Phonological awareness programs

Phonemic Awareness | Phonological Awareness :: Read Naturally, Inc.

What Is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonological awareness is an umbrella term that includes four developmental levels: 

  • Word awareness
  • Syllable awareness
  • Onset-rime awareness
  • Phonemic awareness

Phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken language words can be broken into individual phonemes—the smallest unit of spoken language.

Phonemic awareness is not the same as phonics—phonemic awareness focuses on the individual sounds in spoken language. As students begin to transition to phonics, they learn the relationship between a phoneme (sound) and grapheme (the letter(s) that represent the sound) in written language.

To develop phonological awareness, kindergarten and first grade students must demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).

​ Read Naturally programs that develop phonemic awareness

Why Phonemic Awareness Is Important

First of all, phonemic awareness performance is a strong predictor of long-term reading and spelling success (Put Reading First, 1998).  Students with strong phonological awareness are likely to become good readers, but students with weak phonological skills will likely become poor readers (Blachman, 2000). It is estimated that the vast majority—more than 90 percent—of students with significant reading problems have a core deficit in their ability to process phonological information (Blachman, 1995).

In fact, phonemic awareness performance can predict literacy performance more accurately than variables such as intelligence, vocabulary knowledge, and socioeconomic status (Gillon, 2004). The good news is that phonological awareness is one of the few factors that teachers are able to influence significantly through instruction—unlike intelligence, vocabulary, and socioeconomic status (Lane and Pullen, 2004).

Many students (75%) enter kindergarten with proficient phonemic awareness skills. The 25% of students who have not mastered these skills are from all socio-economic backgrounds and need explicit instruction in phonemic awareness. When instruction is engaging and developmentally appropriate, researchers recommend that all kindergarten students receive phonemic awareness instruction (Adams, 1990).

Phonological Awareness Skills

The following table shows how the specific phonological awareness standards fall into the four developmental levels: word, syllable, onset-rime, and phoneme. The table shows the specific skills (standards) within each level and provides an example for each skill.

  Less Complex More Complex
Word Awareness Syllable Awareness Onset-Rime Awareness Phoneme Awareness

Less Complex

Sentence Segmentation
Tap one time for every word you hear in the sentence:

I like cookies.

  Rhyme Recognition
Do these two words rhyme:  ham, jam?  (yes)
What is the first sound in fan? (/f/)
What is the last sound in fan?  (/n/)
What is the middle sound in fan?  (/a/)
    Rhyme Generation
Tell me a word that rhymes with nut.  (cut)
Which word has the same first sound as carfan, corn, or map?  (corn)
Which word does not belong: mat, sun, cat, fat?  (sun)
Which word does not belong?  bus, ball, house?  (house)
Listen as I say two small words:  rain … bow.  
Put the two words together to make a bigger word.  (rainbow)
Put these word parts together to make a whole word:  rock•et.  (rocket)
What word am I saying?  /b/ … /ig/?  (big)
What word am I saying
/b/ /ĭ/ /g/?  (big)
Clap the word parts in rainbow.  (rain•bow) 
How many times did you clap?  (two)
Clap the word parts in rocket.  (roc•ket)
Say big in two parts.

(/b/ … /ig/)

How many sounds in big?  (three) 
Say the sounds in big
(/b/ /ĭ/ /g/)
Say rainbow
Now say rainbow without the bow.   (rain)
Say pepper.  
Now say pepper without the /er/.  (pep)
Say mat
Now say mat without the /m/.  (at)
Say spark
Now say spark without the /s/.  (park)
Say park
Now add /s/ to the beginning of park.  (spark)

More Complex

The word is mug
Change /m/ to /r/
What is the new word?  (rug)

*Integrated instruction in phoneme segmenting and blending provides the greatest benefit to reading acquisition (Snider, 1995).

Instruction should be systematic. Notice the arrow across the top. The levels become more complex as students progress from the word level to syllables, to onset and rime, and then to phonemes.  

Notice the arrow along the left-hand side. Students progress down each level—learning increasingly more complex skills within a level. 

For example, look at the Phoneme Awareness column. Students learn to isolate, identify, and categorize phonemes first. Then students are taught to blend phonemes to make a word before they are taught to segment a word into phonemes—which is typically more difficult. The most challenging phonological awareness skills are at the bottom:  deleting, adding, and substituting phonemes.

Blending phonemes into words and segmenting words into phonemes contribute directly to learning to read and spell well. In fact, these two phonemic awareness skills contribute more to learning to read and spell well than any of the other activities under the phonological awareness umbrella (National Reading Panel, 2000; Snider, 1995). 

So, as we plan phonological awareness instruction, our goal is to systematically move students as quickly as possible toward blending and segmenting at the phoneme level.

Consonant Phonemes

There are two types of consonant phonemes:

Type Description Phonemes
Continuous sounds* A sound that can be pronounced for several seconds without any distortion. /f/ • /l/ • /m/ • /n/ • /r/ • /s/ • /v/ • /w/ •/y/ • /z/ • /a/ • /e/ • /i/ • /o/ • /u/
Stop sounds A sound that can be pronounced for only an instant. Avoid adding /uh/. /b/ • /d/ • /g/ • /h/ • /j/ • /k/ • /p/ • /t/

*Blending words with continuous sounds is easier than blending words with stop sounds.

The continuous sounds can be pronounced for several seconds without distortion. The stop sounds can be pronounced only for an instant. It is important to avoid adding /uh/ to a stop sound as it is pronounced—which confuses students. As new phonological awareness skills are introduced, using continuous sounds may be easier at first.  

Read Naturally Programs That Develop Phonemic Awareness

Funēmics: A Phonemic Awareness Program for Small Groups

Read Naturally’s Funēmics is a systematic, program for pre-readers or struggling beginning readers that teaches all of the phonological awareness standards. Each lesson builds on skills taught in previous lessons, adding just a few elements at a time. With minimal preparation, teachers or aides present scripted instruction to small groups of students, using an interactive display (with brightly illustrated pages and interactive widgets) viewed on a tablet or whiteboard. Funēmics is entirely pre-grapheme.

Learn more about how Funēmics teaches phonological awareness skills:

  • Learn more about Funēmics
  • Funēmics sampler
  • Research basis for Funēmics
Other Programs That Support Phonemic Awareness

The following programs do not focus on phonemic awareness but include phonemic awareness activities as part of a broader scope of instruction:

Read Naturally® GATE
Teacher-led instruction for small groups of early readers. Focuses on phonics and fluency instruction with additional support for phonemic awareness and vocabulary.
Learn more about Read Naturally GATE
Word Warm-ups®
A mostly independent, audio-supported program for developing automaticity in phonics and decoding. Focuses on phonics with additional support for phonemic awareness and fluency.
 Learn more about Word Warm-ups (reproducible masters with audio)
 Learn more about Word Warm-ups Live (web application)
Signs for SoundsTM
Teacher-led, small-group instruction for teaching regular phonetic spelling patterns and high-frequency words through spelling. Focuses on spelling and phonics with additional support for phonemic awareness.
Learn more about Signs for Sounds


Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 

Blachman, B. A. (2000). Phonological awareness. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Rosenthal, P. D. Pearson, and R. Barr (eds.), Handbook of reading research, 3, pp. 483-502.  Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Blachman, B. A. (1995). Identifying the core linguistic deficits and the critical conditions for early intervention with children with reading disabilities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Learning Disabilities Association, Orlando, FL, March 1995.

Gillon, G. T. (2004). Phonological awareness: From research to practice. New York: The Guilford Press.

Lane, H. B., and P. C. Pullen. (2004). A sound beginning: Phonological awareness assessment and instruction. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

National Institute for Literacy. (1998). Put reading first. <>

National Reading Panel.  (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Snider, V. A. (1995). A primer on phonemic awareness: What it is, why it’s important, and how to teach it. School Psychology Review, 24(3), pp. 443-456.

Phonemic Awareness Curriculum | Sight Words: Teach Your Child to Read

  1. Curriculum
  2. Lessons
  3. Confidence Builders & Extensions
  1. Lesson Schedule
  2. Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Questions and Answers
Our curriculum is based on the following 110 games, arranged in an order that’s research-supported and classroom-proven to lead to successful reading. Each game builds on the skills taught in the previous games, and the children should be confident on each of the previous lessons before they move on to a new lesson. Children who complete this pre-reading curriculum will have a strong foundation for learning to read and will be ready to start a traditional reading curriculum of phonics and sight words. NOTE: Be sure to consult our Before You Start page and our Pacing & Assessment page before you dive in! ↑ Top

1a. Phonological Awareness — Sounds in Language

A1: Start & Stop

A2: Name That Sound

A3: Find the Noisemaker

A4: First Sound, Last Sound

A5: Sound-Source Matching

A6: First, Next & Last Sounds

A7: Add the Sound Effects

A8: Silly Songs

A9: Just Following Directions

B1: Rhyming Songs & Poems

B2: Rhyme Match Game

B3: Catch the Match

B4: Rhyme Memory Game

B5: Rhyme & Movement

B6: Fill in the Rhyme

B7: Rhyming Climbing

B8: Can You Make A Rhyming Word?

B9: Pack the Plane!

B10: I Spy…A Rhyme

C1: Introducing Sentences: Who It’s About

C2: Introducing Sentences: What’s Happening

C3: Identifying Who & What’s Happening

C4: Identifying Incomplete Sentences

C5: Fixing Incomplete Sentences

C6: Creating Sentences

C7: Introducing Words

C8: Word Count

C9: Which Sounds Longer?

D1: Making Compound Words

D2: Making A Longer Word

D3: Compound Words, Part 1

D4: Compound Words, Part 2

D5: Compound Words, Part 3

D6: Compound Words, Part 4

D7: Compound Words, Part 5

D8: Compound Words, Part 6

E1: Stringing Syllables Together

E2: Snail Speech

E3: Feeling Syllables

E4: Two-Syllable Words, Part 1

E5: Two-Syllable Words, Part 2

E6: Two-Syllable Words, Part 3

E7: Two-Syllable Words, Part 4

E8: Two-Syllable Words, Part 5

E9: Two-Syllable Words, Part 6

E10: Drumming Names

E11: Clapping Names

E12: Animal Sorting

E13: Syllable Softball

E14: Syllable Supper Chart


Phonemic Awareness — Sounds in Words

F1: What’s My Word? Part 1

F2: What’s My Word? Part 2

F3: What’s My Word? Part 3

F4: Word Maker, Part 1

F5: Word Maker, Part 2

F6: Word Maker, Part 3

F7: Building Rhymes, Part 1

F8: Building Rhymes, Part 2

F9: Building Rhymes, Part 3

G1: First Things First

G2: Picture Piles

G3: Mark the Misfit

G4: Find the Hidden Word

G5: Say the Hidden Word

G6: Sound Chop Bingo

h2: Last Things Last

h3: Finish the Word

h4: Sound Sort

h5: Make a Match

H5: Three’s Enough

H6: Find the New Word

H7: Say the New Word

H8: Build-a-Word Puzzles

H9: Hidden Word Hunt

h20: Password

h21: Tail End Bingo

h22: Sound Circus

I 1: Touch & Tell: ch, th, and sh

I 2: Touch & Tell: wh and ng

I 3: Quick Pick

I 4: Heads or Tails, Part 1

I 5: Heads or Tails, Part 2

I 6: Sorting Sacks

J1: Vowel Names

J2: Connect the Sounds

J3: Word Surgery

J4: Snap It On: First Sound

J5: Snip It Off: First Sound

J6: Snap It On: Last Sound

J7: Snip It Off: Last Sound

J8: Snap or Snip: First Sound

J9: Snap or Snip: Last Sound

J10: Short Vowel Sounds

J11: Bingo Vowel Song

J12: Snatch a Match

J13: Turtle Talk

J14: Hop, Stop & Drop

J15: Sneak Preview of Reading

K1: Sticky Sounds

K2: More Sticky Sounds

K3: Separating Sticky Sounds

K4: Separating More Sticky Sounds

K5: Cut or Paste?

K6: Sound Store

K7: Sound Hound

L1: Mat Match

L2: Swap Two Sounds

L3: First Sound Swap

L4: Last Sound Swap

L5: Middle Sound Swap

L6: Swap-a-Rama

↑ Top Each lesson takes approximately 15 minutes and is most effective when taught to children individually or in small groups (2-5 children). Use your lesson time to present one new game, and possibly devote 5 minutes at the end to review an activity the child has already mastered. More Teaching Tips ↑ Top Every child is different and will move through our curriculum at a different pace. A child who breezes through the Rhyming games may struggle with Compound Words, while another child will struggle with Rhyming but master the Compound Words activities very quickly. Many of our activity pages feature recommendations for adjusting the activity to the needs of your particular child or classroom:
  • Confidence Builders make the game a little easier for struggling students.
  • Extensions offer extra challenges for children who have already mastered the main activity.
  • Variations suggest options for changing up the game a little to add variety.
  • Group Variations offer tips for scaling up from an individual child to a group of children.
↑ Top Our Curriculum is specially designed and organized to lead your child from toddlerhood to full readiness for reading. Go through all the activities in order, making sure your child has a good handle on each one before you move on to the next. Print out our Phonemic Awareness Pacing Guide for suggestions on how to focus your lessons for children of different ages. When your child reaches the end of our program, he/she will know all the letter sounds and will be well on his/her way to learning to read! ↑ Top Q: How old does my child need to be before I start teaching him Phonemic Awareness? A: The Phonemic Awareness curriculum is generally recommended for children who are three to five years old. Some of the Listening activities can be done with a child as young as two, but only if the child is a willing participant. Q: How long will it take to go through the entire Phonemic Awareness curriculum? A: Again, this depends on your particular child or group of children. The average time, for typical four-year-old children, is ten months or one school year. Q: All the pages have scripts for how to do each activity. Do I really need to follow the script exactly? A: We have worked hard to develop scripts that will make each activity go as smoothly as possible. Our scripts use age-appropriate vocabulary and terminology. We strongly recommend that you not add much to the script, particularly extra words that “clutter up” the activity and confuse or distract the child from the task at hand. ↑ Top

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Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness human awareness of the phonological structure or sound structure of words. [1] [2] [3] Phonological awareness is an important and reliable predictor of future reading ability and has therefore been the focus of many studies. [4] [5] [6]


  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Development
  • 3 phonological awareness and reading
  • 4 Intervention
  • 5 See also
  • 6 used literature
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links


The phonological awareness includes their detection of sounds and management at three levels sound structure: (1) syllables, (2) onsets and hoarfrost, and (3) phonemes. Awareness of these sounds is demonstrated through various tasks (see below). Available published tests of phonological awareness (e.g. PhAB2 [7] ) are often used by teachers, psychologists and speech therapists to help understand difficulties in this aspect of language and literacy. Although the tasks differ, they share the basic requirement that some operation be performed on the sounds (eg, identify, compare, separate, combine, generate). It is assumed that the person performing these tasks must have an understanding of the units of sound in order to perform the operation.

Phonological awareness is one component of a larger phonological processing system used for speaking and listening. [8] [9] [10] Phonological awareness differs from other phonological abilities in that it is a metalinguistic skill that requires conscious awareness and reflection on the structure of language. [1] [11] Other phonological abilities: such as paying attention to speech, distinguishing sounds, storing sounds in memory: can be performed without conscious reflection. However, these other phonological abilities are a prerequisite for the development of phonological awareness. Thus, general listening skills are often among those included in phonological awareness training.

Terms phonemic awareness and acoustic are often used synonymously with phonological awareness. However, these terms have different meanings. Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness that specifically focuses on the recognition and manipulation of phonemes, the smallest units of sound. Phonetics requires students to know and match letters or letter patterns with sounds, learn spelling rules, and use that information to decode (read) and encode (write) words. Phonemic awareness refers only to the sounds of speech, not to the letters of the alphabet or the pronunciation of sounds, so learners do not need to be proficient in the alphabet to develop basic phonemic awareness of a language.

Phonological Awareness Tasks (adapted from the Virginia Department of Education (1998): [12] and Gillon (2004) [1]

Listening ability

Ability to pay attention to environmental sounds speech and distinguish them from each other [12]

  • Alertness: awareness and localization of sounds
  • Discrimination: recognizing the same / different sounds
  • Memory: Recall of sounds and sound patterns
  • Sequence: Determine the order of what was heard
  • Figure-ground: isolate one sound from the background of other sounds
  • Perception: understanding the sounds heard
Problems for understanding the structure of syllables
    Segmentation3 Segmentation3 , “How many syllables (or parts) are there in the word coffee ?” [13]
  • Syllable completion: for example, “Here is a picture of a rabbit. I will say the first part of the word. Can you finish the word" pa _____ ?" [14]
  • Syllable designation: for example, "Which part of complete and compare sound the same? " [13]
  • Removing a syllable: e.g. "Say finish . Now say it again without flipper " [15]
Awareness tasks
  • Spoken word recognition: e.g. "Do these words rhyme: 60 shell?" [13]
  • Problem of detecting colloquial rhyme or unusual rhyme: e.g. “Which word does not rhyme: fish, dish, hook ?” [16]
  • Oral rhyme generation: e.g. “Name words that rhyme with Bell . " [14]
  • Preparation of frosts [10]
Tasks of phonemic awareness
  • ANITALITION OF ALLITERATION (also known as a phonemine and categorization of sound or phonemes): for example," which "which the word has a different first sound: bed, bus, chair, ball ?" [17]
  • Phoneme matching: e. g. "Which word starts with the same sound as bat : horn, bed, cup ?" [ 17]
  • Phoneme isolation: e.g. "Name the sound you hear at the beginning of the word food " [3]
  • Phoneme completion: e.g. "Here is a picture of a clock. Complete the word for me: va _____ " [14]
  • Phonemes mixed with words or non-words: eg "What word do these sounds form: Moon ?" [10]
  • Phoneme deletion, also called phoneme deletion: e.g. "Say Coat . Now say it again, but don't say /k/" [15]
  • Segmentation of phonemes with or without words words: for example, "How many sounds can you hear in a word?" Is this ? [13]
  • Phoneme reversal: e.g. "Say on (as in nap ). Now say in reverse " [10]
  • Phoneme manipulation: e.g. "Say jerk . Now say it again, but instead of /æ/ say /I/" [15]
  • Spoonerism: e. g. felt made becomes melt fade [13]
Development of some biennial children demonstrate phonological awareness, with most children developing phonological awareness in the third year of life, with growth accelerating in the fourth and fifth years. [18] [19] [20] [21] Phonological awareness develops in a predictable pattern similar to different languages: from larger sound units to smaller ones (that is, from words to syllables to the beginning and from syllables to phonemes). The tasks used to demonstrate these sounds have its own sequence of development. For example, tasks that involve detecting similar or dissimilar sounds (eg, unusual tasks) progress to tasks requiring sound manipulation (eg, removal tasks), and overlay tasks progress to task segmentation. [29] The acquisition of phonological awareness does not occur in a linear sequence; rather, children continue to improve acquired skills while learning new skills. [29]

The development of phonological awareness is closely related to general language and speech development. Vocabulary size, as well as other measures of receptive and expressive semantics, syntax, and morphology, are consistent parallel and longitudinal predictors of phonological awareness. [20] [30] [24] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] in accordance with this opening in accordance with this opening in accordance , children with communication disorders often have poor phonological awareness. [37] [38] [39]

Phonological development and articulatory accuracy are often associated with phonological awareness skills, as for children with typical speech [40] [41] and speech impaired. [2] [42] [43] In addition to the main stages in the development of speech and language, the ability to process speech and language is also associated with phonological awareness: like speech perception [33] [44] [ 45] [46] and verbal short-term memory [44] were simultaneously and predicatively correlated with phonological awareness abilities.

Phonological awareness and reading

Phonological awareness is an important factor in determining success in learning to read and spell. For most children, strong readers have strong phonological awareness and poor readers have poor phonological skills. [4] [5] [6] [47] Phonological awareness skills in preschool and kindergarten also strongly predict how well a child will read during the school years. [16] [48] [49] In addition, interventions to improve phonological awareness lead to significant improvements in reading skills. [16] Phonological awareness training improves reading and spelling skills, but the opposite is also true: literacy training improves phonological awareness skills. [50] [51] [52] [53] The relationship between phonological awareness and reading ability changes over time. [54] All levels of phonological awareness (syllable, rhyme onset and phoneme) contribute to the development of reading skills in kindergarten through second grade. [55] [56] However, after the second class, abilities at the level of phonemes play a more important role. [57]

Phonological awareness and literacy are often explained in terms of transcription and coding. [1] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] In reading, decoding refers to the process of matching the written representation of a word with its verbal representation. Decoding, especially in the early stages of reading, involves matching the letters in a word to their corresponding sounds and then combining those sounds into a word word. Encoding: The process used in writing is similar, although the process is in the opposite direction, with the verbal representation of the word being encoded in writing. Again, especially in the early stages of reading, encoding involves identifying the sounds in a verbal word and then mapping those sounds to a sequence of letters to make out the written word. Both encoding and decoding require phonological awareness because the child must know the sounds in the words in order to associate them with the sounds of the letters.


Phonological awareness is an auditory skill developed through various activities that introduce learners to the sound structure of language and teach them to recognize, identify and manage it. Listening skills are an important foundation for developing phonological awareness, and they are usually developed first. [12] [63] Thus, the scope and sequence of instruction in an early childhood literacy program typically begins with an emphasis on listening as teachers instruct children to pay attention to and distinguish sounds, including environmental sounds and speech sounds. Early phonological awareness training also includes the use of songs, nursery rhymes, and games to help students become aware of sounds and rhythms of speech rather than meanings, including rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and prosody. While exposure to different sound patterns in songs and poems is the start of developing phonological awareness, exposure alone is not enough because traditional activities that are accompanied by songs and nursery rhymes usually focus on helping learners understand the meanings of words rather than reverse attention to sounds. Therefore, different strategies need to be applied to help students become attentive to sounds instead. Specific activities that involve students in paying attention to the sounds of the language and demonstrating their recognition include waving their arms while listening to rhymes, stomping their feet along with alliteration, clapping at syllables in names, and stretching their arms slowly while segmenting words. Phonological awareness is technically only about sounds, and students do not need to know the letters of the alphabet to be able to develop phonological awareness.

Students in primary education sometimes learn phonological awareness in the context of literacy activities, especially phonemic awareness. [64] Some research suggests that, at least for older children, it may be beneficial to expand the development of phonological awareness skills in the context of letter and spelling activities. [ citation needed ] A number of scientists are working on this approach. [ 9 Blachman, Benita (2000). Road to Code: Phonology Awareness Program for Young Children . Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks. ISBN 1557664382 . OCLC 42692283.

further reading

  • Gail T. Gillon (November 20, 2017). Phonological awareness, second edition: from research to practice . Guildford Publications. ISBN 978-1-4625-3291-9 .

external links

  • WikEd phonemic awareness page

Phonological awareness -

phonological information. It denotes the ability to record, process, retrieve and store linguistic information. Information that allows you to use knowledge of the phonetic structure of the language. To do this, children must look beyond the meaning of language and understand that sentences are made of words, words are made of syllables, and syllables are made of sounds, that some words are longer and others are shorter. It's about understanding what the first sound of a word is, how it ends, and that some words rhyme.

There are two main aspects: Phonological awareness in a broader sense includes the ability to break words into syllables and combine syllables into one word. On the other hand, phonological awareness in a narrower sense describes the ability to recognize original sounds, form a word from sounds, or break a word into its sounds.


  • 1 Development of phonological awareness
  • 2 Importance of early detection
  • 3 diagnostics
    • 3.1 Prevention options before and at the start of writing
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Bibliography
  • 6 web links
  • 7 individual proofs

Development of phonological awareness

It can be assumed that phonological awareness skills in a broader sense are first studied. This includes, for example, identifying rhymes and segmenting syllables. These skills are often acquired spontaneously, while phonological awareness skills in a narrower sense are usually acquired through explicit guidance, such as B. in school. If, for example, children acquire the ability to identify individual sounds from words before they go to school, or to form a word from several sounds, this indicates an understanding of the phoneme-grapheme correspondence.

The Importance of Early Detection

Enrolling a child in school does not mean “zero hour” in terms of learning to write. Instead, learning to read and write is tied to previous skills that children develop differently at the start of first grade. Phonological information processing and especially phonological awareness are of particular importance.

The ability to analyze the sound structure of words and, if necessary, manipulate them is greatly facilitated by school lessons. But it already plays a huge role in entering the school. Children who have problems in this area by the end of kindergarten are also at risk of developing reading and spelling difficulties (dyslexia).

Phonological awareness is the most important single predictor (=characteristic with predictive power) of reading development (Elbro 1996), and a strong relationship can be demonstrated between it and spelling ability. About 2/3 of children who later develop reading and spelling disorders can already be recognized in preschool or at school entry due to poor phonological awareness.

For this reason, the early diagnosis of problems in the area of ​​phonological awareness is recognized by many researchers as a special role in prevention. However, a number of more recent studies attribute the diagnostic and predictive power of tests to phonological awareness, as well as the need and effectiveness of their promotion before the start of reading and writing lessons.


There are several tests for recording phonological awareness at the beginning of learning, of which the Bielefeld Screening (BISC, Jansen et al. , 1999) is by far the best known. The BISC is a single test (taken on only one child at a time) and takes about 30 minutes. A "Group Test for Early Detection of Reading and Spelling Difficulties" has also been available since 2004 and can be given in small groups of a maximum of 10 to 12 children (Barth/Gomm 2004).

The test includes six sections: rhyme recognition, syllable segmentation, initial sound analysis, sound synthesis, word length determination and final sound determination. Processing time 45 (kindergarten) or 60 minutes (school entry). The Test Guide contains cut-off criteria (thresholds) against which to base the risk of reading and spelling difficulties. With the group test, 84.7% of the children were correctly classified in the test evaluation.

Sensitivity was 63%, specificity 87.1%, i.e. HOUR. 63% of later affected and 87.1% of later unaffected children were correctly identified as such. Thus, most children at risk can receive special support measures in a timely manner, and children who are erroneously classified as children at risk will certainly not suffer from additional support measures. However, since not all at-risk children are recognized long-term, the teacher must remain vigilant during the first reading lesson.

In addition to the two procedures mentioned, there are a number of other checks for preschool and primary schools:

  1. Breuer and Weiffen (1994) differentiation pattern
  2. "Hörhausen Tour" Marchinka et al. (2001) and related tutorial "Learning to Read and Write Easier with Witch Susi" Forster and Marchinka (2001)
  3. Basic Reading and Writing (BAKO) from Stock et al. (2004)

Prevention options before and at the beginning of the development of written speech

As early as the 1980s, Sweden developed an early childhood education program that has been scientifically proven to be effective (Lundberg et al. 1988). The children who participated in this curriculum had a clear advantage in their further learning of written language. This program has been adapted for the German-speaking region by Küspert and Schneider (2003, 4th edition) under the title "Hören, Lausch, Learn" and its effectiveness has been tested in several longitudinal studies.

Children who were classified as at risk at preschool age based on Bielefeld screening (Jansen et al., 1999) achieved almost identical results in reading and spelling at school after graduation, as unsupported children from the unread control group. . In this way, the risks could be compensated to a large extent by training in the second half of the kindergarten year (Küspert 1998). But not only children at risk benefit from this training program. Even normally gifted children showed a clear improvement in written language acquisition and a significant improvement in reading and writing skills (Schneider et al. 1998).

The program is designed for 20 weeks and consists of 6 units (eavesdropping, rhymes, sentences and words, syllables, initials and phonemes), a total of 57 units of exercises. Two groups of exercises for 5 minutes each are planned for each day. The order of the exercises is given, and the tasks are ranked according to increasing difficulty. The optimal application deadline is the last six months of kindergarten and the starting stage. The application does not cause problems even after a short learning period. B. can also be carried out by teachers.

In addition to the exemplary theoretical basis and proven effectiveness of the program, its ease of implementation and ease of use should be emphasized (Souvignier 2003). However, other studies show that alternative funding programs perform just as well - and that there is a very large variation within individual programs (see Brügelmann, for example, Franzkowiak 2008, Lenel 2005, Rackwitz 2008 and review by Hans Brügelmann 2005/2009).

See also

  • Phoneme analysis


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  • H. Breuer, M. Weiffen: learning difficulties at the beginning of school. School Entry Diagnostics for Early Identification and Early Support . Beltz, Weinheim 1994, ISBN 3-407-62170-1.
  • H. Brügelmann: Predictive risk of risk predictions - an opportunity for "children at risk"? In: B. Hofmann, A. Sasse (ed.): Transitions. Children and letter between kindergarten and school. Report of the annual meeting of the German Society for Reading and Writing. German Society for Reading and Writing, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-9809663-2-1, pp. 146–172. (updated 2009 in online pdf version)
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  • T. Franzkowiak: From the BLISS symbol to alphabetic writing. Development and testing of an approach to preschool support to prevent learning difficulties in the acquisition of written language. Thesis. Siegen 2008, DNB 989767124. (website: )
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  • P. Kuspert: Phonological awareness and mastery of written speech : On the influence of preschool propaganda of phonological awareness on the acquisition of reading and spelling. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-631-32529-0.
  • P. Küspert, W. Schneider: Listen, listen, learn. 4th edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 2003
  • A. Lenel: Letter Acquisition at Preschool Age - A Longitudinal Study of Developmental Psychology. Balti, Weinheim 2005.
  • I. Lundberg, J. Frost, O. Petersen: Effects of an extensive curriculum to stimulate phonological awareness in preschool children . At: Quarterly Research Reading. 23: 263-284 (1988).
  • S. Marchinke, E. Kirschhok, A. Frank: Tour of Hörhausen. The procedure for conducting a survey on phonological awareness. Diagnosis and support in mastering written language . Auer, Donauwörth 2001.
  • R.-P. Rackwitz: Is phonological awareness really a prerequisite for successful mastery of written speech ? V: Pedagogical science and pedagogical research are contradictory. 2008 (online at: )
  • R.-P. Rackwitz: Phonological awareness: a "necessary" prerequisite for successful literacy? Mons Reading Conference Lecture 2011 ( 17th European Reading Conference in Mons / Belgium. To: )
  • W. Schneider, J. Näslund: The influence of early metalinguistic competences and memory capacity on reading and spelling in primary school: findings from the Munich Longitudinal Study on the Genesis of Individual Competences (LOGIC) . In: European Journal of Educational Psychology.

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