Phonological awareness refers to an individual’s awareness of the phonological structure, or sound structure, of words. Phonological awareness is an important and reliable predictor of later reading ability and has, therefore, been the focus of much research.

Trying to explain terms like “phonological awareness” or auditory discrimination is not easy. Parents ‘ eyes glaze over as you try and explain how these terms are related to later reading, spelling and writing development.

This week to help us out with terms such as these I got a nice gift from two different kids.

The first, was a five year old named Hank. As part of an evaluation, when I asked Hank, “Who wears a crown,” he confidentially said, “No one.”
I encouraged him a little – “Come on, Hank,” you know who wears a crown.”

Hank looked at me like I was out of my mind and insisted on his first answer, “No one, “ he stated emphatically. When I tried again one more time he stated, “No one wears a clown!!!”

Yep. Thanks, Hank. That sums up a lot o what we need to know about some of these variables. I am going to use that with parents to explain auditory discrimination and auditory awareness difficulty.

For further support after Hank, there was Claire age, 6. When asked to explain the definition of the word, “prize.” She said, “Well, like when you have a birthday party and you didn’t know it was going to happen you have a ‘surprise.”

Thanks to you, too, Claire. That’s also a great example.

Takeaway Point
Those little indicators like ‘clown’ for ‘crown,’ or ‘surprise’ for ‘prize’ may not mean that much, but in the context of emerging difficulty they start to weigh in on the side of the scales that reads “proceed with caution.

In the case of Hank and Claire they were certainly starting to add to the bigger picture.

Just remember, a king does not “wear a clown.”