Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify separate sounds in spoken words. It is an important ability as it influences reading and writing skills. Children are used to repeat the words adults pronounce, thus they learn the words and then recognize them in texts, but that implies certain difficulties while learning to read and write, that’s why children are so reluctant to do that. Practicing phonemic awareness helps discover the nature of sounds, why and how they may exist separately, not in in the words or sentences. Yet, phonemic awareness is about breaking down phonemes and blending them.

Phonemic Awareness Components

Phonemic awareness comprises syllables, rhymes, and initial word sounds. A teacher may show and practice with children syllables recognition by counting or clapping. Rhyming is about sound recognition and their categorization. The main goal here is to teach a child to differentiate phonemes in similar words. Another way to identify sounds is to pick up similar ones in a list of various sounds. A fun way to let children play with phonemes is to delete some of them from the words.

Phonemic Awareness and Reading

Phonemic awareness helps a child to decode words, thus he/she identifies words with ease, and being aware of their meaning, reads faster and better in comparison to a child who has heard some phonemes and tries to remember and recognize them in written words. That process will take longer and will deprive child of understanding simple things.

Phonics and Its Impact

Phonics is the liaison between letters and sounds. The ability to differentiate letters and sounds they may produce depending on their position between other letters is vital. That will give a child's understanding why letters in the alphabet are pronounced in one way, and when they encounter them in words, they pronounce them absolutely in a different way. So, hearing and pronouncing sounds have first been right because then she/he will recognize them in a written form.

Activities to Practice

There are activities that will help foster phonemic awareness. Listening games help to differentiate sounds and kids learn to listen and understand what they have heard, thus, this task develops the ability to listen attentively.  Rhyming gives children an incentive about the meaning of sounds. Try the game “In My Box”. Just put pictures with words written on them and ask children to say the word that rhymes with the one in a picture. Syllable games help differentiate similar sounds.


Phonemic awareness should be taught before children start reading and writing as it gives an insight on the phonemes and the way they interact and constitute words. Thus, a child understands and easily recognizes phonemes in words, and his/her reading speed is faster.

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