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John Cross CE

Primary School

Believe and Achieve

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School Logo

John Cross CE

Primary School

Believe and Achieve

Pre-School Phonological Awareness


Our preschool children enjoy the activities we deliver during Phase 1 phonics. 

Phase One paves the way for the systematic teaching of phonics during phases two to five which includes:

• Knowledge of grapheme - phoneme correspondence

• Skills of blending and segmenting with letters and sounds

• Reading of high frequency words

In order to make good progress in phases two to five, speaking and listening skills need to be established and sound phonological awareness skills are crucial.


What is phonological awareness?

Phonological awareness is conscious sensitivity to the sound structure of language. It is the awareness of the units of sounds - which may be phonemes - but may be rimes, onsets or syllables. Children who have good phonological awareness skills can identify that when the teacher says b-a-t that the word is 'bat'; they can say all the sounds in the spoken word 'dog' and know that if the last sound in the word 'cart' is removed the word would then change to 'car'.


Why teach phonological awareness?

Phonological awareness is not only linked with learning to read, but research indicates that it appears to help children develop reading skills. Once beginning readers have some awareness of phonemes and their graphic representations, further teaching of reading develops awareness of language, which then goes on to help children learn the later stages of phonological awareness.  Phonological awareness is not phonics. Phonics is the relationship between sounds and letters. Phonological awareness needs to be taught independently of phoneme-grapheme correspondence.

Stages of development.

Before a child can make good progress in learning the written representation of sounds he/she needs to be able to:

• Recognise speech sounds as distinct from other environmental sounds

• Isolate individual words in speech flow

• Recognise that words can rhyme

• Recognise that words have syllable structure

• Recognise onset and rime

• Recognise that words can begin and end with the same sound and have the same medial sound(s)

• Recognise that words can be broken down into individual phonemes orally

• Blend and segment the sounds orally


To support children's development of phonological awareness we  provide activities in the following order. 

  • Recognising non-speech sounds
  • Recognising speech sounds as distinct from other environmental sounds
  • Recognising that sentences are made up of individual words
  • Syllable segmentation
  • Syllable blending 
  • Syllable deletion
  • Recognising that words can be broken into onset and rime
  • Onset identification
  • Recognising that words can rhyme
  • Recognising that words can begin with the same sound
  • Production of words with the same sound
  • Production of rhyming strings

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