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Phonological awareness in action

Learn strategies for increasing phonological awareness in an early childhood education setting.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.

Phonological awareness involves the larger units of sound, such as rhyme and syllables. Research suggests that phonological awareness is important to develop in the prior-to-school years. As discussed in Week 1, it is easier for young children to attend to these larger units of sound than phonemic awareness.

There are many ways to increase a child’s phonological awareness. You could select a picture book containing lots of rhymes, read poetry, or sing rhyming songs. One of my favourite Australian poems to teach was Flies by Irene Gough. I introduced this poem during a hot summer, when we had lots of flies outside in the playground. The poem was contextual and had meaning to the children at the time. They loved it! When reciting this poem, I added actions and encouraged the children to predict the rhyming words.

Flies! Flies!
They take you by surprise,
They get in your mouth
And they get into your eyes.
Excerpt from Flies by Irene Gough from Beetle Soup: Australian Stories and Poems for Children (1996).
Of course, there are many other examples you could choose to perform. Find a book, rhyme, or song that relates to your students and give it a go!
Woman reading a book together with a young girl Reading together © Mangpor2004
One of my favourite books for supporting phonological awareness is The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson. You might like to watch the video in the See Also section below for a lovely reading. Notice how the reader emphasises the different sounds and rhymes.
Share your favourite rhyming song, poem or story and tell us how you might incorporate fun actions with your children/students.
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Teaching Phonics in Early Childhood

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