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What is Phonological Awareness in Children?

What is Phonological Awareness in Children?

What is Phonological Awareness and Why Is It Important?

Phonological awareness is literally sound awareness. It is the ability to hear, recognize and change the sounds that make up words. It is the ability of a person to concentrate on sounds by moving away from the meaning in the spoken language, so it is the auditory attention skill in the basic sense. For example; To be able to hear and distinguish the sounds /a/, /n/, /n/, /e/ that make up the word ‘mother’. Phonological awareness; It includes the ability to separate words into syllables, separate word sounds, and reassemble sounds.

Because of the flawless nature of language, it is difficult for most children to hear individual sounds. During speech, we effortlessly and reflexively assemble sounds to produce whole words. This perfection integrates the sounds into the spoken language and makes it difficult to be noticed.

Children’s phonological awareness varies. Today, many children have poor phonological awareness, and according to research, this weakness negatively affects children’s reading, writing and comprehension skills. However, it should be noted that poor phonological awareness is not associated with intelligence or cognitive competence. On the contrary, many intelligent children may have poor phonological awareness, which can lead to difficulties in reading.

Why is Phonological Awareness Important?

The importance of phonological awareness emerges when it affects reading, writing and comprehension skills. So much so that phonological awareness skills can even be a strong indicator for a child’s future reading skills. Children who cannot distinguish the sounds in the spoken language may have difficulty in learning letters and putting together syllables in the transition to reading. In addition, children with poor sound awareness may have difficulty understanding the relationship between letter and sound.

What Are the Other Areas Affected by Phonological Awareness Weakness?

Children with poor phonological awareness often have problems with spelling and writing. In addition, they have difficulty in maintaining the attention and motivation that will go to the end in order to complete the task without disrupting their activities. Where reading is affected, it is inevitable that comprehension will also be affected. It is also quite natural that the child who cannot distinguish sounds does not know how to produce them, so articulation problems arise.

What Can Be Done to Increase Phonological Awareness in the Early Period?

You can increase phonological awareness with fun activities that you will do with your child in the pre-reading period. Listening to surrounding sounds, song, story and speech sounds together would be a good example of this. In addition, reading books with your child even at a very early age will increase awareness. Choosing books with many rhymes will help more phonological awareness. Imitating sounds such as the sound of snakes and frogs with your child will both increase awareness and give your child an idea about how to produce sounds.

Do Children with Weak Phonological Awareness Need Therapy?

If children with poor phonological awareness cannot be helped with therapy, in addition to the issues mentioned above, even in subjects such as mathematics, there may be difficulties in comprehension-based tasks. These children may have difficulties in understanding and completing written sequential instructions. In addition, making more effort than their peers in each activity, not being able to complete the task, not understanding it, and always needing the support of an adult can cause self-confidence problems and performance anxiety in children. With therapy, awareness of sound, syllable and rhyme is increased rapidly, enabling the child to read faster, understand what he reads, and as a result, be more self-confident in academic life.

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