Phonological awareness refers to an understanding of the sounds of language, specifically in reference to distinguishing subtle differences between sounds. Examples of phonological awareness tasks include detecting rhyme and alliteration, deleting sounds (e.g. “say “bat” without the “t”), and identifying sounds in words (e.g. “what’s the first sound you hear in bat?”). Phonological awareness skills develop sequentially during the preschool years and play a vital role in enabling your child to learn to read. In fact, children who struggle with phonological awareness are at risk for challenges with reading and spelling in school.
One of the first phonological awareness skills to develop is detecting and generating rhyming words, which usually emerges in children between the ages of 3 to 4 years. Using children’s books are a great way to expose your child to rhyming patterns. When reading with your child, discuss rhyming patterns by saying something like, “Hat and bat-they rhyme because they sound the same at the end.” Here are 10 top picks for books to encourage phonological awareness. Read more