What is the relationship between phonological awareness and working memory and how it could affect literacy

A number of studies have been carried out to test the correlation between phonological processing, phonological working memory (PWM) and phonological awareness (PA). PWM is important for the learning of comprehension, written and spoken language (Adams & Gathercole 1995). This does not mean that phonological awareness determines the development of working memory. However, it shows that higher levels of phonological awareness and working memory a child has will increase his literacy phase.

Working memory is very important for all children to learn how to read and write, there are several reasons why students with reading difficulties have such poor working memory skills, one reason is because they have difficulty in repeating the information fast enough to remember it.  Moreover, many researches have suggested that memory and phonological awareness are both vital for learning to read and write, and any difficulty with phoneme awareness and other phonological skills is a predictor of poor reading and spelling development, therefore, there is a significant correlation between working memory and executive functioning and both are related to academic achievement (Titz and Karbach, 2014).

You can help your child to improve this executive function by building some working memory boosters into his daily life which will have a positive impact on your child’s academic achievement. Some examples of these boosters are: memory card games, play cards, active reading and using music to help children remember and recall rhymes, in addition to set a daily schedule and follow a routine.

If your child continues to have difficulties with working memory, it might be a good idea to get an evaluation from specialists. To learn more about this please don’t hesitate to contact our specialists at Qudrability Centre .


Adams, A. M., & Gathercole, S. E. (1995). Phonological working memory and speech production in preschool children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 403–414.

Titz, C., & Karbach, J. (2014). Working memory and executive functions: effects of training on academic achievement. Psychological Research, 78(6), 852–868. https://doi-org.ezp.roehampton-online.com/10.1007/s00426-013-0537-1