al., 1994; Vellutino & Scanlon, 1987; Yopp, 1988). Unlike rapid naming, segmentation is a skill that can be taught, and the instruction of segmentation benefits reading acquisition.
Screening measures must also separate high from low performers. This means that they must address skills that are developmentally appropriate. Phonological awareness skills seem to develop along a continuum from rhyme to segmenting. Typically, students develop the ability to segment words into onset and rime during kindergarten and to segment words into separate phonemes between kindergarten and first grade. Therefore, most first-grade students perform well on an onset-rime measure, whereas most kindergarten students do poorly on a measure of segmenting into individual sounds. In either case it is difficult to separate low and high performers. Although we know a great deal about identifying students at risk for reading difficulties, many questions remain unanswered. We recommend that teachers use a variety of screening measures, including one that measures automatized rapid naming and one that measures phonemic awareness sensitivity or segmenting.
Typically, kindergarten students are screened for risk factors in acquiring beginning reading skills in the second semester of kindergarten. Appropriate screening measures for the second semester of kindergarten include measures that are strong predictors of a student's successful response to explicit phonemic awareness instruction or beginning reading acquisition. Such predictors of successful response to segmenting and blending instruction are the Test of Phonological Awareness-Kindergarten (TOPA-K; Torgesen & Bryant, 1993), a Nonword Spelling measure (Torgesen & Davis, 1996), and the Digit Naming Rate (Torgesen & Davis, 1996). Predictors of the successful acquisition of beginning reading skills include automatized naming of colors, objects, numbers, or letters (e.g., Wolf, 1991) and segmenting ability (e.g., Nation & Hulme, 1997; Torgesen et al., 1994; Vellutino & Scanlon, 1987; Yopp, 1988). Other measures used during the second semester of kindergarten to identify students at risk for not acquiring beginning reading skills include measures of phoneme deletion.
The measures appropriate for identifying first-grade students at risk for not acquiring reading skills overlap those used in kindergarten. The TOPA-K and onset-rime are no longer appropriate, as students should have developed these skills by the end of kindergarten, whereas segmenting is still an emerging skill. However, tasks such as automatized naming of colors, objects, numbers, or letters remain predictors for students at risk for not acquiring beginning reading skills, as do measures to determine whether students lag behind their peers in phonological awareness, such as measures of segmenting.
When using screening measures, the teacher must establish decision rules for identifying students requiring phonological awareness instruction. The decision rules vary. The TOPA-K has normed scores and provides information to help a teacher decide whether to provide phonemic awareness instruction to students who score one or two standard deviations below the mean. However, there is little research evidence to guide decision making about which children should receive the more intensive phonological awareness instruction.
A second use of measures is to monitor students' progress. Unlike the screening measures, progress-monitoring measures must be sensitive to growth and require multiple forms. The Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy (Kaminski & Good, 1996) fit this requirement and are appropriate for kindergarten and first grade. After the first semester of first grade, teachers may also be interested in monitoring their students' progress in generalizing phonemic awareness to reading and spelling. Two other measures of reading that are sensitive to growth and have alternative forms are oral reading fluency (tasks) and nonsense word reading fluency (Tindal & Marston, 1990).
As with screening measures, teachers must establish decision rules about how to gauge the progress of their students. One way is to establish a baseline by graphing three measurement points before the start of instruction, adding each subsequent data point to the graph, and checking the slope of students' progress. If many students are making slower progress than necessary to reach the level of their average-achieving peers, the teacher can modify the instruction by increasing one or more of the elements in the instructional guidelines. For example, if students are not acquiring segmenting, the teacher may decide to add more scaffolds, such as cards that the students can move as they segment words, thereby making segmenting instruction more explicit, or provide students with more guided practice. If most students successfully respond to instruction but a few respond poorly or not at all, the teacher may decide to place these students in a flexible group to receive more intense instruction. The teacher could also choose to provide some individuals with more intense instruction throughout the day to keep them up with their peers. If the progress-monitoring measures indicate that the first-grade students receiving instruction in phonological awareness lag behind their peers in reading or spelling, the teacher may choose to increase the integrated instruction in letter- sound correspondence and to make stronger the links between segmenting and blending skills and reading. Brief descriptions of the screening and monitoring measures that have demonstrated validity and reliability through research follow. For each measure, we indicate the grade and purpose for which the measure is appropriate. Note that some measures are appropriate for more than one grade level and for both screening and monitoring progress.
Test of phonological awareness- kindergarten
(Second Half of Kindergarten; Screen). This measure of phonemic sensitivity strongly predicts which students will demonstrate high segmenting ability following small-group instruction in phonemic awareness (Torgesen & Davis, 1996). The measure consists of one form with 10 items requiring students to indicate which of three words (represented by pictures) have the same first sound as a target word and 10 items that require students to indicate which of four words (represented by pictures) begins with a different first sound than the other three. The measure is administered to small groups of 6 to 10 children and is untimed. Students receive raw scores that are normed.
Nonword spelling
(Second Half of Kindergarten; Screen). This measure strongly predicts which kindergarten students will demonstrate growth in blending and segmenting after small-group phonological awareness instruction. Five nonwords (feg, rit, mub, gof, pid) comprise the measure. Students receive one point for each phoneme that they represent correctly in the spelling.
Digit naming rate
(Second Half of Kindergarten; Screen). This measure strongly predicts which kindergarten students are likely to demonstrate growth in blending after small-group phonological awareness instruction. The measure consists of six rows with five single digits per row on an 8 " x 11 " card. The students are timed as they name the digits as fast as they can, beginning at the top and continuing to the bottom. Students complete two trials using cards with differently arranged numbers. The score is based on the average time for the two series.
Yopp-SingerTest of phoneme segmentation
(Second Half of Kindergarten, First Grade; Screen). This test (Yopp, 1995) consists of 22 items and requires students to separately articulate each phoneme in the presented words. The student receives credit only if all sounds in a word are presented correctly. The student does not receive partial credit for saying /c/ or /c/ /at/ for cat. One feature that differentiates this screening measure from others is that students receive feedback after each response. If the child's response is correct, the test administrator says, "That's right." If the student gives an incorrect response, the examiner tells the student the correct response. Moreover, if the student gives an incorrect response, the examiner writes the error. Recording the errors helps the teacher decide what remediation the student requires. The student's score is the number of items correctly segmented into individual phonemes. The test is administered individually and requires about 5 to 10 minutes per child.
Bruce test of phoneme deletion
(Second Half of Kindergarten; Screen). The Bruce (1964) test assesses phoneme deletion, a more difficult and compound skill than segmenting (Yopp, 1995). The measure consists of 30 one- to three-syllable words drawn from words familiar to children between the ages of 5 and 61/2. The examiner asks students to delete one phoneme from the beginning, middle, or end of a word and to say the word that remains. The positions of deleted phonemes are randomly ordered throughout the test. The test is individually administered and requires 10 minutes to administer.
Auditory analysis test
(Second Half of Kindergarten; Screen). This measure (Rosner & Simon, 1971, cited in MacDonald & Cornwall, 1995) consists of 40 items arranged in order of difficulty from deletion of syllables in compound words to deletion of syllables in multisyllabic words to deletion of phonemes in beginning, middle, and end positions. The teacher asks the student to delete a syllable or phoneme and say the word that is left. The measure is administered individually.
Rapid letter naming, dynamic indicators of basic early literacy skills
(Second Half of Kindergarten, First Grade; Screen). The Rapid Letter Naming, DIBELS (Kaminski & Good, 1996) is another of many measures used to assess the rapid letter-naming ability of students. The measure has 18 alternate forms and consists of 104 randomly selected upper- and lowercase letters presented on one page. The measure is given individually, and students have 1 minute to name as many letters as possible in the order that they appear on the page.
Phoneme segmentation fluency, DIBELS
(End of Kindergarten, First Grade; Screen, Monitor Progress). The Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, DIBELS (Kaminski & Good, 1996) is one of many segmenting measures. The measure has 18 alternate forms. Each form consists of 10 words, each with two or three phonemes, randomly selected from words in the pre-primer and primer levels of the Scribner basal reading series. The measure is administered individually and is timed. Unlike the Yopp-Singer Test, students do not receive feedback on their responses but do receive scores for partially correct answers. In other words, for cat, a student receives a score of 1 for saying /c/, a score of 2 for saying /c/ /at/, or a score of 3 for saying /c/ /a/ /t/. Because this measure assesses the number of correct phonemes per minute, it is sensitive to growth and is, therefore, appropriate for both screening and monitoring progress.
As we noted at the outset of this article, efforts to understand the role of phonological awareness have far exceeded the efforts to relate research findings to classroom practice regarding phonological awareness. This article is an attempt to pull together the valuable information available on the role that phonological awareness plays in early reading development, the research-based teaching strategies that address the needs of all children, the instructional design principles that address the needs of children experiencing delays in early reading development, and the validated instruments available for screening and monitoring students' progress in phonological awareness.
Our description of the role that phonological awareness plays in reading development conspicuously fails to address the connection of phonological awareness and spelling. This failure is not an oversight, nor should it be perceived as a statement of our beliefs regarding the importance of spelling. We firmly believe that findings from spelling research (e.g., Ehri, 1998; Templeton, 1995; Treiman, 1993) represent such a significant part of our knowledge base about reading that they would go far beyond the length and scope of this article.
Recent research on phonological awareness and phonemic awareness, including how to teach and assess them, has made an extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of how to teach reading to children with learning disabilities or delays in early reading. It is not, however, a cure for reading disabilities, but a significant advance in preventing and correcting reading difficulties so that more children are prepared to learn how to read in our alphabetic writing system.
About the authors
David J. Chard, PhD, is an assistant professor of special education at The University of Texas at Austin. His current interests include research in professional developmental in early reading and analysis of children's discourse in mathematics classrooms. Shirley V Dickson, PhD, is an assistant professor of special education at Northern Illinois University. Her interests are in research on phonological awareness and reading instruction and collaboration models in special education. Address: David J. Chard, University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Special Education, SZB 408, Austin, TX 78712.
Table A. Technical Adequacy of Screening and Monitoring Measures | Measure | Validity | Reliability | Test of Phonological Awareness-Kindergarten (Torgesen & Bryant, 1993) | Concurrent validity with segmenting and sound isolation(.50-.55); Concurrent validity with word identification and word analysis of Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised (.60-.66); Predictive validity (.59-.75) | Internal consistency (.90-.91); Total score reliability (Cronbach's Alpha = .91) | Nonword Spelling (Torgesen & Davis, 1996) | | Internal consistency (.88) | Digit Naming Rate (Torgesen & Davis, 1996) | | Split-half reliability (.91) | Yopp-Singer Test of Phoneme Segmentation (Yopp, 1995) | Construct validity with subtests of California Achievement Test (.38-.78); Predictive of reading and spelling in Grades 1-6 (-.05-.55; 16 of the 25 correlations were positive and significant) | Cronbach's Alpha (.95) | Bruce Phoneme Deletion Test (Bruce, 1964) | Predictive validity to learning to read novel words (.67) | Cronbach's Alpha (.92) | Auditory Analysis Test (Rosner & Simon, 1971, cited in MacDonald & Cornwall, 1995; Yopp,1988) | Predictive validity (accounted for 25% of the variance in word identification and spelling skills at age 17); Construct validity for compound phonemic awareness | Cronbach's Alpha (.78) | Rapid Letter Naming (DIBELS) | Concurrent criterion-related with the Standard Diagnostic Reading Test (.50) and oral reading fluency (.45) | Spearman-Brown Prophecy formula (.83 for first grade) | Segmenting Fluency (DIBELS) | | Alternate form reliability (.60 Spearman Prophecy formula) | Oral Reading Fluency (Children's Educational Services, 1987) | Coefficient with Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised, and Peabody Individual Achievement Test (.52-.91) | Alternate form reliability (.97) | Nonsense Word Fluency (DIBELS; R. H. Good, August 3, 1998, personal communication) | Criterion reliability with curriculum-based reading measures (.80) | Alternate form reliability (high .80s) |
This technique is recommended by research
Phonological Awareness has been recommended as a practice with solid research evidence of effectiveness for individuals with Learning Disabilities by Council for Exceptional Children-the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) and the Division for Research (DR). To learn more, please read Current Practice Alert: Phonological Awareness.
If you have students in your classroom who are English Language Learners, pay special attention to the section titled "What Questions Remain."
May 1999 Intervention in School and Clinic Volume 34, Number 5 pp. 261-270 Copyright 1999 by PRO-Ed, Inc.

Sunday, December 19, 2010
Step 2 -The Nursery Rhyme effect - Build the brain's "Speech Sound Box"
Developing your child's “speech sound box” is critical for learning to read because learning to read depends on mapping written letters to speech sounds. Speaking to your child often, in quiet environments where there is not a great deal of noise, helps this area become finely tuned. Nursery rhymes and nursery songs, which can be repeated over and over, are especially good for building the speech sound box. That is probably why they have been around for so many years and are spoken to babies around the world. Rhymes like “Peas Porridge Hot” and "Hickory, DIckory, Dock" are still with us, not because of the meaning they convey, but because children naturally love to hear the repetition of words that rhyme, contain many similar sounding syllables and have repetitive starting sounds.

The way a baby’s brain begins to learn the sounds of her native language is to develop a sound map in the top part of left temporal lobe – I will call it the “speech-sound box.” Imagine that the geography of the human brain is like the map of the United States – with large cities, suburbs around those cities, and small towns, all connected by an intricate highway system. The speech sound box of a baby starts out as the hub of a central region, kind of like I imagine a major city like Atlanta might have appeared in the 1800’s. It begins as a town near some major travel routes, with lots of available space good for building houses, stores and churches. Then the town grows into a city with more clearly defined streets and more closely packed buildings and larger highways that link it to other towns and cities.

Well, the child’s brain gets started in a very similar way. The right and left hemisphere of the brain have several large travel routes that have started to build before the child is born. Strategically located near travel routes are brain regions where the neurons (brain cells) will map themselves for specific jobs like perceiving color, or faces in the visual parts of the brain and distinguishing speech sounds in the listening parts of the brain. As we learned yesterday, the baby’s brain is set up to figure out the speech sounds of the language spoken around him. That ability starts with a capacity called “categorical perception” - the capacity that underlies deveopment of the speech sound box.

Categorical perception is a skill a newborn uses to sort sounds into speech and non-speech, then to distinguish one speech sound from another. The actual physical characteristics of speech sounds are not consistent from word to word or speaker to speaker. The English /b/sound for example, that is in the middle of the word “baby” is slightly different from the /b/ sound that starts the word “bottle” and those, in turn, will be slightly different when produced by different speakers. But the infant’s brain is designed to figure out how those sounds are alike – what we could call /b-ness/ even though the physical properties of the sound are different, and at the same time how the /b/ sound differs from a /p/ or a /t/ sound. Categorical perception is essential for learning speech in the first place, but it is also what then interferes with learning the sound system of another language. That is why a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, for example, might have trouble with the categories that distinguish an /r/ from an /l/ in English. (To the Chinese speaker they sound like the same sound.) Their speech sound box develops different categories, a slighly different map, than an English speaker.

We know from research in infant language learning by experts like Dr. Kuhl, that new born infants are born able to distinguish the differences between speech sounds in any human language spoken in the world - so they can essentially form a speech sound box for any langauge they might end up hearing. For this reason, Dr. Kuhl has referred to very young infants as “citizens of the world.” But, by as early as eleven months of age, once the baby’s brain gets mapped for the sounds of the language spoken to them, the sound map of the brain serves as a filter that enables the baby to perceive only the sounds of the language or languages spoken in his home. At the same time the child is learning to ignore all the distinctions in sounds that might be relevant in other languages.

Step 2 - Build the “speech sound box” through frequent repetition of nursery rhymes in quiet settings
Posted by Dr. Martha Burns at 3:04 PM

By Antonia Van Der Meer
“Once upon a time, there was a man sitting on a wall who fell and broke into a million pieces. No one could help him. The end.” You would never read this story to your child. Yet, as a nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty” has been a favorite for generations.
Any parent who recites Mother Goose rhymes is occasionally struck by the fact that they make no sense and are often not very kid-friendly. Why would anyone want to write such dark, nonsensical verses for children?
In fact, they weren’t written for children, according to Iona Opie, an expert on the history of nursery rhymes and coeditor with her husband, Pete, or the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press). Although it’s widely believed that the meaning of these ditties is tied to events of the past (“Ring A Ring o’ Roses,” for example, is supposedly about the bubonic plague), Opie says, “There is no historical evidence backing these beliefs.” Instead, she notes, “Many nursery rhymes originated in the 17th century as songs sung in taverns, often in rounds. When the men had too much to drink, their words became nonsense.”
To little kids, though, the silliness of the rhymes doesn’t matter. “Young children do not demand that language make sense. The melody and rhythm are the hook,” says JudithSchickedanz,Ph.D., a professor of early-childhood education at Boston University.
And nursery rhymes have a loot more to offer than just entertainment value. They introduce children to the idea of a narrative, promote social skills, boost language development and lay the foundation for learning to read and spell.
In fact, reciting nursery rhymes may be just as important as reading stories and talking to your child. “A rhyme’s repetition can sensitize the children to the individual units of sound, known as phonemes, which make up words,” says Dr. Schickedanz. Fir example, the line, “Baa baa black sheep” places three “/b/” sounds in a row; later in the verse, the words dameand lane highlight the long “/ay/” sound. “Nursery rhymes are organized so that similar sounds jump out at you, which doesn’t happen in every day speech,” she explains. Having developed sensitivity to language, children are ready, at age 5 or 6, to think about the sequence of sounds in a whole word, a skill that is crucial for learning to read and spell.
“Nursery rhymes and other repetitive language help children learn to think their way through a word sound by sound in the order in which they hear it,” says Dr. Schickedanz. This ability, known as phonemic segmentation, is best predictor of future reading success, she adds.
Learning to listen gives kids an affinity for books.
Mother Goose rhymes can also pave the way for a love of books. “They’re the perfect first stories for young minds,” says Charles Smith, Ph.D., author of The Encyclopedia of Parenting(Theory and Research Press).
“They introduce the idea of listening from beginning to end as the narrative develops, but they’re short, so a child doesn’t have to sit still very long,” he says. “As a child gets older, the timeline can be stretched, so you can read longer stories with a real plot.” Rhymes that invite your child’s participation provide even more learning opportunities,. When you play pat-a-cake, for example, “your baby learns to clap his hands and to recognize his own name,” says Opie.
Emotionally, very young children find plenty of territory they can relate to in the brief verses of Mother Goose. Such subjects as falling down, getting lost, fear of spiders, and losing mittens are all close to children’s hearts. “These rhymes have probably lasted as long as they have because they help kids laugh about things that are usually stressful,” says Dr. Smith.
Some of the rhymes are reassuring, such as “Little Bo Peep,” whose first verse ends with “Leave them alone, and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them.” Others, such as “Jack and Jill” and “Humpty Dumpty” are rather grim, though they don’t seem to disturb most children.
Still, it can be fun to take some creative license and make up alternative endings. “In doing so, you boost your child’s imaginative abilities and show him that things can change for the better,” says Amy Flynn, director of the Bank Street Family Center in New York City. For example, when playing with the toddlers at Bank Street, Flynn sometimes changes the last line of Humpty Dumpty from “Couldn’t put Humpty together again” to “Brought him to the doctor – now he’s better again!”
There are social benefits to nursery rhymes as well, “In a way, the parent who plays word games with her child is saying, ‘You can use language to be close to other people,’” says Dr. Smith. Later, when children recite or sing the rhymes together, “they have a very powerful effect,” he notes. “Kids discover they have something in common with other kids, It creates a bond between them.”
Finally, nursery rhymes don’t just connect us to other people; they also link us to the past. “The retelling of each nursery rhyme is a sort of connective tissue between the past, present, and future,” says Dr. Smith. “We remember, perhaps unconsciously, the experience of being told these rhymes when we were young.” It’s comforting to new parents to feel themselves a part of a larger chain of parenthood, he says. “The nursery rhyme passed down from generation to generation becomes a verbal heirloom.” This article is Copyright©1999 Gruner and Jahr Publishing. Reprinted from PARENTS magazine by permission. Nursery Rhymes Can Play a Role
By Prof. Dr. Henny Bijleveld
Université Libre de Bruxelles In 2008, an interesting article on music and language learning was published in Cognition by Schön, Boyet, Moreno, Besson, Peretz and Kolinksky, in which they argued that “consistent mapping of linguistic and musical information would enhance facilitation of learning, with a longer-lasting effect in memory” (Cognition, 2008, vol. 106, pp.975-983). This reminds us of what teachers previously did in the classroom when they had the pupils learn songs. What did they know without having the neuroscientific proof of the benefit of music on language learning? They simply had experienced the positive result of music on language and learning in general. Nursery rhymes and counting rhymes have a special place in this learning process. What can we learn from this from a therapeutic perspective? Nursery rhymes constitute an amazing source for language learning and speech therapy, because they represent some of the fundamental aspects of each language, and their universal presence –all languages have nursery rhymes and many languages have the same –indicates the huge universal impact on language learning for the young child. The fundamental aspects of nursery rhymes and counting rhymes are the rhythm and the typical phrase melody of a specific language, the repetition of rhymes, of sounds and consonants, the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. The “non serious” context of nursery rhymes and counting rhymes with nonsense words included is another important aspect of their specific role in learning and in therapy. They are learned for fun. Let’s have a look at this: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe;
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses, and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again. The two rhymes are sung in a typical rhythm, with a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one. This simple beat (/ -/-/-/) helps the child to easily follow the phrase and to learn in repetition new sounds in opposition (/mee/mi/moe/) with the first consonant repeated. In Humpty Dumpty, the repetition of /a/ in /sat, had, and again/ in opposition to /a/ in /wall, fall, all/ is learned in the same way: repetition-opposition and rhyme with the same simple beat of stressed and unstressed syllable. Accent and intonation are the basis for emerging communication. When singing the nursery rhymes or counting rhymes, the child learns to repeat the correct accent and pronunciation of familiar but different sounds in the correct phrase rhythm. In the clinical setting of stuttering therapy and in the home environment, both rhythm and easy rhymes that receive the accent, help the child to master beginning sounds that constitute a difficulty. Moreover, and another important aspect in stuttering, the nonsense words in the rhymes alleviate the linguistic burden of the speech output and therefore help the child to experience stutter-free speech in a pleasant way, just for fun. The nursery rhymes and counting rhymes are fun for the child and the family, make the child inclined to repeat them over and over, gives him/her the feeling that speech is easy, regulate the respiration, and help the child in mastering language in a smooth and easy-going way. It benefits everybody. Coming in the fall newsletter: What do nursery rhymes and music teach us about cerebral activity in relation to stuttering? Here are some suggested nursery rhyme websites compiled by Judith Maginnis Kuster: • Suggestions on Reading Nursery Rhymes With Children: • The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright, beautiful PDF of this entire • Preschool Fingerplays, Action Poems, Nursery Rhymes and Songs: • 48 Mother Goose and nursery rhyme pages to print out and color: • Mother Goose: From the Summer 2013 Newsletter Why Kindergartners Still Need Mother Goose Rhymes |
• Research shows that children who have memorized nursery rhymes become better readers because they develop an early sensitivity to the sounds of language. (See Marie Clay article.)
• Nursery rhymes are short and full of alliteration and rhymes. Children can quickly internalize the language and make them their own. These memorized rhymes are ideal vehicles for playing with language and developing phonemic awareness.
• Children delight in the visual images and strong rhythmic character of nursery rhymes. Visual imagery and the rhythms of sound have a powerful effect on cognition.
• Many authors of children's books assume knowledge of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. (See Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Each Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.)
• Memorizing nursery rhymes effortlessly plants the grammatical structure (or syntax) of language in the child's long-term memory. This accelerates both language and literacy development.
• Reading rhymes that have been first memorized allows children to monitor their own reading behavior and build stamina and independence.
• Nursery rhymes feature consistent decodable words (rimes) conducive to explicit phonics instruction within a meaningful context; they also reinforce high-frequency words.
• Repeated experiences with “magical memory reading” develops fluency, teaches concepts about print and lays the foundation for “guided reading” instruction. (See article on Magical Guided Reading.)
• Nursery rhymes invite movement and dramatic interpretation, allowing children to personalize meaning and build language concepts and vocabulary. This is especially vital for children acquiring English as a second language.
• Every culture has its own “nursery rhymes” or “out-loud culture.” See Tortillas para Mama.
• Reading rhymes that children have first memorized supports self-monitoring behavior.
• “Parents as partners” can engage their children in memorizing nursery rhymes.
• Many nursery rhymes have survived since the time of Shakespeare. They have been polished by children into a form that is almost indestructible.
• When children memorize, recite and perform nursery rhymes they are developing listening and speaking skills in a joyful, non-threatening context.
• Active, imaginative teaching with nursery rhymes takes advantage of how the brain learns best – it is meaningful, memorable, and multisensory.
• Pre-school and kindergarten children can adapt nursery rhymes and use the patterns to make their own individual books or contribute innovations for group books. See examples in Making Class Books in Kindergarten. Children love being authors and illustrators.
• Nursery rhymes are basic cultural literacy – they are gifts of language that all children deserve to own.
From Celebrate Language and Accelerate Literacy: Higher Standards ·Joyful Learning · Proven Strategies. Nellie Edge, 2007 (manuscript in process).
Dow a set of 16 rhymes.

The benefit of rhymes

Rhymetimes are held throughout the country
Rhymetime events have been a key feature of the Bookstart programme for many years. Usually held at local libraries, these events provide a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to sing songs and rhymes together in an informal and supportive setting.

It is not difficult to identify the relevance of rhymes to Bookstart’s mission to promote the enjoyment of stories and books among young children. Rhymes are a uniquely child-friendly means of introducing babies and toddlers to the wonder of narratives and the imaginative potential that the stories found in books can offer.
Rhyming and reading
Perhaps less obvious, however, are the dramatic benefits to literacy that are gained through exposure to rhymes. Research in recent decades has provided a wealth of knowledge on how sensitivity to rhyme helps children progress with reading.

Evidence suggests that a familiarity with rhymes helps children to detect the phonetic constituents of words. Children at a very young age can recognise that cat rhymes with mat. In making this connection, they detect the word segment ‘at’. Because rhyming words – words that have sounds in common - often share spelling sequences in their written form, children sensitive to rhymes are well equipped to develop their reading. By making children aware that words share segments of sounds (e.g. the -ight segment shared by light, fight, and might) rhymes help prepare them to learn that such words often have spelling sequences in common too (Goswami, 1986, 1988).

A child that has learnt this characteristic of rhyme is therefore likely to be well equipped to learn how certain spellings produce similar-sounding words once they start school. Experience suggests that when they begin to learn reading, children that are sensitive to rhyme are better able to make the inference, for example, that fight and might are likely to be spelt the same way as the word light. In this way, learning to read one new word is readily extended to learning several more. Singing rhymes at the toddler stage therefore provides a strong foundation for learning to read slightly later on: put simply, good rhymers make good readers!
Evidence and outcomes
A number of longitudinal studies confirm this thesis and indicate that knowledge of rhymes helps children progress in reading once they start school. For example, studies have demonstrated that the better children are at detecting rhymes the quicker and more successful they will be at learning to read (Bradley, 1988c, Bradley & Bryant, 1983, Ellis & Large, 1987). Interestingly, this relationship holds true even when there are differences in class background, general intelligence or memory ability (Bradley & Bryant, 1985, MacLean et al., 1987).

Bryant, MacLean and Crossland’s (1990) longitudinal study provides some invaluable insight into this relationship. Using a sample of 64 children from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, the study evaluated the group at three intervals from age 4 to age 6½. Each child was tested for their ability to detect rhyme at ages 4 years and 7 months and 5 years and 11 months. In each test, the child was given three words with pictures, two rhymed and the third did not (e.g. peg, cot, leg; fish, dish, book). The child’s task was to inform the evaluator which one did not rhyme. When the children were 6 years 7 months they were given three different reading tests to assess the understanding of words and simple sentences, knowledge of frequent words, and spelling. The evaluation showed a strong correlation between high scores in the earlier rhyme test and results produced in reading and spelling. As indicated by other studies, this relationship was also found to hold true independent of the influence of the mother’s educational level, and child’s IQ and vocabulary level.

This striking evidence shows how important this type of activity can be. Parents from all types of background can give their children a real head start in their education by introducing them to rhymes at a young age. The evidence gives an emphatic endorsement to Bookstart rhymetimes and the rhyming activities between parents and young children taking place in homes and in libraries across the country. Find rhymes and poems using our Book finder

Explore interactive rhymes in our Have some fun area References

Ellis, N & Large, B (1987). ‘The development of reading: As you seek you shall find.’ British Journal of Psychology, 1, 329-342.

Bradley, L (1988). ‘Rhyme recognition and reading and spelling in young children’. In R L Masland & M R Masland (eds.), Pre-school prevention of reading failure’. Parkton, MD: York Press.

Bradley, L & Bryant, P E (1983). ‘Categorising sounds and learning to read- A casual connection’. Nature, 301, 419-421.

Goswami, U (1986) ‘Children’s use of analogy in learning to read: A developmental study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 42, 73-83.

Goswami,U (1988) ‘Children’s use of analogy in learning to spell’. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 6, 21-34.

MacLean, M. Bryant, P E & Bradley, L (1987) ‘Rhymes, nursery rhymes and reading in childhood’. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 33, 255-282.

Bryant, P E, MacLean, M, Bradley, L L & Crossland, J (1990). ‘Rhyme and Alliteration, Phoneme Detection, and Learning to Read’. Developmental Psychology, 26, 3, 429-438.

Phonological (Sound) Awareness Developmental Chart
< Back to Child Development Ages and Stages Charts and Checklists
Phonological awareness is the knowledge of sounds (i.e. the sounds that letters make) and how they go together to make words.
Note: Each stage of development assumes that the preceding stages have been successfully achieved. Click here for PDF Age | Developmental milestones | Possible implications if milestones not achieved | 0-2 years | * No specific milestones | * None | 2-3 years | * Rhyme awareness emerges at 24–30 months | * None | 3-4 years | * Ability to produce rhyme emerges at 30-36 months | * The child may struggle with recognising similarities in letter patterns in words (e.g. cat, hat, mat, bat) | 4-5 years | * Clapping/counting syllables in words (e.g. computer- com-pu-ter).[Note: 50% of children achieve this by age 4] * Recognises/produces words with the same beginning sound ( – cup * Segments/blends words by onset/rime (e.g. s+un= sun) OR given sounds, can blend them into a word * Counts sounds in words (e.g. dog- d-o-g: 3 sounds). [Note: 50% of children achieve this by age 5] | * The child may struggle with spelling longer words accurately as they will be unable to chunk them into smaller more manageable parts * The child may have difficulty articulating longer words and recognising similar word patterns * The child may have difficulty with spelling words accurately | 5-6 years | * Able to recognise words that rhyme and determine the odd word out (e.g. cat – hat – big) * Identifies first sound in a word (e.g. What’s the sound at the start of ‘dog’? d) * Identifies last sound in a word (e.g. What’s the sound at the end of ‘dog’? g) * Lists words that start with the same sound * Tells which of three words is different (e.g. sit, sit, sat) * Blends 3 - 4 sounds to make a word (e.g. h – a – n – d = hand) * Segments sounds in words that have 3 - 4 sounds (e.g. hand= h – a – n – d:4 sounds) | * The child may have trouble spelling words correctly if they are unable to hear the individual sounds in different positions within words * The child may struggle with recognising that joining sounds together creates whole words and with reading words smoothly | 6-7 years | * Delete syllables from words (e.g. Say ‘cupcake’. Take away ‘cup’ and what is left? cake) * Substitute syllables in words * Delete sounds from words (e.g. Say feet. Take away the ‘f’ sound from ‘feet’? eat) * Substitute sounds in words (e.g. Say hat. Change the ‘h’ to a ‘c’ –cat) | * If a child struggles with manipulating sounds in words, they may not be able to recognise similar letter/sound patterns within words * The child may struggle with creating a visual representation of a word and to hold onto that image in their mind as they manipulate (change) sounds to create new words | 7-8 years | * Uses phonological awareness skills when spelling | * The child may have difficulty with spelling words correctly * The child may struggle with reading words accurately and fluently | Return to top

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness are able to identify and make oral rhymes, can clap out the number of syllables in a word, and can recognize words with the same initial sounds like 'money' and 'mother.'
Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes are the smallest units comprising spoken language. Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word 'mat' has three phonemes: /m/ /a/ /t/. There are 44 phonemes in the English language, including sounds represented by letter combinations such as /th/. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of school instruction.
Students at risk for reading difficulty often have lower levels of phonological awareness and phonemic awareness than do their classmates. The good news is that phonemic awareness and phonological awareness can be developed through a number of activities. Read below for more information.
What the problem looks like
A kid's perspective: What this feels like to me
Children will usually express their frustration and difficulties in a general way, with statements like "I hate reading!" or "This is stupid!". But if they could, this is how kids might describe how difficulties with phonological or phonemic awareness affect their reading: * I don't know any words that rhyme with cat. * What do you mean when you say, "What sounds are in the word brush?" * I'm not sure how many syllables are in my name. * I don't know what sounds are the same in bit and hit. * Click here to find out what kids can do to help themselves.
A parent's perspective: What I see at home
Here are some clues for parents that a child may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness: * She has difficulty thinking of rhyming words for a simple word like cat (such as rat orbat). * She doesn't show interest in language play, word games, or rhyming. * Click here to find out what parents can do to help a child at home.
A teacher's perspective: What I see in the classroom
Here are some clues for teachers that a student may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness: * She doesn't correctly complete blending activities; for example, put together sounds /k/ /i/ /ck/ to make the word kick. * He doesn't correctly complete phoneme substitution activities; for example, change the /m/ in mate to /cr/ in order to make crate. * He has a hard time telling how many syllables there are in the word paper. * He has difficulty with rhyming, syllabication, or spelling a new word by its sound. * Click here to find out what teachers can do to help a student at school.
How to help
With the help of parents and teachers, kids can learn strategies to cope with phonological and/or phonemic awareness problems that affect his or her reading. Below are some tips and specific things to do.
What kids can do to help themselves * Be willing to play word and sounds games with parents or teachers. * Be patient with learning new information related to words and sounds. Giving the ears a workout is difficult! * Practice hearing the individual sounds in words. It may help to use a plastic chip as a counter for each sound you hear in a word. * Be willing to practice writing. This will give you a chance to match sounds with letters.
What parents can do to help at home * Check with your child's teacher or principal to make sure the school's reading program teaches phonological, phonemic awareness, and phonics skills. * If your child is past the ages at which phonemic awareness and phonological skills are taught class-wide (usually kindergarten to first or second grade), make sure he or she is receiving one-on-one or small group instruction in these skills. * Do activities to help your child build sound skills (make sure they are short and fun; avoid allowing your child to get frustrated): * Help your child think of a number of words that start with the /m/ or /ch/ sound, or other beginning sounds. * Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as "Nobody was nice to Nancy's neighbor". * Play simple rhyming or blending games with your child, such as taking turns coming up with words that rhyme (go – no) or blending simple words (/d/, /o/, /g/ = dog). * Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs. * Practice the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books. * Consider using computer software that focuses on developing phonological and phonemic awareness skills. Many of these programs use colorful graphics and animation that keep young children engaged and motivated.
What teachers can do to help at school * Learn all about phonemes (there are more than 40 speech sounds that may not be obvious to fluent readers and speakers). * Make sure the school's reading program and other materials include skill-building in phonemes, especially in kindergarten and first grade (these skills do not come naturally, but must be taught). * If children are past the age at which phonemic awareness and phonological skill-building are addressed (typically kindergarten through first or second grade), attend to these skills one-on-one or in a small group. Ask your school's reading specialist for help finding a research-based supplemental or intervention program for students in need. * Identify the precise phoneme awareness task on which you wish to focus and select developmentally appropriate activities for engaging children in the task. Activities should be fun and exciting – play with sounds, don't drill them. * Make sure your school's reading program and other materials include systematic instruction in phonics. * Consider teaching phonological and phonemic skills in small groups since students will likely be at different levels of expertise. Remember that some students may need more reinforcement or instruction if they are past the grades at which phonics is addressed by a reading program (first through third grade).
For more information about phonological and phonemic awareness, browse the articles, multimedia, and other resources in this special section: Topics A-Z: Phonemic Awareness
More information
Find out more about phonological and phonemic awareness with these resources from Reading Rockets, The Access Center, and LD OnLine: * How Now Brown Cow: Phoneme Awareness Activities * Phonemic Awareness in Young Children * Considerations When Selecting a Reading Program (Access Center) * Teaching Strategies and Techniques (LD OnLine) * Articles A-Z: Phonemic Awareness * Reading 101: Phonemic Awareness * Research & Reports: Phonemic Awareness
Other recommended links: * Phonemic Awareness in Beginning Reading (University of Oregon) * Phonemic Awareness and the Teaching of Reading (International Reading Association) * Phonemic Awareness (Phonological Awareness) Resources for Teachers (Literacy Connections) * Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success (National Academy Press)

Phonological Awareness Description
Definition And How These Skills Impact Reading
A lack of phonological awareness skills predicts future fluency and reading comprehension problems. It is important to understand the source of your child’s phonological difficulties and what can be done.
Definition of Phonological Awareness
Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.
Phonological awareness is an important and reliable predictor of later reading ability and has, therefore, been the focus of much research
The Gemm Learning reading software takes a sequential approach, starting with phonological awareness, not unlike the natural learning steps followed by skilled readers who “get” reading without needing much instruction or intervention.
Phonemic vs. Phonological Awareness
While phonological awareness is a broad term, phonemic awareness describes the ability to hear phonemes. Phonemic awareness is the essential reading skill, used to map spoken language to text, e.g., to recognize that “cat” has three phonemes: |c| |a| |t|.
Phonemic awareness is important: * It primes readers for reading text, which requires readers to know letter sounds. * It gives readers a way to approach sounding out and reading new words. * It helps readers understand the alphabetic principle, i.e., that words are made up of multiple sounds, each represented by a letter or letter combination.
Phonemic awareness is not easy: * There are approximately 40 phonemes or sound units. * Sounds are represented in 250 different spellings (e.g., /f/ as in ph, f, gh, ff). * These sound units (phonemes) over-lap, i.e., they are not distinctly different.
Phonological Awareness Must Be Automatic
If a reader is distracted by the mechanics of decoding, reading comprehension is compromised. The brain can learn to decode automatically, but this requires sound phonological awareness.
Most struggling readers have difficulties with phonological awareness skills such as: * Identifying rhyming words * Perceiving the difference between similar sounds (for example, m and n) * Identifying the first sound in a word * Remembering the sequence of sounds in a word * Blending sounds together to form words
Definitions of Phonological Awareness Terminology
A phoneme is a speech sound — it has no inherent meaning.
Phonemic Awareness:
The ability to hear language at the phoneme level, i..e, to hear the individual sounds that make up words.
Auditory Processing:
Auditory processing is the cognitive skill used to detect and manipulate sound. Most phonological awareness deficits stem from a weakness in auditory processing.
Auditory processing disorder and difficulties
Use of the text to break down and recognize words.
Phonological Awareness:
This is a broad term that covers processing sounds of language at the word, syllable, and phoneme level.
The onset is the part of the word before the vowel; not all words have onsets. The rime is the part of the word including the vowel and what follows it.
What Does the Lack of Phonemic Awareness Look Like?
If a child lacks phonemic awareness he cannot: * group words with similar sounds (bun, sun) * break words into syllables (b_oot) * join sounds to make words (c_a_t) * break words down into a sequence of phonemes (e.g., dash is made up of three phonemes, /d/ , /a/, /sh/) * manipulate sounds within words (change r in rush to b).
Phonemic Awareness research says:
“The best predictor of reading difficulty in kindergarten or first grade is the inability to segment words and syllables into constituent sound units (phonemic awareness).” (Lyon, 1995; see References)
This is phonological processing ability, which in turn requires sound auditory processing skills. The most pronounced and consistent difference between good readers and struggling readers is their phonological awareness skills.

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