This study examined phonological awareness at the level of phonemes and rhyme and related this to nonword naming ability. Poor readers were compared with 11 year old chronological-age controls and 8 year old reading-age controls. The poor reader group was impaired for chronological age in all tasks, and impaired for reading age at nonword naming and phoneme deletion. The poor readers' rhyming skills, however, were commensurate with reading age. Individual variation was observed together with exceptions to the group findings; most poor readers performed within the range of the reading-age controls on the phonological tasks and in nonword naming. Dissociations in phonological skills were evident, including indications that intact awareness of rhyme may not be a prerequisite for the development of phoneme awareness. Furthermore, phoneme awareness correlated significantly with poor readers' word and nonword reading ability, whereas rhyming skill did not. Therefore, phoneme awareness may be more important than rhyming skill in understanding reading disorders.