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Chapter image Chapter 20: Strategy 18: Phonological awareness and processing

Self Evaluation

Please rate yourself or a teacher you have closely observed.




18. Teaches phonological processing

In the case of beginning readers, (including learners with special educational needs), you help them to

(a) notice, reflect upon and manipulate sounds in words, and (b) separate, blend and manipulate sounds. This approach to teaching reading accompanies, but does not replace, a whole-language approach to reading and attention to vocabulary development, fluency and comprehension.


Mitchell, 2014, pp213–222.

You actively teach the following:

  1. listening strategies to help learners develop active, attentive and analytical listening skills,
  2. word-level strategies to help learners become aware that words can stand alone,
  3. syllable strategies to help learners become aware of the segments of words,
  4. phonemic/rhyming strategies to facilitate learners’ awareness of sound structures and patterns in words.
  1. All the indicators are regularly met.
  2. All the indicators are occasionally met
  3. Some of the indicators are occasionally met.
  4. None of the indicators are met.

YouTubeYouTube links

Phonological awareness. (10.09 US)

An overview of phonological awareness.


An introduction to phonology. (9.14 UK)

A talk on the basics of phonology.


Phonemic awareness. (6.46 US)

Dr Andrew Johnson gives an illustrated presentation on phonemes and phonemic awareness.


websitesWeb links

Torgesen, J. and  Mathes, P. (1998). What every teacher should know about phonological awareness. Florida Department of Education: Division of Public Schools and Community Education.

This website addresses these questions: ‘What is phonological awareness?’, ‘Why is phonological awareness important in learning to read?’, ‘What is the normal developmental course for phonological awareness?’, ‘What causes differences among children in phonological awareness?’ and ‘Can direct instruction in phonological awareness help children learn to read more easily?’


Smith, S.B., Simmons, D.C. and Kame’enui, E.J. Phonological awareness: Curricular and instructional implications for diverse learners. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon.

This paper discusses the following: 1. Phonological processing explains much of the difference between good and poor readers. 2. Phonological awareness is a unitary construct with multiple dimensions. 3. Phonological awareness is causally and reciprocally related to reading acquisition. 4. Phonological awareness is a necessary but insufficient skill for early reading acquisition. 5. Phonological awareness is teachable and promoted by attending to instructional design variables.


journalsJournal links

Tunmer, W.E., Chapman, J.W., Greaney, K.T. and Prochnow, J.E. (2002). ‘The contribution of educational psychology to intervention research and practice’. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 49(1), 11–29.

Advances in psychological theory have made significant contributions to the considerable progress that has been achieved in intervention research and practice, especially in the past two decades. This article presents a discussion of the major conceptual and methodological issues that have arisen in intervention research, with a focus on interventions for children with learning problems, particularly reading problems. Examples from our own research are presented to illustrate how conceptual and methodological factors in intervention research can be taken into consideration in the design of intervention studies.

Clendon, S., Gillon, G. and Yoder, D. (2005). ‘Initial insights into phoneme awareness intervention for children with complex communication needs’. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 52(1), 7–31.

This study provides insights into the benefits of phoneme awareness intervention for children with complex communication needs (CCN). The specific aims of the study were: (1) to determine whether phoneme awareness skills can be successfully trained in children with CCN; and (2) to observe any transfer effects to phoneme awareness tasks not directly targeted during intervention, and to the encoding and decoding of printed words.