Reading is a visual and an auditory tasks. Phonics, a very familiar term, refers to pairing letters and sounds to form words. But, a skill that must be mastered prior to phonics is Phonological Awareness. It is the missing link to many reading difficulties, especially in children who are visual learners or have auditory processing deficits.
Consider specifically teaching phonological awareness skills if your child:
-has difficulty decoding new words
-cannot decode nonsense words
-has reading fluency difficulties
-cannot spell new words, but does ok with targeted words on weekly spelling tests
-spells the way he/she talks
-seemed to be keeping up, but then started to fall behind in reading and spelling (very common in 2nd -3rd grades)
If you have a kindergarten aged child, I highly recommend teaching phonological awareness skills BEFORE teaching phonics. Master the “sounds” of reading before the “visuals” of reading.
Here is a check-list of phonological awareness skills. Assess your child to find out if there are any areas that need to be addressed.
- — Word Awareness – the ability to identify the number of words in a spoken sentence.
- –Syllable Awareness – the ability to mark and then count syllables in words of up to 5 syllables
- –Syllable Deletion in compound words (“say ‘snowman’ without ‘snow'”)
- –Syllable Blending (po – ta – to = potato)
- –Sound blending (c – a – t = cat)
- –Identifying beginning sounds
- –Counting sounds in words
- –Identifying words that rhyme
- –Creating rhyming words
- –Sound deletion
- –Syllable and sound manipulation
These skills must be mastered before a child can become a fluent reader. Reading fluency refers to the ability to quickly and smoothly decode words in phrases and sentences. Join me next week as I give activities and materials to teach each of these areas so you can help your child become a better reader One Word At A Time.