Emerita Professor of Psychology, University of Rhode Island
ABSTRACT:The importance of phoneme awareness for acquiring the alphabetic principle and for learning to read has been documented since the 1970s, gaining broad recognition when the National Reading Panel Report was published in 2000. In turn, instruction to foster phonological awareness has become routinely recommended for the early grades. The widespread practice in schools is to target awareness of larger phonological structures such as words, rhymes, syllables and onset-rimes before focusing on phonemes, with attention to the phoneme not occurring until well into the kindergarten year or first grade. In this talk, I will discuss studies that raise questions regarding whether following this ‘continuum’ is necessary and/or beneficial for students. In addition, the developmental sequence of phoneme awareness per se and the implications for instruction will be addressed.