Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

Reading 101 ~ Assessing Phonemic Awareness Skills ~ Part 5


My Favorite Phonemic Awareness Assessment Tool

My favorite resource for assessing phonemic awareness skills is the PADI (Phonemic Awareness Diagnostic Inventory) published by Covenant Education Services. Bill and Kristen Eckenwiler created an entire line of diagnostic reading assessments and make it available through their business, The Struggling Reader. These materials were created to help parents assess their own children, so specific reading deficiencies could be identified, then taught. The PADI can be used to assess a young child’s phonemic awareness knowledge whether or not they are struggling in reading.

There are approximately 30 discrete phonemic awareness skills that a child should master by the end of second grade.  The phonemic awareness test offered by The Struggling Reader is a user-friendly, but powerful tool that will allow you to evaluate your child’s abilities on 21 of the most important phonemic awareness skills.  (

I love the fact that the Test and Teacher’s Manual (or Activities Book) go hand-in-hand. Each of the 21 skills are numbered accordingly. If my child needs to learn skill 9, 14, 17, and 21, I turn in the teacher’s manual to skill number 9 and select the activities I want to do with my child. Fabulous! Here is their description of the teacher’s manual….

Once you have discovered which phonemic awareness skills your child needs to work on, this collection of activities becomes a powerful companion to the test.  Each of the 21 skills has 10 separate teaching activities designed with children in mind. There are no boring worksheets or repetitive drill here. All activities are teacher-friendly and appealing to children, with many built around kinesthetic principles to enhance learning. These powerful teaching activities come complete with word lists, picture cards, and a simple materials list for each activity. (

Some of you asked how to assess your older child to find out where they are lacking in their skills of phonemic awareness. This is the best resource I know. For those of you with preK-2nd graders, this resource will help you keep track of the phonemic awareness skills your child needs to have.

Check out this great resource and the other reading assessments the Eckenwilers have created at

Happy Reading!


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Reading 101 ~ Phonemic Awareness ~ Part 4 ~ Older Students


What About Older Students?PA Part4

This question was asked several times last week.  Older students who lack a firm grasp of phonemic awareness need to be taught these important skills or have a thorough review of them until mastery is achieved.  The same things you teach to a young child can be taught to an older child as well.  Remember, it’s all done orally, so there are no “kindergarten” texts or worksheets to make them feel badly for having to review or learn these foundational skills.  I mentioned in the introduction that phonemic awareness activities are a big part of an intervention plan for those diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder. These activities are for any age. Though maximum benefit is achieved by learning these skills early on, they will help a struggling reader at any age.

The next post in this series will address how to assess your child’s phonemic awareness skills. Stay tuned! 

Happy Reading! Kay

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Phonemic Awareness & Phonics Activity for Early Learners

Phonemic Awareness & Phonics activity


Just saw this on All About Learning Press! Fabulous activity for little ones to introduce them to letters and sounds. I thought since this goes great with the blog series I am doing, I would post it for you to see. I am affiliated with All About Learning Press because I use and recommend their curricula, so if my “tech-challenged” brain did this correctly, this is an affiliate link. 🙂 However, this is a free download. Even better!

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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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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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