Phonological Awareness, the Foundation to Reading Success

Ask the Experts by Angelina Spiteri-Bender

Q: How can I best prepare my child for reading expectations in Kindergarten?

A: Phonological Awareness underlies all reading skills. Before children open their book to read, or hold their pencil to write, the groundwork must be laid.

Although this sounds complex, it is simple. Think of the act of reading yourself. When we open a book, we automatically recognize that the sentences on the page are made of words. We have learned that those words are made of syllables, which are made of sounds.

Non-mastery of these foundational skills prior to Kindergarten may make beginning steps to reading much more challenging.

Q: What are Phonological Awareness skills?

A: Phonological Awareness skills (from simple to complex):

Word Awareness and Rhyme: Recognition of rhymes when heard; production of rhymes for words

Sentence Segmentation: Development of a sense for word "boundaries;" knowledge on how to divide a sentence into separate words; ability to count the number of words in a sentence

Syllable Blending and Segmentation: Understanding that words are made up of syllables; counting numbers of syllables in words; blending syllables into words

Onset-Rime Blending and Segmentation: Identification of syllable onset and rime; ability to blend onsets and rhymes into syllables

Once Phonological Awareness skills become automatic to a child, we see a shift in awareness of the components of language. At this time, the child is ready to move on to phonics, and begin their journey in becoming an excellent reader and speller.

Angelina Spiteri-Bender is a Center Director at the Reading and Language Arts Centers (RLAC). RLAC has nine tutoring centers located throughout the Metro Detroit area. RLAC's Phonics First® tutoring services provide individualized instruction to learners who either struggle with or seek enrichment in any academic subject. For more information on the tutoring services available in the Grosse Pointe area, please call 248-945-9690, or visit the website, Reading and Language Arts Centers (RLAC) is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals. RLAC will soon become Brainspring - stay tuned.


Kindergarten Essentials: Ensuring a Successful Transition for Your Child

presented by The Family Center

Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 7pm
Christ Church of Grosse Pointe, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms.

Childcare and complimentary meal provided.

Register in advance for these services.


Reading & Language Arts Center (RLAC) presenter: Angelina Spiteri

Register online at or contact The Family Center at 313.432.3832 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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