Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Big Five: Phonological and Phonemic Awareness – Part 1 via Orton Gillingham

The Big Five: Phonological and Phonemic Awareness – Part 1

In “The National Reading Panel and the Big Five,” I introduced you to the origins of “The Big Five” essentials for reading. Today, I am going to discuss the first of the “Five,” which is Phonological and Phonemic Awareness. This area is so important to remediation, that I will cover it over two blogs. It is the foundation upon which all the other layers are built and, unless it is solid, the other layers will most definitely suffer, and the student will struggle to read. Phonological and phonemic awareness is, of course, the core deficit for dyslexic students, and the most common cause of poor reading. That said, these difficulties can be preempted and corrected before the child starts reading, but before we go any deeper into this topic, I need to define phonological and phonemic awareness.

When we talk about a student having “auditory problems,” this refers to all the sounds they hear. “Phonological,” on the other hand, refers only to the sounds of spoken language. Students that have learning difficulties generally don’t have auditory problems that are not related to speech sounds. They can understand, speak, and communicate using language, because their phonological issues are related to parts of words, rather than whole words. Reading is a challenge for them because our ability to decode (read) is based on being able to break words apart, and to match those parts to their written parts or letters. In other words, as David Kilpatrick says, “they struggle to connect parts of spoken language to their alphabetic forms.”

I like to think of Phonological Awareness as an umbrella term, with phonemic awareness as one of the skills that comes in under that umbrella. Phonological awareness includes:

● Rhyme
● Words
● Syllables
● Alliteration and Initial sounds
● Phonemes (Phonemic Awareness)

I will quote David Kilpatrick’s definitions of the differences between the two from his book, “Equipped for Reading Success”:

Phonological awareness: The ability to recognize and manipulate the sound properties of spoken words, such as syllables, initial sounds, rhyming parts, and phonemes.

Phonemic awareness: The ability to recognize and manipulate individual phonemes in spoken words.  READ MORE >>

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