Phonological knowledge (Assessment 5-8)

Phonological knowledge is important for both word recognition skills and reading comprehension. Students who demonstrate difficulties in these areas may not automatically recognise and use frequently occurring sound patterns. This restricts the student’s ability to read words accurately and rapidly.

Assessment task

This assessment can be used to identify the areas of phonological knowledge that students need to develop to read words accurately and fluently.

The assessment includes four interrelated parts:

Part 1: Recognising and expressing simple​ rhyming units

In this assessment students demonstrate their ability to recognise and express simple rhyming units. There are five assessment tasks in Part 1.

Recognising rhyming words

In this task students demonstrate their ability to recognise rhyming words.

  1. Present the student with four flashcards showing pictures of a cat, a pig, a mat and a hat.
  2. Say to the student: " Look at these pictures. There’s a cat, a pig, a mat and a hat. Point to each item as you name it". Ask the student repeat the names of the pictures and pick out the ones that rhyme, that is, the ones that sound like each other.
  3. If the student answers incorrectly, say: "Cat and "mat’ both have the /at/ sound. Does one of the other pictures have the /at/ sound"? Lead the student to identify the picture of the pig as being the one that does not rhyme.
  4. Ask the student to practice this using another set of flashcards showing pictures of a tin, a pin, a fin and a bat.
  5. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to recognise rhyming words:
    • Three-sound words: ‘cap’, ‘tap’, ‘map’ and ‘pot’
    • Four-sound words: ‘nest’, ‘vest’ ‘pest’ and ‘farm’
  6. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Producing rhyming words

In this task students demonstrate their ability to produce rhyming words.

Instructions

  1. Ask the student to listen to the words ‘pay’, ‘way’ and ‘ray’. Ask the student to say two more words that rhyme with these. If the student cannot think of any rhyming words, suggest that they can make up nonsense words such as ‘fay’ and ‘tay’.
  2. Ask the student to practice this by saying words that rhyme with ‘pat’, ‘rat’ and ‘cat’.
  3. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to produce rhyming words:
    • Three-sound words: ‘get’, ‘bet’ and ‘met’
    • Four-sound words: ‘jest’, ‘lest’ and ‘pest’
  4. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Recognising rhyming words in text

In this task students demonstrate their ability to recognise rhyming words in text.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: Listen to these three words: ‘you’, ‘flew’ and ‘true’. These words all have the /ew/ sound. I’m going to tell you a story that has other words that have this sound. Every time you hear the /ew/ sound I want you to clap.
  2. Read the following passage to the student at a slightly slower than usual rate. Students will typically clap just after the word is said:
    • Sean didn’t have a clue where he’d left his blue shoes. He knew his mum would be cross with him because they were new. He started looking for his shoes around the house. He knew there were only a few places where they could be.''
  3. Ask the student to practice this by repeating the task using the same text.
  4. Repeat this process using the following text to assess the student’s ability to recognise rhyming words in text. Say to the student: Listen to these three words: ‘tide’, ‘wide’ and ‘glide’. These words all have the /i/ sound. I’m going to tell you a story that has other words that have this sound. Every time you hear the /i/ sound I want you to clap:
    • Glenn decided to ride his new bike to the park with his sister. When they got to the park, they went on the slide and played a game of hide and seek. On the way home, Glenn fell off his bike and hurt his knee. He cried, but his sister rushed to his side to help him up.''
  5. Record the student’s response on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Producing rhyming words in text

In this task students demonstrate their ability to produce rhyming words in text.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: We are going to make up some rhymes. Listen to what I say. The cat was asleep on the mat. As you say the sentence, stress the two words that rhyme.
  2. Ask the student to repeat the sentence and identify the rhyming words.
  3. Ask the student to practice this by producing rhymes in the following sentences. For each sentence, say to the student: Now you finish this sentence with a word that rhymes. Stress the word in the sentence that will rhyme with the missing word:
    • The frog jumped over the ______ (log).
    • I tried to bake a _____ (cake).
  4. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to produce rhyming words in text:
    • We saw a snake near the ____ (lake).
    • My friend Kate swung on the ____ (gate).
    • Tom rolled off his bed and hurt his ____ (head).
    • My friend Paul is very ____ (tall, small).
  5. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Recognising words that alliterate

In this task students demonstrate their ability to recognise words that alliterate.

Instructions

  1. Describe to the student the meaning of alliteration (the repetition of the same or similar consonant sounds at the beginning of words). For example, Sally sells sea shells.
  2. Present the student with flashcards showing pictures of a bag, a ball, a baby and a hen.
  3. Say to the student: Look at these pictures. Here’s a bag, a ball, a baby and a hen. Point to each item as you say its name. Ask the student to repeat the names of the pictures and then ask them: Which words sound like each other?
  4. If the student answers incorrectly, say: ‘Bag’ and ‘ball’ both have the /b/ sound. Does one of the other pictures have this sound? Lead the student to identify the picture of the hen as being the one doesn’t alliterate.
  5. Ask the student to practice this using a second set of flashcards showing a truck, a car, a train and tram. Show the student the pictures and name each picture. Ask the student to repeat the names of the pictures and then ask them: Which words sound like each other?
  6. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to recognise words that alliterate:
    • Three-sound words: ‘bus’, ‘bat’, ‘bed’ and ‘web’
    • Four-sound words: ‘drum’, ‘desk’, ‘drip’ and ‘flag’
  7. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Part 2​: Segmentin​g​ words

In this assessment students demonstrate their ability to segment words. There are four assessment tasks in Part 2:

Segmenting words into onset and rime

In this task students demonstrate their ability to segment words into onset and rime.

Instructions

  1. Present the student with two flashcards showing pictures of a duck and a star.
  2. Say to the student: Look at these pictures. Here is a duck and a star. I’m going to break up their names. Listen to how I do it. ‘D-uck’, ‘st-ar’. Now you break up the names and say them just like I did.
  3. Ask the student to practice this using a second set of flashcards showing a boat, a lamp and a leaf. Say to the student: Here are some more pictures. I’ll say the name of each picture first. I want you to say the name after me and then break it up just like I did with ‘duck’ and ‘star’.
  4. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to segment words into onset and rime.
    • Three-sound words: ‘man’ (m-an) and ‘tree’ (tr-ee)
    • Four-sound words: ‘clown’ (cl-own) and ‘flag’ (fl-ag)
  5. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Identifying the first and last sound in words

In this task students demonstrate their ability to identify the first and last sounds in words.

Instructions

  1. Present the student with four flashcards showing pictures of a ball, a bag, a bat and a goat.
  2. Ask the student to look at the pictures. Point to each picture one at a time and say to the student: Here is a ball, a bag, a door and a bat. Now you say the names of the pictures. Say to the student: Which of these pictures start with the same sound as ‘boat’?
  3. Ask the student to practice this using a second set of flashcards showing a gate, a goldfish, a goat and fork. Point to the pictures of the gate, the goldfish, the goat and the fork. Say to the student: Here is a picture of a gate, a goldfish, a goat and a fork. Could you say their names? What pictures start with the same sound as gate?
  4. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to identify the first sounds in words.
    • Three-sound words: ‘fish’ (feet, bell, fan)
    • Four-sound words: ‘snail’ (slide, shrub, taps)
  5. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to identify the last sounds in words.
    • Three-sound words: ‘ten’ (hen, men, pen)
    • Four-sound words: ‘west’ (sent, belt, test)
  6. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Segmenting words into syllables

In this task students demonstrate their ability to segment words into syllables.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: Listen to how I say the word ‘pocket’. ‘Pock-et’. Pause briefly between the two syllables. I said each part of the word. Can you copy the way I said it. ‘Pock-et’.
  2. If the student can repeat the word correctly by breaking it into two syllables, continue. If not, repeat the demonstration.
  3. Ask the student to practice this by segmenting the words ‘baby’ and ‘packet’ into parts. Say to the student: Now have a go at these words. Say each word after I say it, then break it up into its parts and say each part.Pause briefly between each part. ‘Baby’. ‘Packet’.
  4. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to segment words into syllables.
    • Three-syllable words: ‘elephant’ (el-e-phant) and ‘November’ (No-vem-ber)
    • Four syllable words: ‘helicopter’ (he-li-cop-ter) and ‘calculator’ (cal-cu-la-tor)
  5. Record the student’s response on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Segmenting words into individual sounds

In this task students demonstrate their ability to segment words into individual sounds.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: Listen to how I say the word ‘mat’. ‘M-a-t’. I am breaking the word ‘mat’ up into its sounds. I say each sound in the word. Now you try this with the word ‘dog’. I want you to break the word ‘dog’ up into its sounds and say each sound.
  2. Ask the student to practice this by segmenting the following words into individual sounds: ‘hut’, ‘at’, ‘hike’ and ‘slept’.
  3. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to segment words into individual sounds.
    • Three-sound length: ‘had’(h-a-d), ‘deep’ (d-ee-p) and ‘face’ (f-a-ce)
    • Four-sound length: ‘dream’ (d-r-ea-m), found (f-ou-n-d) and ‘grab’ (g-r-a-b)
  4. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Pa​rt 3: Blen​ding​ sounds

In this assessment students demonstrate their ability to blend sounds. There are two assessment tasks in Part 3.

In this task students demonstrate their ability to blend onset and rime to make a word.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: Listen to how I put these sounds together to make a word. ‘Dr-op’. These sounds make the word ‘drop’. ‘Drop’.
  2. Ask the student to practice this with the words ‘rib’, ‘tin’, ‘clap’ and ‘drank’. Say to the student: Now you have a go at putting these sounds together to make a word: ‘R-ib’. ‘T-in’. ‘Cl-ap’. ‘Dr-ank’. Say each sound in the word with a brief pause between them.
  3. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to blend onset and rime to make a word.
    • Three-sound words: ‘tub’ (t-ub) and ‘him’ (h-im)
    • Four-sound words: ‘send’ (s-end) and ‘crab’ (cr-ab)
  4. Record the student’s response on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Blending a sequence of sounds to make a word

In this task students demonstrate their ability to blend a sequence of sounds to make a word.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: Listen to how I put these sounds together to make a word. ‘P-i-g’. These sounds make the word ‘pig’.
  2. Ask the student to practice doing this with the word ‘bat’. Say to the student: Now you have a go at putting these sounds together to make a word. You can say the sounds first if you want to. What word am I saying? ‘b-a-t’. Say each sound in the word with a brief pause between them.
  3. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to blend a sequence of sounds to make a word.
    • Three-sound words: ‘sit’ (s-i-t) and ‘hot’ (h-o-t)
    • Four-sound words: ‘damp’ (d-a-m-p) and ‘mint’ (m-i-n-t)
  4. Record the student’s response on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Part 4: Manipulating sounds in words

In this assessment students demonstrate their ability to manipulate sounds in words. There are two assessment tasks in Part 4.

Deleting a sound from a word

In this task students demonstrate their ability to delete a sound from a word.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student: I am going to say a word. Then I’m going to take a sound out of the word and say the word that’s left. Listen to how I do it. ‘cup.’ I take out the /c/ and I have the word ‘up’.
  2. Ask the student to practise this with the word ‘neat’. Say to the student: I start with the word ‘neat’ and take out the /n/. What word is left?
  3. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to delete a sound from a word.
    • Three-sound words: ‘cat’ (delete /c/) and ‘tin’ (delete /t/)
    • Four-sound words: ‘flip’ (delete /f/) and ‘snap’ (delete /s/)
  4. Record the student’s response on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Substituting one sound for another in words

In this task students demonstrate their ability to substitute one sound for another in words.

Instructions

  1. Say to the student:I am going to say a word. Then I am going to change one of the sounds in the word to another sound. Listen to what I do. I start with the word ‘camp’. I swap the /c/ for /l/. My new word is ‘lamp’. I changed ‘camp’ to ‘lamp’.
  2. Ask the student to practice this with the word ‘dog’. Say to the student: Listen to this word. ‘Dog’. Swap the /g/ with /t/. What word do you get?
  3. Repeat this process using the following words to assess the student’s ability to substitute one sound for another in words.
    • Three-sound words: ‘ham’ (swap /m/ with /t/) and ‘run’ (swap /r/ with /b/)
    • Four-sound words: ‘hand’ (swap /h/ with /s/) and ‘post’ (swap /p/ with /m/)
  4. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb).

Instructions

  1. Click on the links provided above to access the instructions for administering each part of the assessment. All parts of the assessment are to be completed to provide a comprehensive overview of the student’s phonological knowledge.
  2. Record the student’s responses on the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile (Word - 165Kb) (doc - 184kb)

Timi​ng

The assessment can be administered over a few days. Each part of this assessment should take approximately 5-8 minutes to complete.

Analysing the results

Using the Ages 5-8 Phonological Knowledge Profile, review and analyse the student’s responses to identify what the student can already do and where they may need additional support.

If the student requires additional support, the focused teaching strategies in this resource can be used to support their development within this area of knowledge. The strategies are presented in a developmental sequence to systematically teach aspects of phonological knowledge.

See: Ages 5-8 Focused Teaching Phonological Knowledge