Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and play with the individual and smaller sounds in words.
Phonological awareness includes the ability to hear and create rhymes, to say words with sounds or chunks left out and the ability to put two word chunks together to make a word. Most children who have difficulty in reading have trouble in phonological awareness.
Nonsense, rhyming, and word play. These are the hallmarks of early childhood songs, rhymes, poetry and picture book language. They are also aspects of phonological awareness, an important early literacy skill. Every time you share a nursery rhyme or fingerplay, play word games, or read-aloud a picture book with rhyming language, you're helping your child get ready to read!
For more suggestions on children's books and music to help build this skill in young children, check out the phonological awareness spotlight on the library's Birth to Six web site.