Deletion and manipulation of sounds are the most complex phonemic awareness skills. Students who are unable to do deletion and manipulation activities as easily as their peers are more likely to have reading and writing difficulties.
Deletion: Say part without the /p/. ‘Art’. Say slip without the /l/. ‘Sip’.
Manipulation: Say mat. Now take out the /m/ and put /s/ in its place and say the new word. ‘Sat’.
There is evidence to suggest that deletion and manipulation of phonemes are skills that develop as a result of learning to read and are therefore reciprocal to reading skills rather than prerequisites. Certainly, phoneme manipulation tasks involving four or more phonemes are difficult to do without having some knowledge of letter-sound relationships. Some children find deletion and manipulation of sounds easier when using letter tiles, which reflects research showing that phonemic awareness training is most effective when combined with phonics.
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