Playing with Sound

the foundation of reading

What is Phonological Processing?

Phonological Processing is the ability to identify and manipulate the individual sounds in words.  It is made up of Phonological Awareness (playing with larger units of sound) and Phonemic Awareness (playing with individual sounds).  It is a critical skill that underlies a person's ability to decode.  A student has to be able to play with sounds in order to be able to associate sound with symbol (phonics).  Difficulty with Phonological Processing makes reading laborious for most and impossible for some.  There are many layers and skills involved.



  • The ability to hear and generate rhymes: cat, hat, bat
  • Playing with syllables putting them together or taking them apart: /rā/ /dē/ /ō/ = radio
  • Identify and isolate individual sounds: the middle sound in ant is /n/
  • Blend sounds together to make words: /b/ /ŏ/ /t/ = bought
  • Segment the sounds in a word: cheap = /ch/ /ē/ /p/
  • Deleting a sound in a word: remove /l/ from blend = bend
  • Change a sound in a word: change /ă/ in cat to /ĭ/ = kit
  • Say the sounds in a word backward, based on sounds not letters: deem (/d/ /ē/ /m/) = mead


These skills tend to be sequential in nature…meaning that one skill may be dependent on success with another. A good reading interventionist or educational therapist should be skilled at addressing all levels of phonological processing.


⇩ Informal Assessment Tool: ⇩


PAST (Phonological Awareness Skills Test) - comprehensive with ages listed when the skill should be mastered

⇩ Phonological Awareness: ⇩


Other videos and integration ideas

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