Phonemic Awareness - MA in Language & Communication

Phonemic Awareness:
Reading into a Career
Holly Richardson
Proseminar 487
April 19, 2011
The Yopp-Singer Test of
Phoneme Segmentation
Test Design:
•Designed for English-speaking Kindergarteners
• Administering the test should take no more than 5 to 10
• A student’s score = number of words correctly
segmented into constituent phoneme segments
•Feature analysis and word familiarity = criteria for
inclusion on the instrument
Test Intent:
• To measure “a child’s ability to separately articulate the
sounds of a spoken word in order” (21).
•This ability is called Phonemic Awareness.
(Yopp 1995)
Phonemic Awareness:
What Is It?
•Sousa (2005: 33): “Phonemic awareness is a subdivision
of phonological awareness and refers to the
understanding that words are made up of individual
sounds (phonemes) and that these sounds can be
manipulated to create new words.”
•Adams (1990) categorizes phonemic awareness into 5
•Hear rhymes and alliteration
•Do oddity tasks
•Blend and/or split syllables
•Perform phonemic segmentation
•Perform phonemic manipulation tasks
Phonemic Awareness:
What’s the Big Deal?
•Sousa (2005: 45): “Research studies have shown that phonemic
awareness is a stronger predictor of success with reading
comprehension than intelligence during the stages of early
•Stanovich (1986: 84): “[Phonemic awareness tasks] are the best
predictors of the ease of early reading acquisition - better than
anything else that we know of, including IQ.”
•Yopp (1995: 21): “A growing number of studies indicate that
phonemic awareness is not simply a strong predictor, but that it is
a necessary prerequisite for success in learning to read.”
•Roth, Speece, & Cooper (2002: 268): “As expected, phonological
awareness skill measured in Kindergarten predicted word and
pseudoword reading in first and second grades. What is more
interesting is what phonological awareness does not predict:
reading comprehension in first and second grades.”
Phonemic Awareness:
It Can Be Taught!
If teachers know the relative phonemic
awareness levels of their students, they can
tailor instruction to bolster these skills as
 Rhyming Books
 Guessing Games
 Songs
 Phonics worksheets
 Drills
(Yopp 1995, Freeman & Freeman 2004, Rasinski & Padak 2001)
Now Back to Me…
How can I integrate my
knowledge regarding the
importance of phonemic
awareness to reading
development into a career?
Traditional Teacher Education
Moats (1994: 82): “The findings of reading researchers, however, are likely to
have little impact on practice unless practitioners can interpret and apply
them. Consequently, the preparedness of teachers who must carry out
linguistically informed, code-emphasis reading instruction is an increasingly
important issue.”
Lead program specialist
“These are professional positions serving as the lead
technical specialists for compliance monitoring,
curriculum development, consultation and advice in
Pre-K through High School education initiatives related
to various Race-To-The-Top program areas to promote
Maryland’s vision of school reform.”
Non-Profit Organizations Need Help Too
Jumpstart for Young Children
Reading is Fundamental
Literacy Council of
Montgomery County
International Reading
Pre-K Now
Don’t Forget the People with the Money!
PNC Grow Up Great!
The McKnight Foundation
The Barbara Bush Foundation
for Family Literacy
Foundation for Child
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Final Thoughts
Adams, M. (1990). Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Freeman, D.E. & Freeman, Y.S. (2004). Essential Linguistics: What You
Need to Know to Teach Reading, Esl, Spelling, Phonics,
Grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Moats, L.C. (1994). The Missing Foundation in Teacher Education:
Knowledge of the Structure of Spoken and Written
Language. The Annals of Dyslexia, 44 (1), 81-102.
Rasinski, T.V. & Padak, N.D. (2001). Teaching Phonemic Awareness. In
From Phonetics to Fluency: Effective teaching of decoding and
reading fleuncy in the elementary school. New York:
Addison Wesley Longham.
Roth, F.P., Speece, D.L., & Cooper, D.H. (May-June 2002). A Longitudinal
Analysis of the Connection between Oral Language and Early
Reading. The Journal of Educational Research, 95 (5), 259-272.
Sousa, D.A. (2005). How the brain learns to read. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press.
Stanovich, K. E. (Dec. 1993 - Jan. 1994). Romance and Reality. The Reading
Teacher. 47(4), 280-291.
Yopp, H.K. (1995). A Test for Assessing Phonemic Awareness in Young
Children. The Reading Teacher, 49 (1), 20-29.

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