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Phonological awareness skills are critical for reading acquisition, yet relatively little is known about the origins of phonological awareness. This study investigates one plausible source of the emergence of phonological awareness, phonological neighbourhood density. As vocabulary grows, the number of similar-sounding words in the child's mental lexicon increases. This could create developmental pressure to develop awareness of sub-units within words such as syllables, rhymes and phonemes. Ifpmid:14513474 fatcat:cgdj32w7ijf53jko6c4ca4utpy