If you are wondering what is phonoglocial awareness, we can help! In simple terms, phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes in words. This skill is critical for reading success in pre-k, kindergartners, and first grade. In this blog post we will give what is an example of phonological awareness, why it matters at the kindergarten level, plus lots of phonemic activities to work on this crucial skill for early readers. Let’s dive right into what is phonemic awareness!
What is Phonological Awareness
Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes. Phonemes are the individual elements of sounds in any language.
Reading and understanding word sounds are vital! If we want children to be good readers, we need them to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words. It is important because studies show that children with a solid phonemic awareness in Kindergarten are more likely to experience reading success later (source).
What is an Example of Phonological Awareness
The English language has 44 phonemes. If you’re interested, you can see a complete list here.
An example of phonemes would be the
beginning sound “s.”
ending sound “d.”
These individual sounds come together to make the word “sad.” A learner with well-developed phonemic awareness will isolate and hear each sound and blend them together to read the complete word.
Also, some letters have different sounds. Which sound is used depends on where the phoneme is placed in a word. For example, the letter ‘e’ makes one sound in the wordnet and another in the world meet. On the other hand, some letters make a completely different sound when put together in a word. Here are some examples
What is Phonemic Awareness
Children can show phonemic awareness in many ways. These include:
Being able to name words that all begin with the same sound. For example, net, nap, and nut all start with the n phoneme.
Having the ability to hear and name the beginning and ending sounds of simple words. For example, the beginning sound of the word net is /n/ and the ending sound of nut is /t/.”)
Understand how to blend the individual sounds in a word read it. For example, “/n/, /a/, /p/ – nap.”)
Being able to reverse the process to break a word into each individual sounds
What is Phonological Awareness and Why is it Important
Children’s ability to hear and work with sounds is one of the significant factors determining their readiness to read. All the words in our language are made up of different sounds. The way different sounds combine is what makes each word unique.
Having the ability to recognize those different sounds is the first step in a long process. Eventually, children discover that letters (and groups of letters) represent the sounds of spoken language.
For example, the words cap, tap, and map all have the same ending sound. However, the different beginning sounds make each one of these words unique.
Phonemic awareness must be developed before phonics instruction. It will be tough for your child to succeed in phonics if they cannot connect the sounds and the written letters.
Watching your child suddenly make the connection between the sounds and the written word is AMAZING! You suddenly see the light turn on in their brain. It is exciting for everyone and it never gets old.
What is Phonemic Awareness in Reading
Children’s phonological awareness abilities improve as they become more sensitive to smaller and smaller word parts. They slowly learn how to hear and rearrange these sounds to make new words. But it takes time and practice for these skills to emerge.
Children begin to recognize the sounds of their language around the age of two. They’ll start to enjoy rhymes and wordplay.
With lots of practice and experience, children slowly begin to detect differences between similar and dissimilar sounding words. After that, they start to identify and count syllables within words.
Learning to hear the different phonemes in a word is the most challenging part of phonemic awareness. It takes a lot of practice, but it is imperative to take the time to build this skill.
Phonemic awareness develops as children improve and build on the previous level. One step naturally leads to the next.
Phonological Awareness Skills
It is important to remember that phonemic awareness develops over time. Don’t expect your child to be able to identify all phonemes right away, but do encourage them every step of the way through fun activities.
This is the recommended order of activities
Counting, tapping, blending, and dividing a word into syllables
Identifying and matching beginning sounds in words
Identifying and matching final and middle sounds
Blending sounds into words
See this post for more information about each of these stages. It also has a helpful table that gives the approximate age children develop the skills.
Phonemic Awareness Activities
When it comes to phonemic awareness, games are your secret weapon. They encourage children to practice the skills in a fun and engaging way. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of games and activities that you and your children may enjoy together.
The very best way to introduce rhyming is to read lots and lots of rhyming books. Most of these books appeal to our kid’s sense of humor, so have fun with them. Draw children’s attention to the rhymes in the book. Click here for a great list of books that rhyme.
Here are some great activities for identifying beginning sounds.
Looking for more fun and free begining sounds printables? You will love these engaging activities that help kids work on phonemic awareness
As children progress in phonics they work on digraphs and blends. Digraphs are two consonants that make one sound such as /TH/ sys thumb. Consonant blends have two constonants that each still make their own sound such as . If you are looking for more blends for kids games, worksheets, and activities? Check out these resoures or see all our digraph activities or consonant activities.
What Does the Lack of Phonemic Awareness Look Like?
Children who have not fully developed their phonemic awareness skills struggle to do certain things. They
Cannot sort words that sound similar from words that sound different. They will not be able to separate the word sun from cap and cut.
Struggle to break words into separate syllables
Are unable to blend sounds to decode a word.
Find it hard to identify and isolate the individual sounds in words.
Cannot detect and changes sounds to make different words. For example, change the c in cap to m (map) or t (tap).
Homeschooling Tip: It is common for children with dyslexia to have difficulty with all of these skills. They will continue to struggle, no matter how much practice they get. If this describes your child, try to get them tested as soon as possible. A diagnosis can make a huge difference.
Phonemic awareness is a critical foundational skill for children at the kindergarten level. In this article, you learned about phonemic awareness and why it matters. We also touched on informal assessments. You can help your child develop those skills through a variety of games and activities. We’ve given you a great list of those, so bookmark this page or pin the post, so you can come back to it often. If you have found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with fellow homeschooling families. We would really appreciate your help.
Sharon is the proud mom of three grown boys, a trained educator, and former children librarian. She draws on her years of experience as a parent and teacher to help parents to make the most of the time they have with their kids. You find her posts on rediscoveredfamiles.com