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Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are meta-linguistic abilities (Adams, 1990).Children must not only be able to recite and play with sound units, they must also develop an understanding that sound units map onto whole or parts of written language.
Literature Review The last decade has brought a growing consensus on the range of skills that serve as the foundation for reading and writing ability (Dickinson & Neuman, 2006; National Reading Panel Report, 2000; Neuman & Dickinson, 2001; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
To become a skilled reader, children need a rich language and conceptual knowledge base, a broad and deep vocabulary, and verbal reasoning abilities to understand messages that are conveyed through print.
Children’s entry to these skills typically begins with linguistic activities such as language games and nursery rhymes (Maclean, Bryant, & Bradley, 1987) that implicitly compare and contrast the sounds of words, and include alliterative phrases (i.e., bibbily bobbily boo begins with /b/).
But implicit comparisons, alone, may be insufficient.
Children with large vocabularies become attuned to these segments and acquire new words rapidly; children with smaller vocabularies may be limited to more global distinctions.
Consequently, vocabulary size and vocabulary rate are important for lexical restructuring (i.e., making sound distinctions between words) (Goswami, 2001), and are strongly tied to the emergence of phonological awareness.Meaning, not sounds or letters, motivates children’s earliest experiences with print (Neuman, Copple, & Bredekamp, 2000).Given the tremendous attention that early literacy has received recently in policy circles (Roskos & Vukelich, 2006), and the increasing diversity of our child population, it is important and timely to take stock of these critical dimensions as well as the strengths and gaps in our ability to measure these skills effectively.Recent analyses (Dickinson et al., 2003) have made it abundantly clear, however, that oral language skills, and more specifically vocabulary development, not only play a role in phonological awareness but also are critical skills for the development of reading comprehension later on.Therefore, it is essential for quality indicators in early childhood programs to recognize that oral language and vocabulary development is the foundation for all other skills critical to successful reading. Based on a massive body of research (Burgess, 2006; Lonigan, 2006), phonological awareness is a critical precursor, correlate, and predictor of children’s reading achievement.Children’s sentences often start at two words (Bloom, 1970), but quickly lengthen to four or more words as children communicate their ideas increasingly through language.Snow and colleagues (Snow, Baines, Chandler, Goodman, & Hemphill, 1991) have shown that conversations that are physically removed from immediate objects or events (i.e., ‘what if?Children also must develop code-related skills, an understanding that spoken words are composed of smaller elements of speech (phonological awareness); the idea that letters represent these sounds (the alphabetic principle), the many systematic correspondences between sounds and spellings, and a repertoire of highly familiar words that can be easily and automatically recognized (Mc Cardle & Chhabra, 2004; Mc Cardle, Scarborough, & Catts, 2001).But to attain a high level of skill, young children need opportunities to develop these strands, not in isolation, but interactively.’) are tied to the development of abstract reasoning and related to literacy skills like print production and narrative competence.With word learning occurring so rapidly, children begin to make increasingly fine distinctions of words not only based on their meaning but also based on their sound.