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Knowing the demands

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Although most people acquire awareness of these sound units without consciously thinking about them, many adults who are non-readers or poor readers will not have this ability. The connections between phonological awareness and reading are very strong; many researchers assert that, without phonological awareness (and, in particular, phonemic awareness), reading will not develop.28

The road to proficient reading requires all readers, regardless of their age, to develop decoding (‘sounding out’) skills,29 but poorly developed phonemic awareness is a roadblock to developing decoding skills. Indeed, from research findings it appears that phonemic awareness continues to develop because it is used to aid decoding: the more it is used, the more it develops until decoding becomes well established.30

Learners who do not develop or who lack phonemic awareness have great difficulty understanding letter–sound relationships31 and therefore experience serious difficulty in learning to read and spell. Lack of phonemic awareness usually marks the start of a vicious cycle:32

28 Ziegler and Goswami, 2005.

29 A dams et al 1998; Juel, 1988; Spear-Swerling and Sternberg, 1996.

30 Kruidenier, 2002.

31 A dams, 1990.

32 Stanovich, 1986.



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