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Phonological Awareness


The development of phonological awareness is an essential pre-requisite of both reading and writing. The starting point is oral language. Developing young children’s awareness of words, syllables, rhymes and phonemes significantly increases their later success in learning to read and write.

Initial emphasis is on developing attention and listening skills to provide the foundation for all phonological awareness. This involves training in listening, recalling and sequencing. Children need to develop both auditory and visual discrimination to enable them to link sounds and letters at a later stage.

Teachers should explicitly demonstrate skills in a range of situations. It is important to ensure that children have the concepts in place
to understand the language used, for example, ‘first, in the middle, last, same, different’. Children need ample opportunities throughout the day to develop and practise specific skills within a supportive environment, for example, group activities, modelled and shared sessions, play etc. 


“In developing early literacy skills, pupils need to acquire phonological awareness.  Recognising that a broad and balanced approach to promote literacy is key, it is still important that pupils who have not yet full developed their phonological awareness receive a systematic and time-bound programme of high-quality phonics work.” Department for Education.

Activities in Primary Two

Northern Ireland Curriculum - Phonological Awareness