I’ve been asked if and when it’s appropriate to stop teaching phonological awareness. These skills are typically acquired by kids ages 7 to 8, but I’ve systematically taught phonological awareness for students in third and fourth grade based on assessment indicating strong weaknesses in this area. For older students, I am inclined to pair instruction in this area with graphemes (in other words, students manipulate words and sounds using letters as well). My reasoning is that time is of the essence for 5th grade (and older) kids who lack both phonological and phonemic awareness skills. For any age, there is research suggesting that instruction in phonological awareness is not as effective after 20 weeks. On the other hand, it is still possible and helpful to embed phonological instruction at the word, syllable, and phoneme levels through systematic phonics instruction.