Phonological Awareness Training: Review

Report Summary


Phonological awareness training was found to have potentially positive effects on communication/language competencies for children with learning disabilities in early education settings.

Program Description

Phonological awareness, or the ability to detect or manipulate the sounds in words independent of meaning, has been identified as a key early literacy skill and precursor to reading. For the purposes of this review, phonological awareness training refers to any practice targeting young children’s phonological awareness abilities.

Phonological awareness training can involve various activities that focus on teaching children to identify, detect, delete, segment, or blend segments of spoken words (i.e., words, syllables, onsets and rimes, phonemes) or to identify, detect, or produce rhyme or alliteration. Phonologic awareness training can occur in both regular and special education classrooms. Various curricula are available to support this training.


Four studies of phonological awareness training that fall within the scope of the Early Childhood Education Interventions for Children with Disabilities review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards without reservations. The four studies included 78 children with disabilities or developmental delays attending preschool in four locations across the United States. Based on these four studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence of phonological awareness training on children with learning disabilities in early education settings to be small for one domain: communication/language competencies. Six other domains are not reported in this intervention report.

Source: What Works Clearinghouse

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