While practicing word play with my son, I became aware that he was lacking some phonemic awareness skills, in particular the ability to segment sounds in a word. The National Reading Panel reports that instructing children in how to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in language (phonemes) improves their ability to read, comprehend what they are reading, and spell.
Elaine McEwan-Adkins suggests that phonemic awareness has nothing to do with intelligence, but a child lacking phonemic awareness skills will have a difficult time learning how sounds relate to the written word. If a child has poor phonemic awareness, he or she will typically mix up words, stumble over sounding out words, and spell poorly. The eyes, ears, and mouth work together to see, hear, and feel the sounds. Some children are unable to distinguish the sounds within words because of a difference in processing ability. Some children just need extra practice to develop their phonemic awareness skills. The National Institute for Literacy advises that phonemic awareness skills should not be assumed even in older children and that early assessment is the key to identifying a child’s skill level.
Let’s Go Learn’s DORA Phonemic Awareness measures nine phonemic awareness skills using audio and picture-only items for a thorough assessment of oral phonemic awareness skills. Specific phonemic awareness categories tested include: 1) addition, 2) deletion, 3) substitution, 4) identification, 5) categorization, 6) blending, 7) segmenting, 8) isolation, and 9) rhyming.
Tags: Why Doesn’t my Child Have Phonemic Awareness Skills?