Phonological awareness refers to a child’s ability to recognise, identify, and change the sounds in spoken words. Reading, writing, and spelling are all necessary skills for your child to be ready for school.
Three levels of skill, namely syllable-level awareness, onset-rime awareness, and phonemic awareness, aid in understanding a child’s phonological awareness. They refer to the ability to identify smaller sounds within words; the ability to identify the first sound in a word and separate it from the other sounds in the word; and the ability to identify small sounds in a word, as well as the ability to blend, segment, and manipulate the sounds in words. Specific instruction and practice are required to develop these skills.
What should I look for to deduce phonological awareness difficulties in my child?
Children acquire skills at varying rates, but children with phonological difficulties typically fall behind on a number of developmental milestones. If your child is three, for example, and you notice that he or she is unaware of rhyming words, does not recognise two-word sounds, or cannot play word games with rhyming words, you should consider contacting us for assistance.
Other developmental milestones to watch for in your child include: at the age of four, they should be aware of syllables in words, recognise that words are made up of different sounds, stomp and clap out the beats in words, or add or change the first sounds in a word to make different words. At the age of five, children should be able to identify phonemes and all of the different sounds in a three-letter word.
What is the cause of difficulties in phonological awareness?
Language disorders or speech disorders have been linked to phonological difficulties in children prior to and during formal literacy instruction. Children with phonological awareness difficulties are more likely than their peers of the same age to experience future literacy difficulties.
How we help to resolve phonological awareness difficulties in children
We assess the child and create a therapy program to help us resolve the child’s phonological awareness issues.
We assess the child’s phonological skills as soon as they turn four years old to determine if they have a history of speech sound errors and if their family has a history of difficulty learning to read and write. This is accomplished through free initial consultations with childcare screeners who use a standardised diagnostic tool to help in the identification of the child’s phonological awareness strengths and weaknesses.
Our therapy sessions are goal-focused and evidence-based, with an emphasis on fun, games, and play. They are guided by a bespoke therapy management plan that includes sessions that build on the progress of previous ones. This therapy journey includes the child’s family and caregivers.