Phonological Awareness: Teaching Students with Disabilities

Did you know that phonological awareness is one of the best predictors to reading success?

Before we dive in- let’s answer… what is phonological awareness?

Phonological awareness is the awareness of sounds within words.  This means the ability to blend sounds, segment words, & manipulate phonemes (sounds) to make new words.

But this can be so challenging for students with disabilities.  

Phonological awareness:

  • Relies on the ability to articulate sounds
  • Is abstract
  • Is challenging

So the way to make them more accessible to students is disabilities is to use task boxes.

Task boxes take abstract concepts and make them hands on.

Let’s take a dive into them.

It is important to build upon phonological awareness skills.  One of the more basic skill is blending words together to make compound words

Instead of giving the words one time, students have the visuals there to reduce the amount their working memory has to process.  Also, by providing options for answers, students can receptively show their knowledge- which is typically much more than if asked to do demonstrate their knowledge expressively.

A much higher skill level is segmenting words into sounds.  By providing visuals, this is an easy accommodation that allows students to receptively express their knowledge.  This can be differentiated for different levels by removing the picture & doing everything auditorily.

Here is a progression of skills.  Rhyming is a tricky one that for some kids it is the most basic skill they learn, and others learn it later on in the continuum.

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