Phonological awareness is when children are able to understand the structure of the sounds that letters and words make. This is an extremely important step in the process of learning how to read and children are exposed to it very often throughout the day. Children who are able to separate words and sounds into syllables and recognize that they have different sounds and parts are likely to be phonemically aware.
One of the best ways to work on phonological awareness with young children is by reading books that manipulate sounds and words. Using books that include a lot of onomatopoeia (which are words that make the sounds of a noise) or rhyming words allows children to really look at the break down of the letters and try to figure out what makes them sound the way that they do. Children can be asked to pick apart the words of a poem and find the ones that rhyme. They could then pick apart each rhyming word and try to discover which letters and sounds cause these certain words to rhyme. Phonological awareness is an essential part of moving forward for early readers.