Definition: The ability to notice, think about and work with the individual sounds in spoken words
Phonemic awareness activities are oral language activities; children play with the sounds in the language, but without attaching sounds to letters. For example, rhyming games, breaking words apart by their sounds or counting syllables are all ways to build phonemic awareness.
Why it’s important:
- There is strong evidence to suggest a child’s level of phonemic awareness is the strongest predictor of later reading success (Adams and Bruck, 1995).
- Phonemic awareness provides the foundation for later phonics skills (linking sounds with written letters).
What might I observe in students who need support?
- They may mispronounce words.
- They may have difficulty recognizing and producing rhymes.
- They may confuse similar sounds (e.g., f and v).
- They may omit or insert sounds in words.
- View the hierarchy of skills in a phonemic awareness continuum.
- Read more about phonemic awareness in the National Reading Panel report.
In order to build phonemic awareness, young children should play with sounds through games and word play. Review Playing with Sounds in Implementation Strategies, or explore Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Activities or PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening) for some great suggestions on how to turn young children into readers!
- 2Key Terms
- 3Literacy Diagram
- 4Literacy: A Cornerstone of College and Career Readiness
- 5Literacy Skills Develop Over Time
- 6“Texts” Come in All Shapes and Sizes
- 7Literacy: An Evolving Set of Skills
- 8Oral Language and the Reading Connection
- 9Unlocking Meaning: Vocabulary is the Key
- 10The Vocabulary Gap
- 11How Do Reading Skills Develop?
- 12How Do We Become Good Readers?
- 13Five Components of Reading
- 14Phonemic Awareness
- 19Comprehension — Putting the Pieces Together
- 20Developmental Stages of Reading
- 21Stage 1 — Visual Cue Word Recognition
- 22Stage 2 — Phonetic Cue Word Recognition
- 23Stage 3 — Controlled Word Recognition
- 24Stage 4 — Automatic Word Recognition
- 25Stage 5 — Strategic Reading
- 26Stage 6 — Proficient Adult Reading
- 27How’s My Reading?
- 28The Power of Writing!
- 29How Writing Skills Develop
- 30Why Literacy Is Important
- 31Preventing Summer Learning Loss
- 32Literacy Everywhere
- 33Deepen Your Understanding
- 34Listen to Students Read Aloud
- 35The Value of Good Questions
- 36Motivation — A Key to Promoting Positive Reading Behaviors
- 37Literacy Skills Affect Future Success and Civic Participation
- 38Learn More Library
- 41Check for Understanding