Key Information on Literacy Development
Phonological awareness is the foundation to reading. To become readers, children need a solid foundation of phonological awareness. Is that term new to you? Phonological awareness is an understanding that language is made up of sounds. It is the understanding that sentences can be divided into words, words can be divided into syllables and sounds, etc. This Reading Rockets resource further explains the foundations of phonological awareness and what to expect when.
To read, children need letter-sound correspondence. My goal is for children to leave Kindergarten with letter-sound correspondence. Teachers often call this the alphabetic principle. What does that mean? That means a child knows the name of the letter, its written representation, and the sound that the letter makes. In other words, the child needs to name the letter "M", know how it looks in both upper and lowercase (the uppercase Q looks very different than the lowercase q, but the upper and lowercase S look almost identical), and that the sound is /mmmm/ as in milk. It's actually a big more difficult than this sounds. Did you know that the letter X actually has two sounds in it? When we say fox, the X breaks into the /k/ and /s/ sound!
If you're not totally confident with your phonics knowledge, this video is a great help.