13 - 15 Months

Simple ways to boost your toddler’s phonological awareness 

An important part of learning to speak and read is understanding how individual sounds make up words—known as phonological awareness. This key literacy skill develops from the time your child first starts to understand words up until they can read fluently. 

Young toddlers learn that words are distinct—”dog” sounds different than “cat.” Then they start to recognize that words are made up of syllables: “dog” has one syllable, “doggy” has two. Speaking, reading, and singing with your toddler helps them learn the individual sounds or, phonemes, that make up words.

3 easy ways to encourage pre-literacy learning in your toddler

1. Clap along with play songs

Many classic children’s songs, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Open Shut Them,” and “Five Little Ducks,” highlight the syllables in words. To draw attention to them, you can bounce, tap, or clap on the words or syllables as you sing. Or, try using gestures, like “quacking” with your hand whenever the mama duck quacks in “Five Little Ducks.” 

2. Liven up story time

When you read in an animated way, you naturally slow down and emphasize certain words and sounds. This makes your toddler more likely to tune in and understand where one word or sound ends and the next begins. When reading books to your 1-year-old, try using different voices for different characters or words—for example, make a loud, deep sound for the word “big” and a quiet, high-pitched sound for the word “tiny.” 

3. Have fun with rhymes

Get creative by making up rhymes as you talk and play: “Our cat sleeps on a mat,” or “Here is your cup, let’s lift it up!” You can also read rhyming books, emphasizing the words that rhyme with a nod or a clap.

Learn more about the research

Anthony, J. L., & Francis, D. J. (2005). Development of phonological awareness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(5), 255-259.
Ehri, L. C., Nunes, S. R., Willows, D. M., Schuster, B. V., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z., & Shanahan, T. (2001). Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s meta-analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 36(3), 250-287.


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Posted in: 13 - 15 Months, 16 - 18 Months, Literacy, Reading, Lovevery App, Language Development, Child Development

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