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Developing Research-Based Resources for the Balanced Reading Teacher

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Improving Phoneme Awareness Instruction
Sebastian Wren, Ph.D.

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Book Review 
If there is one area of reading research that has been thoroughly examined from every possible angle, it has to be the area of phonological processing (hearing and processing sounds in speech).  One aspect of phonological processing -- phoneme awareness -- has been implicated as an often "missing ingredient" in struggling readers, preventing them from developing proficient reading skills.  By the end of 1st grade, 99% of children should be able to perform a variety of phoneme awareness tasks without hesitation or difficulty.  The earlier children develop phoneme awareness, the better off they are, and any child who still doesn't have phoneme awareness by the end of 1st grade is seriously at risk for reading failure.  Clearly, this is a domain worth understanding and teaching well.

-- To learn more about a particular book, or to purchase a copy of that book, just click on the image of the book cover --
Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum
Marilyn Jager Adams, Barbara R. Foorman, and Ingvar Lundberg
Published in 1998 by Paul Brookes Publishing

One of the areas that was relatively "new" when Marilyn Adams authored "Beginning to Read" was phonemic awareness.  This area has been researched extensively for the past 20 years or so, but much of that important research was not finding its way into instructional practice, and to this day, it is very easy to find teachers who do not really understand what phonemic awareness is, why they should teach it, or more importantly, how they should teach it.

Ingvar Lundberg, as part of his research into phonemic awareness, developed a curriculum to teach children to develop phonemic awareness as early as possible.  Marilyn Adams and Barbara Foorman further examined this curriculum, and together they published the curriculum in this book.  The curriculum is effective and very easy to follow, and short assessments to monitor the development of phonemic awareness are provided.

This is a classic example of a "research-based" instructional curriculum designed to build phonemic awareness in all children.

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Last Updated 1-2-05