Developing phonological awareness
‘ECD has been recognised as one of the most powerful tools for breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in South Africa. Lack of opportunities and interventions, or poor quality interventions, during early childhood can significantly disadvantage young children and diminish their potential for success.’
National Development Agency – South Africa*
Soul Action’s work within schools in Durban and surrounds has shown that many learners arrive in Grade 1 with little speaking and listening skills, including phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is a learners understanding that spoken words are made up of sound units (this includes syllables, onset and rime etc.) and the skills of hearing, identify and manipulating individual sounds in spoken words. Without these skills, Grade 1 learners struggle to hear the sounds in words and blend to read, and segment to spell.
This year Soul Action is working alongside Mariannridge Community Centre (MCC) to support 8 creches in the Mariannridge area to include phonological awareness in their curriculums. The first workshop was held in February with 19 educators and covered definitions, the steps to developing phonological awareness, general sound discrimination and word awareness.
Sound discrimination is the ability to hear sounds around you: where a sound is coming from, what could be making the sound and distinguishing between sounds. This includes body percussion.
Word awareness is the understanding that a sentence is made up of words and that words have meaning. The educators shared their own ideas of activities to foster this knowledge and skill. We then explored some new activities they can incorporate in the classroom.
The workshop will be followed up with classroom visits to support the educators in implementing these activities.
In addition, each learner will be assessed to establish their knowledge and understanding at this stage. Follow up assessments will be done during the year to be able to track the learner’s progress.
*National development Agency: http://www.nda.org.za/home/Early_Childhood_Development-23.html