Phonological Awareness and Reading Success

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):

  1. Rhyme and alliteration - to hear rhymes and alliteration as measured by knowledge of nursery rhymes
  2. Oddity Tasks - comparing and contrasting the sounds of words for rhyme and alliteration
  3. Blending and splitting syllables
  4. Phonemic segmentation - being able to identify and count the individual sounds in a word
  5. 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.


Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!