Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness ~ Pt. 3

Reading 101 PA picThree most important phonemic awareness skills

There are many phonemic awareness skills and while each one is important, research shows that three skills are of primary importance. They are isolation, segmenting, and blending.

Isolation means being able to hear individual sounds in words, to isolate each sound, or to hear each sound in isolation. “Sun” = /s/ /u/ /n/

Blending, of course, is putting sounds together. “What does /s/ and /u/ say together?” /su/  “Now, what does /s/ /u/ /n/ say together? ~ sun!

Segmenting is breaking the word down into syllables. [Doctor = doc  tor]  Children easily pick up on clapping syllables. For example, elephant has three syllables. Clap and say a syllable each time you clap: el ~ e ~ phant. Another way I taught children to segment was to put their thumb on their chin. Each time your chin goes down, it’s a syllable.

Sounds very simplistic doesn’t it? Yes, it does, but look farther on down the road. Every syllable in our language has a vowel. If a child can segment a word into syllables and they know each syllable needs a vowel, can you see how that would aid in spelling? Also, the brain remembers “segments” of words and will recognize those segments to read new words.  Segmenting a word into syllables can aid tremendously in reading and spelling. Looking down the road a bit can help us realize why those seemingly simplistic skills, that seem like optional fun, really are the building blocks of tomorrow’s successful reader.

Keep laying that foundation, Mom! You’re doing a great job!

Happy Reading!


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Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness  ~ Pt. 3 is a post from




Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness ~ Are You Serious? Pt. 2

Reading 101 PA pic

“Rhymes, read alouds, riddles, word games? These things are that important…are you serious?” she asked.

“You bet your reading glasses I am!” said me.

“But why? What’s the big deal?”

“Because phonemic awareness is the greatest predictor of reading success or failure.  If a child has a good grasp on phonemic awareness by kindergarten, 1st grade (or so), that child will likely become a successful reader. If they don’t, they are likely to struggle through all 12 grades,” said me.

“Are you serious?” she exclaimed.

At this point I realized an illustration was an order….

Take two children. Child A walks into kindergarten Read the rest of this entry »


Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness ~ Pt. 1

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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Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness is a post from 


Reading 101 ~ The Components of a Well-Rounded Reading Education

Reading 101 is a series of posts taken from Reading workshops I have done at NCHE’s (North Carolinians for Home Education) homeschooling convention. To learn more about NCHE, go to


I worked as a Reading Specialist in the public school system before coming home to teach. In talking with parents over the years, it seems that reading instruction is one of the “scarier” aspects of homeschooling for some, especially when it comes to teaching a child to read, but the truth is you can teach your child to read and it can be one of the greatest joys of your homeschool experience. You can be just as effective, if not more so, than a trained classroom teacher.Image Read the rest of this entry »

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The Most Used Words

The Most Used Words is a post from

The top five most-used English words are: THE, OF, AND, TO, and A.

The top 100 sight words comprise 50% of all we see in print every day.

The top 220 sight words make up 65% of all we read each day! Know these words! Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

The Measured Mom

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

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