Phoneme awareness and it’s role in the literacy development

Eliška Kulhánková, Gabriela Málková

Abstract

It is common knowledge that child starts with learning to read and to write at the beginning of the first year of schooling. Nevertheless the literacy acquisition process has already begun at the preschool age. Before the start of the formal schooling the key cognitive skills and abilities, which are necessary for the reading and spelling development, are developed. One of these key skills is the phoneme awareness (hereafter also PA). The purpose of this article is making the reader more familiar with the concept of PA in the context of the contemporary international literature. This article put stress on the presentation of the contemporary knowledge of the PA importance for the literacy acquisition in the alphabetical languages.

This article can be divided into two parts (theoretical and practical). In the theoretical part the psycholinguistic approach to the literacy, where the concept of the PA has a central position, is introduced. The PA does represent not only skill of consciously dividing words into separate phonemes, but also skill of manipulating with these words’ subdivisions. The concept of the PA (as well as the psycholinguistic approach to the literacy) has been developed in a connection with the recent approaches to dyslexia, in concrete terms in line with the phonological representation deficit hypothesis. The significance of PA is in allowing of better understanding to the alphabetical principle. To explain this clearly, we can say, that phonemes of the spoken language are represented by the graphemes of the written language. The understanding to this principle requires the knowledge of alphabet, phoneme awareness and the ability to connect these two skills and create phoneme-grapheme correspondences. On the base of understanding to the principle of transcription alphabetical language, we can start to decode. This means that we are able to put a graphical code into the spoken speech (reading) and also we can put spoken speech into the written code (writing). The importance of the PA is considerable not only at the beginning phase of the acquisition of the written language, but also continues to the further phase of the literacy development. In the practical part of this article we try to connect international knowledge of the literacy development and of the role of the PA with the traditional approaches to these problems in our country.

(Fulltext in Czech)

Keywords

phoneme awareness, literacy development, psycholinguistic perspective on literacy

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