From research, a student’s phonological and phonemic awareness is very predicative of being able to learn to read. Phonological Awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate parts of words and syllables. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. For example, if you take the word ‘cat’ it has three phonemes: /c/ / a/ /t/. Students who struggle with phonemic awareness will tend to struggle with reading. The good news is, that both phonological and phonemic awareness can be developed by explicit instruction and practice through numerous activities.
Many students identified with a reading disability are past the age where phonological and phonemic awareness is taught in the classroom. These students benefit from one-on-one or small group instruction in these skills. Student’s attending the LDAWE’s ABC123 Tutoring Program are instructed in these skills. Through developmentally appropriate activities and play, students practice and improve upon these skills either individually with a tutor or in a small group of two or three students.
Parents of my students ask what they can do at home to support their struggling reader. Some activities I suggest to parents include playing word games. Reading books with rhymes is also helpful. I’ve put together a list of my favourite games, computer sites and iPad apps that help students improve their phonological and phonemic awareness.
What have you tried for your struggling readers? Is there anything you would recommend?