Thursday, June 28, 2012

Phonological Awareness: Instructional and Assessment Guidelines

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.

Read more of this article here: Phonological Awareness: Instructional and Assessment Guidelines | LD Topics | LD OnLine

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