Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Phonological Awareness

Thank you Helen for posting these questions to think about! Here's what I think!

HA: Will be interested to see how today's Phonological Awareness training sits with prior knowledge...
Did it:
- Confirm what you already knew?
- Build on some of your base understanding?
- Get you to think in a new way about language development?

Confirm what I already knew?
With a background in linguistics and a general interest in language (particularly phonology and oral language), it was great to have some self-confirmation that I was doing ok - even now that I'm working with an entirely different age level and even a stage level I have not yet experienced.

Build on understanding?
Yes, it was good to be reminded of a few things that are crucial to language development at certain stages. I had completely forgotten about syllables! They are now in my plan. It was also good to be reminded of the importance of scaffolding - no wonder the children struggled at literacy time to generate rhyming words straight off the top of their heads!

Thinking about language development?
It's probably not new thinking for me - it has concerned me for some time that an increasing number of children seem to be starting school without good oral language and phonological awareness. ECE is going to become a integral part of this language development, and it wasn't until today that I found out that most ECE teachers are not trained in phonological awareness. 

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day regarding the 'state' of children's language. As an ex-linguist my argument was that language is constantly evolving. I'm sure those who spoke Old English were just as aghast as we are about what was happening to language. I have to admit though - the 'development' (or is it regression?) does worry me - I do have that natural tendency to want to protect the perfectly good version of English we've got!


  1. I'm with you, Alice! The development of oral language is so critical for the development of all areas of literacy. The following quotes affirm your thinking: It’s our oral (or signed) language that enables us to become literate, to think, and to communicate across all curriculum areas.” Learning Through Talk (MOE, 2009)
    “Reading and wri.ng float on a sea of talk.” John Bri:on, 1970

  2. You've got me thinking Now! I just found this one as well...

    The extent of a student’s oral language resources has an enabling or disabling effect on his or her reading and wri.ng... In the classroom when talk and fullness of expression are an integral part of literacy, reading and wri.ng are enriched and expanded.” Jannie van Hees, 2007