Teaching language to preschool children is crucial to their communication and writing skills both in the short term and in the long term. Phonetic awareness is a skill and ability that allows children to identify and manipulate the specific spoken words by recognizing that they are different parts. Being aware of the different parts of the words allows a student to understand the simplest and most complex forms and differentiate the syllables, phonemes, and onset-rime.
Early language education implies that students should be emerged in the context to have opportunities to understand connections between objects, events, and people. The communicative abilities of children are formed based on their pronunciation proficiency, phonemic awareness, and knowledge of the environment in which they interact. The review of the literature shows that information and communication technology is one of the most effective strategies to help students. The study by Fabre-Merchán et al. (2017) shows that the use of this technology allows for creating an environment that encourages language mastery. Based on the phenomenological research, the authors found that the fear of mispronouncing words is a key challenge for many students, which can be addressed by means of increasing their knowledge of how to pronounce sounds and communicate properly (Fabre-Merchán et al., 2017). In particular, information technology motivates students and develops their phonemic awareness. This article assumes that further studies are necessary to evaluate the impact of phonemic awareness on the overall academic performance of early language learners.
The classroom environment should be a place that accommodates the strengths and weaknesses of all learners, with teachers actively taking part in inspiring their students. Creative and repetitive plays that comprise sound games should be continually practiced in the class and at home. Tompkins (2020) stated that efficient and effective trainers should know the weaknesses and needs of each student and then design a customized approach that will address their issues. For instance, a teacher can group the students into clusters depending on their strengths and ensure there are constant improvements and progress made by each.
Second language acquisition (SLA) is another area of research that is extensively studied in the academic literature. Lacabex and Gallardo-del-Puerto (2020) focus on the proceduralized awareness of the phonological processes in the content and language integrated learning (CLIL) students. The authors examine the awareness of students of English schwa, namely, unstressed syllables in content words, comparing the impact of implicit attention to native exposure and explicit phonetic instruction. The analysis of four groups of students revealed that students were likely to consider schwa as correct, which shows that they were not aware of vowel reduction. The use of explicit instructions proved to be more effective in teaching students to recognize schwas. The results of this study by Lacabex and Gallardo-del-Puerto (2020) are relevant to the modern practice of English teaching and learning since phonetic awareness remains a critical challenge in the process of language acquisition.
The findings of the study are consistent with those of Lacabex and Gallardo-del-Puerto (2020). According to Thompkins (2020), some learners in their early developmental stages possess the skill while others need more attention and assistance from the teachers. Pre-school children’s ability to match rhyming words as well as identify the different syllables contributes to their phonological awareness skills (Tompkins, 2020). It is directly involved with taking note of the alliteration in words, which are mostly incorporated in stories, plays, rhymes, and songs that they pursue daily. It should be stressed that phonetic awareness implies the ability of students to use unique sounds and words to master the language they learn. In this context, an individual approach may be required for each of the students, which can be determined by their background, culture, and experience.
In view of the accumulating knowledge about phonemic awareness, research points to the need to ensure that teachers are competent in developing their students’ reading and communication competencies (Thompkins, 2020). In particular, it is regarded as essential that teachers pay attention to the way their students learn by systematically monitoring their progress. Specific and reliable monitoring instruments should be developed and implemented to ensure a continuum of education, where teachers would be responsive and predictive in the process of learning (Fabre-Merchán et al., 2017). For instance, small groups are considered to be the best option to focus on students’ strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, teachers should have correct pronunciation so that students have an opportunity to learn correctly as well.
To promote phonemic awareness, teachers should use a combination of several techniques. Assessment tools used in the classroom must reflect the student’s prowess levels while making sure to address all identified issues that prevent a student from recognizing the letters, sounds, and syllables. The use of continuum charts allows students to master writing skills since the teachers use bright colors. Using a balanced approach to teaching the students ensures that all learners move at the same speed since the teacher adopts a flexible program (Thompkins, 2020). Instructional activities for learners accompanied by mini-lessons are the best alternative methods to equip students with the relevant skills.
Phonetical awareness is one of the most interesting concepts to teach children, and it is a skill I possess that I pass on to the yearning learners. I use it to help keep the students’ attention because children’s focus span is low, and they can only grasp little content at a time. Games and plays make the process entertaining and engage the students, which improves their understanding levels. I perceive the classroom to be a place where all learners get a chance to get new content. It is an environment that has been specially designed to work and re-visit past lessons. This triggers the learners’ remembrance skills by recollecting what was previously taught and ensuring reconnection with the new information being introduced (Tompkins, 2020). For instance, songs accompanied with tap clap infliction make the students move their bodies as they dance to the music beats. Plays and familiar stories enhance the phonemic awareness of children.
Phonetic awareness tasks that are exciting, fun, and involving for the children, thus keeping them entertained and interested in the new information introduced to them. For instance, teachers should use colorful graphics with animated sounds and letters to attract and retain the attention of readers. Short songs, rhymes, and poems could act as interventions and alternative ways to ensure learners gain a better understanding (Tompkins, 2020). Once a student can read a sentence with ease, short stories become easy to understand for the students since they can point out the sounds, letters, and syllables.
Every child deserves to be given a chance to read and learn nursery rhymes, and those facing difficulties should have the teachers give them more attention. Exposing children to more vocabulary would build and improve their skills. In such cases, some students require to have strict and explicit instruction that allows them to move systematically from one level to another until such a time they have little or no problems. Constant practice while at school and at home using a structured literacy process enhances reading skills (Tompkins, 2020). A sequential and systematic instruction guide for learners in the classroom enables the teachers to introduce new content in a logical and planned order.
Fabre-Merchán, P., Torres-Jara, G., Andrade-Dominguez, F., & Ortiz-Zurita, M. (2017). A phenomenological study: The impacts of developing phonetic awareness through technological resources on English language learners'(ELL) communicative competences. English Language Teaching, 10(12), 83-87.
Lacabex, E. G., & Gallardo-del-Puerto, F. (2020). Explicit phonetic instruction vs. implicit attention to native exposure: Phonological awareness of English schwa in CLIL. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 58(4), 419-442.
Tompkins, G. E. (2020). Literacy in the early grades: A successful start for preK-4 readers and writers (5th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.