This article analyses the role of phonological awareness (PA) in developing reading and writing skills in young learners, studying Italian as a Foreign Language. Its main objective is to identify and describe original didactic strategies supporting students in training PA, the metalinguistic strategy that allows them to reflect and manipulate the phonemic units composing words (Nijakowska, 2010). Research on PA shows a direct correlation between training this linguistic ability and improving learners’ linguistic competencies, either in their native language or in a foreign one (Bus & van IJzendoorn, 1999; Ehri et al., 2001; Snow et al., 1999; Ganschow & Sparks, 1995; Lesaux & Siegel, 2003; Chiappe et al., 2002; Gottardo et al., 2001). In particular, PA is directly involved in the process of learning how to read and write. Which are then the most suitable didactic tools to help students in improving PA? Digital technologies seem to constitute effective means, proposing challenging activities, creating pseudo-real communicative scenarios and stimulating different sensorial channels at the same time. Even if similar tools have been developed for children with learning disabilities, it doesn’t exist yet, according to our best knowledge, a specific instrument for the study of Italian as a foreign language by non-impaired learners. Starting from the observation of a classroom of the Elementary School “Colegio Leonardo da Vinci” in Bogotà, the prototype of an app for training PA has been developed, specifically based on their linguistic needs, provided with examples of usage, exercises, explanations, and a series of indications.
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