Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness ~ Pt. 1

on June 9, 2014
pPA triangle

Phonemic Awareness

This is the least familiar component of reading instruction, yet research says it is the greatest predictor of reading success. This stage begins when a child is very young – toddler to preschool-aged. Phonemic awareness skills are developed almost intuitively as a result of a language-rich environment. Reading aloud to your child is one of the best ways to impart phonemic awareness skills. Rhyming books, poems, Dr. Seuss, nursery rhymes, and

This could be phonemic awareness.

This could be phonemic awareness.

songs are all beneficial in developing phonemic awareness. There are many other techniques as well, and I believe once you understand what phonemic awareness is, you’ll come up with all sorts of ways to develop these skills in your child. Interestingly, when a child is diagnosed with auditory processing disorder, phonemic awareness activities will be the primary component in an intervention plan.

This is phonics!

What is phonemic awareness? A phoneme is an individual   sound that corresponds to a letter. Bat has three phonemes: /b/ /a/ /t/. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, differentiate, and manipulate sounds in words. It is understanding that “ball” begins with /b/.  It’s what is happening when your child comes to you and says, “Mama, did you know that “bat” and “ball” both start with /b/! It’s understanding that “cat” and “rat” sound alike. It’s being able to ask your child, “What do you hear at the beginning of sun?” and the child replies, “sss”. It’s asking your child, “What would ‘man’ be if you changed the /m/ sound to a /c/ sound?” (can)

Phonemic awareness is not the same as phonics because it does not involve print. It deals with the sounds of letters, not the letters themselves. It is an auditory component. Yet, without phonemic awareness, phonics makes little sense. Once children start to become familiar with the letter sounds, teachers can introduce letter tiles and begin bridging into the area of phonics, where letter sounds and print come together. For now, remember this ~ if you can do it in the dark, it’s phonemic awareness; if you need to lay eyes on it, it’s phonics. 🙂


Happy Reading!

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5 responses to “Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness ~ Pt. 1

  1. annageig says:

    I love that quote…”If you can do it in the dark, it’s phonemic awareness; if you need to lay eyes on it, it’s phonics.” Agreed that this is too often neglected and misunderstood!

  2. Kara says:

    Is it too late to help my almost six year old son to get this? I believe he gets this, but I’m not sure. Is there a way to test him, and how do I help him become more aware? Thanks!

    • Hi Kara! Yes, there is a way to test him! That is going to be the topic of one of my upcoming posts. It is certainly not too late to help your son in this area. Pull out some read alouds, poems, and rhymes to do today for fun. Make it fun. He will want to do more another day. Kay

  3. Kara says:

    Thank you! I will look for your post. Also wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge about reading. I homeschooled my triplet sons for K this year, and we are scrounging together our monies now to send them to a private school. I can’t do it anymore. I’m an older mom (44) and also have a 4-year old son, who’s always causing trouble. I just don’t have the patience.
    On Monday the school evaluated them for First Grade. My husband is concerned they will be held back. I disagree! I believe they are going to be fine. In my opinion, they seem to be fine in their reading, but they are very shy in public.
    When I came home from the evaluation, I stumbled upon your blog. Thanks again, it is really helping me to understand what I need to teach them!

    • Hi Kara,
      I am so thankful that you found my blog and it has encouraged you. That is a great blessing to me. There is a sea of information on the internet, so I am always amazed and excited when someone happens upon my blog and I get to connect with them! Blessings to you. You are wise to know your boundaries and limitations. I have 6 children and have home schooled for 14 years. This year, for the first time ever, I sent two of mine to public school. It was a hard decision, but I needed to get some things off my plate for a time. It’s been a great year for them and for me. My rising third grader will come back home to school in the fall. My second grader will stay at the K-2 school one more year. Blessings! K

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Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

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Yes, you can teach your child to read!

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