When you hear the word "dog" your brain is able to separate out the word into smaller sounds (phonemes) - "d" "o" "g". We are able to play with these sounds, creating rhymes (e.g. log, pog, fog), substituting out sounds (e.g. dod, gog), or reversing the sounds (e.g. god). Studies show that this perception of words as sequenced phonemes is a strong predictor of later reading success in children. Here at our clinic we often assess phonological awareness skills as a part of our language assessment battery due to the strong link in phonological awareness and reading skills.
Just with any listening or language skill, there is a progression of natural development for phonological awareness skills outlined by Adams (1990):
- Rhyme and alliteration - to hear rhymes and alliteration as measured by knowledge of nursery rhymes
- Oddity Tasks - comparing and contrasting the sounds of words for rhyme and alliteration
- Blending and splitting syllables
- Phonemic segmentation - being able to identify and count the individual sounds in a word
- Phoneme manipulation - manipulating sounds by taking away or adding a sound, thereby creating a new word
As you read books, listen to music, or play around with words, you are building these phonological awareness skills in your little one.