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How do Speech Language Pathologists use phonological awareness?

Speech articulation with phonics
Tutor teaching phonics

Phonological awareness is a crucial element in learning to read. Phonological awareness simply means that children understand the structure of sounds that create words. In other words, phonological awareness begins as children develop the ability to recognize sounds in words. The most important element of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness means that children are able to distinguish individual speech sounds in words.

Research now shows that speech language pathologists can use their background to help children develop phonological awareness in order to strengthen their reading skills and to prevent reading failure. Speech language pathologists are normally thought of as those specialists who correct oral language. But scientific research now indicates that speech language pathologists can do much more than that. Students who struggle with oral language also struggle with written language; therefore, students can benefit from reading intervention in the same way that they benefit from oral language intervention. Indeed, speech language pathologists are now urged to begin instructing students in phonological and phonemic awareness so that they are able to read and write accurately. Students who do not receive both oral and written language intervention will have a difficult time reading and writing as they progress through school.

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