A child's awareness of the phonology of his or her language is now known to be one of the most important predictors of that child's progress in learning to read and to spell. Phonological awareness is measured by tasks that require a child to reflect on the component sounds of spoken words, rather than on their meanings. Possible relationships between the child's lexical development, phonological development, and reading have received much less attention. However, lexical development and phonological development show some interesting parallels, with recent research suggesting that phonological development may be intimately connected to lexical development. This research increasingly indicates that phonological awareness is tied to the quality of the representations of words that children have in their mental lexicons. In particular, the quality of these representations at the phonological (speech-based) level seems to be critical for reading development. Children whose lexical development has precluded the establishment of high-quality phonological representations of speech seem to be those who are most likely to show poor phonological awareness, and consequently to have difficulties in learning to read and to spell.