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Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness refers to the ability to identify, analyse and manipulate the auditory aspects of spoken language

Young woman playing a game with a baby

Having fun with rhymes, songs and word games helps to build phonological awareness, children’s ability to distinguish different sound patterns (intonation, rhythm, rhyme) and break speech into sound units of different sizes (words; onset-rime; syllables; individual speech sounds/phonemes).  

Learning objectives for children and corresponding strategies for library staff

Birth to 12 months

Literacy learning objectives for children Educator strategies to support children's learning

For children to:

Listen to the patterned language of nursery rhymes.

Respond physically to the rhythm and beat of rhymes and songs (e.g. kicking legs, moving arms, bouncing).

Invite caregiver to interact face-to-face with infant.

Share "tips" with caregivers on ways to interact with infant.

12 to 24 months

Literacy learning objectives for children Educator strategies to support children's learning

For children to:

Begin to do actions during simple finger games and songs.

Vocalise during group songs and rhymes.

Use simple rhymes when greeting and farewelling children.

Allow plenty of time for children to make transition from one activity to the next.

2 -3 years

Literacy learning objectives for children Educator strategies to support children's learning

For children to:

Join in chants of familiar stories and rhymes.

Respond physically to action songs and rhymes.

Read books which involve action words, animal noises and other playful language.

Ask simple questions (e.g. What sound does a dog/cat/snake/other animal make?).

3 -5 years

Literacy learning objectives for children Educator strategies to support children's learning

For children to:

Act out rhymes in a variety of volumes and speeds (e.g. clapping loudly and softly, or slowly and fast, whispering).

Fill in missing word of familiar rhymes.

Pause during familiar rhymes for children to fill in missing word (oral cloze).

Ask children to name objects in pictures starting with a particular letter (e.g. b for ball, bat, baby and bottle).

Librarian reading a book to a group of small children

Storytime in Gilgandra Library

Ideas for storytime

  • picture books that introduce children to rhyming:
    • Where's my teddy? by Jez Alborough
    • Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd
    • Where is the green sheep? by Mem Fox
  • picture books that emphasize the sounds of words:
    • The terrible PLOP by Ursula Dubosarsky
  • picture books that emphasize alliteration:
    • Belinda by Pamela Allen
  • clap out the syllable in each child's name
  • songs and rhymes: