Phonological Awareness,
Reading and Spelling
Sharon Walpole
University of Delaware
Essential Questions
• Do you have adequate understanding of the role
of phonological awareness in word recognition
and spelling?
• Does your reading program include adequate
attention to instruction in phonological
awareness?
• Does your reading program include a sensible
plan for phonological awareness assessment?
• Does your reading program include adequate
attention to intervention in phonological
awareness?
phonological awareness of the constituent sounds
awareness of words in learning to read and spell
phonology
the study of speech sounds and their
functions in a language or languages
grapheme
a written or printed representation of
a phoneme, as b for /b/ and oy for
/oy/ in boy . . .can be a single letter
or a group of letters.
a minimal sound unit of speech that,
when contrasted with another
phoneme, affects the meaning of
words in a language /m/+/a/+/n/= man
phoneme
morpheme
phonics
a meaningful linguistic unit that
cannot be divided into smaller
meaningful elements, as the
word book, or the component s in
books
teaching reading and spelling
through sound-symbol
relationships
Source: The Literacy Dictionary (IRA)
Levels of Phonological Awareness
Phonemic
Awareness
Onset-rime
Awareness
Syllable
Awareness
As you think about instruction you are
seeing in your schools, what strengths and
weaknesses can you see? To what extent
is instruction honoring the developmental
levels?
How is it that skilled readers recognize words?
How is it that novice readers acquire word
recognition skills?
word recognition
The process of determining the
pronunciation and some
degree of meaning of a word in
written or printed form
Skillful Reading: Q and A (Adams)
Do skillful readers recognize words as
whole shapes?
Do skillful readers access meaning
directly from print (bypassing sound)?
Do skillful readers anticipate words so
they won’t have to look at so many
letters?
Do skillful readers anticipate words so
they can focus on interpreting
meanings?
The Reading System (Adams)
Context
Processor
Meaning
Processor
Orthographic
Processor
Reading
Writing
Phonological
Processor
Speech
phocks
phocks
This false spelling illustrates a case in
which the orthographic processor cannot
help the reader locate a meaningful match
in memory. The phonological processor,
however, can make the match.
Simple View of Reading
Reading Comprehension =
Decoding x Listening Comprehension
(a poor reader is either a poor decoder, a weak
comprehender, or both)
Key Research Conclusions
1. Phonemic awareness is critical to
learning to decode.
2. Success in learning to decode during first
grade is critical.
3. Struggling readers need to be motivated
to read and need attention to
development of listening comprehension.
Other Evidence (lots of it)
Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashotte (1994)
Phonological processing skills before reading
instruction begins predict later reading
achievement.
Training in phonological awareness and lettersounds enhances growth in word reading.
Older good and poor readers have different
phonological processing skills.
When we measure different phonological skills, we
find them correlated.
Phonological awareness in kindergarten is
causally related to decoding in first grade.
What implications do these ideas have for
your reading program?
Phonemes: 25 consonant (Gillon)
bag
pie
the
go
fir, cuff
phone,
had
van
ring
yes
teeth
lake,
wet
bell
measure where
cat, key, sun, miss, nail,
science,
duck
know
city
mat
sheep
dog
tap
jump,
zoo,
gem, rage, rose,
bridge
buzz
rain,
write
cheese,
watch
16 Vowel Phonemes (Gillon)
cat
sit
cup
wet, bread box, saw,
fraud
cake, rain, my, tie,
day, eight fine
boot, true, tree, key, so, oak,
blew
eat, happy ode, show
car
book, put
boy, coin
bird, fur,
fern
for
cow
found
Phoneme Counting
shoe
spray
so
she
squid
sap
fox
smart
tax
three
thrift
thump
thrice
thought
though
threat
Activities sort. There are six phonological
awareness activities listed, with three
examples of each (easy, moderate,
difficult).
First, group the samples with the name.
Then put them in order by difficulty.
Phonological Awareness Activities
Syllable
How many How many How many
segmentation syllables in syllables in syllables in
teddy?
elephant? anatomy?
Rhyme
Phoneme
identity
Do cat and Mat, sun,
car rhyme? cat. Which
doesn’t
rhyme?
What’s the What’s the
first sound last sound
in man?
in mat?
Tell me
words that
rhyme with
bat.
What’s the
middle sound
in tip?
Phonological Awareness Activities
Blending
C-at. What
word?
Segmenting Cat. Say
the first
sound and
the rest.
Deletion
Say cowboy
without the
boy
D-o-g.
What
word?
S-t-o-p.
What word?
How many How many
sounds in sounds in
sit?
stop?
Say part
Say step
without the without the
/p/.
/t/.
National Reading Panel Report
General question:
What do we know about phonemic
awareness instruction with sufficient
confidence to recommend for classroom
use?
Findings
PA training improves phonemic awareness.
PA training improves decoding.
PA training improves spelling.
PA training improves comprehension.
PA training works for pre-K, K, 1 and older
disabled readers.
PA training works with high- and low-SES children.
PA training does not improve spelling for readingdisabled students.
PA training works in English and in other
languages.
Many different activities can be used in the
trainings; a focus on one or two skills appears
more effective than more.
Blending and segmenting are most powerful.
Using letters in training is better than not using
them.
Overlearning letter names, letter shapes, and
sounds should be emphasized along with PA
training.
Between 5 and 18 hours yielded the
strongest effects. Longer programs were
less effective (but the panel cautioned
against making “rules” about time).
Regular classroom teachers can effectively
implement the training.
Small groups were more effective than
whole class or tutoring.
PA training does not improve spelling for
reading-disabled students.
So what are we doing with what we
know?
1. Choose and use instructional programs
and approaches that develop
phonological awareness and alphabet
knowledge in kindergarten and first
grade.
Research program reviews.
http://reading.uoregon.edu/curricula/or_rfc_review_2.php
Consider program demands against local
resources: people, time, money.
So what are we doing with what we
know?
2. Choose and use assessments to monitor
progress of all children in phonemic
awareness and alphabet knowledge.
Consider curriculum-embedded
assessments, used to inform instruction
and pacing, and outside assessments,
used to provide normative information.
So what are we doing with what we
know?
3. Choose and use assessments to screen
kindergarteners and first graders for risk
in phonemic awareness and alphabet
knowledge.
http://idea.uoregon.edu/assessment/index.html
So what are we doing with what we
know?
4. Choose and use intervention programs
for those children who are at-risk in the
area of phonological awareness or
alphabet knowledge.
Research program reviews.
http://oregonreadingfirst.uoregon.edu/SIreport.php
http://www.fcrr.org/pmrn/tier3/tier3interventions.htm
Consider program demands against local
resources: people, time, money.
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reading. In In R.B. Ruddell & N.J. Unrau, (Eds.), Theoretical models and
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Reading Association.
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Press.
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test of the self-teaching hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child
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Phonemic Awareness in Reading and Spelling