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BLAST Early Learning Teacher Spotlight:
Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. It includes activities that work with rhyme, words, syllables, and initial sounds.

Phonological awareness promotes the development of reading skills because letters in written language correspond to speech sounds at the level of phonemes. If children cannot perceive the individual sounds in spoken words, they will have difficulty identifying the correspondence between print and the language it represents.

Here is a question that four-year-olds will answer correctly if they are developing phonological awareness at an appropriate level for their age:

“This is a zebra, a shoe, a wall, and a leaf. Which one rhymes with ‘ball’?”

Sample Activities:

  • Nursery rhymes expose children to words and rhythm that are not used in everyday conversation.
  • After reading a book, take a word from a book and play with one of the words in the story.  What rhymes with it? What words start with the same sound as your chosen word?
  • Clap syllables of the theme word.
  • Use poetry.
  • Sing songs and repeat them.
  • If you play around with silly (nonsense) words it is not hard to rhyme or change starting sounds.