The effects of the phonological similarity between a letter sound and the sound in a spoken word, and phonological awareness on letter-sound learning were examined. Two groups of 41 kindergartners were taught four letter sounds. First, both groups had to learn the associations between four symbols and four familiar words. Next, both groups were taught the letter sounds that were paired to these same symbols. Each letter sound corresponded to the first sound of the word that was previously associated with that symbol in the phonological similarity group, whereas such a relation was absent in the other group. In addition, measures of vocabulary, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness were administered. Phonological similarity facilitated letter-sound learning. Individual differences in phonological awareness had a strong effect on letter-sound learning even after current letter knowledge was controlled. Unexpectedly, the effects of phonological awareness and the ability to use phonological similarity on letter-sound learning were found to be independent.