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What is Phonemic Awareness?

First of all, Phonemic awareness is not phonics. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds-phonemes--in spoken words. Before children learn to read print, they need to become more aware of how the sounds in words work. They must understand that words are made up of speech sounds, or phonemes (the smallest parts of sound in a spoken word that make a difference in a word's meaning).

Why Phonemic Awareness Is Important

Phonemic Awareness Can Be Developed Through Activities

Phonemic Awareness Instruction Is Most Effective When--

Phonemic Awareness Instruction Basics

Children who cannot hear and work with the phonemes of spoken words will have difficult time learning how to relate these phonemes to graphemes (A letter of an alphabet, or all of the letters and letter combinations that represent a phoneme, as f, ph, and gh for the phoneme-American Heritage Dictionary) when they see them in written words. Early readers can show they have phonemic awareness in several ways:

Examples of Phonemic Awareness Skills

"One of the most compelling and well-established findings in the research on beginning reading is the important relationship between phonemic awareness and reading acquisition." (Kame'enui, et. al., 1997)